There have been several instances of people collapsing from exhaustion after
attempting to carry too heavy a load in the hills or carrying a load in the
wrong way. The basic principles of load carrying are closely related to mountain
Keep the load as light as possible though still observing the other rules
of mountain safety. remember that younger people should not carry as much as
an adult. A useful guide is that the load should not exceed one third of a
young person's body weight. Forty pounds should be the absolute maximum and
rarely should a load need to exceed thirty pounds.
Keep the weight of the load high and as directly
above the spine as possible. It is much less tiring to have the weight
pressing down through the spine than hanging back from your shoulders.
Keep the load close to the back.
Make sure that the load is well balanced.
Remember that carrying a load will tend to upset
your balance, so be careful on scree, ridges, or other awkward places, and
avoid rock scrambling as much as possible.
Make sure that the rucksack cannot swing easily to your
side and so send you off balance particularly when coming downhill. A waist
strap will prevent the sack swinging.
A good practice which adds little weight to your
rucksack is to purchase a large thick polythene bag. This can then form a good
waterproof inner to your rucksack into which your clothing and equipment can be
packed. It will not only keep your equipment dry but you will always have ready
at hand a useful piece of extra equipment in case of being benighted.
Parties operating from camps in the mountains must
appreciate that carrying heavy loads requires a greater energy (food) input and
that it is essential to have with you, and eat, a sufficient quantity of
carefully selected food before and during a mountain expedition. Particularly in
bad conditions it is important to eat well, morning and evening, at camps and to
consume energy foods during the day. Lack of sufficient, balanced food prior to
and during an expedition could well be an important contribution to cases of