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I pledge to follow the guidelines below so that I may understand the risks involved in exploring the backcountry and will do my best to play it safe:

Know Before You Go

Always tell someone where you are going and when you will be back home. Some areas that are easy adventures in the summer can become dangerous with winter conditions. Check recent trip reports and CDOT’s for travel warnings on mountain passes before you set out. Have a plan B in case you arrive to find the trailhead closed, crowded or encounter unsafe conditions. Know and respect trail and area closures.

Before going out, always have a winter emergency kit in your vehicle. Include extra supplies like water, food, sunscreen, and warm layers. If you are headed into avalanche terrain, make sure you have a shovel, probe and an avalanche transceiver.

Weather can be unexpected and change quickly, and avalanches can strike even the most prepared winter recreationist or outfitter. Check conditions with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center online to determine local mountain weather and safety risks.

Have the proper training or bring an experienced friend or use a professional guide. Be confident in your ability to use your equipment safely and competently by seeking education and training. Utilize a professional guide or seek out a seasoned mentor. Prevent accidents and injury, so that Colorado Search and Rescue teams are not unnecessarily burdened.

Recreate Responsibly

Keep in mind that other backcountry users may be above or below you in mountainous terrain. Human-triggered snow slides can impact others around you, not just those in close proximity. Make sure your actions don't put other people, roads, homes, or other infrastructure at risk.

Show respect for others in the outdoors, while welcoming all types of recreation, identities, and abilities.

Excessive noise, uncontrolled pets and damaged surroundings take away from the experience of all outdoor enthusiasts.

Care For Colorado

Keep the backcountry pristine. Remove trash, spilled or dropped foods, or human and pet waste.

Leave trees, rocks and cultural artifacts untouched so others can experience a sense of discovery.

Avoid making fire in areas that may scar the landscape, in parking lots or at trailheads, or in areas where there is little dead and down wood.

Winter is tough on our wildlife and they need those calories to survive until spring. Travel quietly and do not follow, feed, or approach wild animals.


Sign the Pledge!

Share the Pledge

Let people know you've taken the Colorado Backcountry Winter Safety Pledge. Share on:


Support Search & Rescue

Consider donating to the non-profit Colorado Search and Rescue Association, which coordinates, educates and advocates for Colorado's all-volunteer backcountry search and rescue teams and partners.