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Author Topic: Suggestions for writing a useful trip report  (Read 10251 times)

Posts: 1090

Suggestions for writing a useful trip report
« on: 10/06/02, 06:52 AM »

Writing a Useful Trip Report
Many of us read trip reports, and each of us has their own set of reasons for doing so. A common reason for reading trip reports, however, is to get some information, subjective as it may be, about backcountry snow conditions for the particular date and location of the trip being reported. Therefore, a useful trip report will be written to include, at a minimum, information about the snow conditions the author encountered on their trip.

Elements of a Useful Trip Report
(1) Snowpack details: snowpack coverage; snow surface conditons and variation with slope aspect, elevation, and time of day; observed avalanche hazards and variation with slope aspect, elevation, and time of day; snow pit analyses; results of shear tests; projected snow surface conditions and avalanche hazards for subsequent days;
(2) Weather: precipitation, wind, and solar effects during and preceeding the trip;
(3) Skiing details: where the skiing or boarding was good or bad and what made it that way;
(4) Access issues: problems or suggestions.

Reporting the Trip Location
Most authors give specific information about the location of their trip, which can help a reader determine how they might use the information in the trip report. Most of the time, there is no reason not to give specifics about the location. Everyone has their "secret stash", though, and at times may not want to reveal the precise location of their trip, and so the question arises as to whether a trip report is of any use if it does not contain this information.

My opinion is that such a trip report can be useful, if it contains the other elements of a useful trip report, and is certainly more useful than no trip report at all. It is possible to describe the general location of a trip without revealing details which would enable other readers to march right in to the "stash", and still have the other reported details be meaningful. In my own experience, this situation comes up rarely, and it is hoped that other authors will find infrequent need to omit the specifics of trip locations.

Writing a Good Trip Report
To be good, a trip report must first be useful. Beyond that, people will differ greatly in opinion on what makes a trip report good. Some people believe in minimalism - only the essentals. Others prefer to read engaging accounts of backcountry trips, and some authors oblige by posting finely crafted works. Beyond usefulness, it is each author's own choice.

Trip Reports are not Trip Guides
To be useful or good, a trip report does not need to be written as a guide for the trip being reported. Trip report readers should not expect that a trip report will provide sufficient details to be used as the sole source of route information for a described trip. Please also read Disclaimer.
« Last Edit: 04/25/06, 12:14 AM by Charles » Logged
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