Time management

Speed is often equated with safety, and this can be true in crossing an area of rockfall hazard or trying to reach camp before dark. Speed also has its dangers. A quick, hard push can get climbers to a place where retreat is difficult in the face of deteriorating conditions, whereas a more measured, cautious approach would have left them with an easier withdrawal. Speed for its own sake can be a hazard if it comes at the expense of proper technique or safety precautions. The important thing is not how fast you go, but how wisely and well you use your time.

A climbing party's use of time should be planned out in advance, at least roughly. You can figure out the best time to get under way in the morning by mentally working through the various sections of the climb and estimating how long each will take. It's a good idea to set a time for turning back even if the summit hasn't been reached. The turn-around time will help prevent the party from pushing onward after it's too late to reach the summit and still get back to the camp or trailhead in daylight.

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