Module 2: Mountains as Biodiversity Hotspots

Planning the Route

As a team, you will now plan your expedition itinerary. Take a look at the map of your mountain. Plan to complete your expedition in four segments (see diagram, right). Can you divide your mountain from base to peak into four segments?

Following are some things to keep in mind as you plan your itinerary. These tips will help prevent altitude sickness. You can also visit the Alpine Ascents International Website to view sample itineraries for mountains around the world.The expedition planning team. Photo: Alton ByersThe expedition planning team. Photo: Alton Byers

Tips for creating a sensible itinerary:

  1. Your base camp should be located at the end of the first segment. The base camp is where you will spend a few days and nights acclimating to the mountain environment. It is also where you will store the gear and supplies you don't need for the climb to the peak. Your base camp should be located below 10,000 feet.
  2. At altitudes greater than 8,000 feet, climb as high as you want during the day but raise your sleeping altitude by only 1,000 feet a day.
  3. For every 3,000 feet of altitude gained, take a rest day.
  4. Be flexible. Allow one or two extra days of rest in case one or several members of the team aren't feeling well.

Once you have decided on the location of the four segments, draw them on your map. The Geographer should keep this map and a copy of the itinerary in his or her journal to refer to later on.

Meters to Feet

You may notice that the height of your mountain is given in meters, but the "Tips" above refer to distances in feet. Americans use what is known as the Imperial System of Units while most other countries use the International System of Units. During your expedition, it will be important for you to know how to convert from the International Unit of distance (meter) to the Imperial Unit (feet), and vice versa. Here are some equations to help you out:

  1. To convert from meters to feet, divide the distance in meters by .3048.
  2. To convert from feet to meters, multiply the distance in feet by .3048.
  3. How tall is your mountain in feet?

Now that you are prepared for your expedition, it is time to begin climbing. As you set out, the most important thing for you to remember is that your role is important to the success of your team in reaching its destination. Good luck!

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