The climbers pack carefully and take along selected items to survive the unexpected. Certain equipment deserves space in every pack. A climber will not need every item on every trip, but essential things can be a lifesaver in an emergency. The best-known list, first developed in the 1930s, became known as the Ten Essentials - Navigation, Sun Protection, Insulation, Illumination, First Aid supplies, Fire, Repair kit & tools, Nutrition, Hydration and Emergency Shelter. A few changes were made to this list with the inclusion of – Map, Compass and Head lamp or flashlight.
Apart from these essentials, whistle is of utmost importance to be carried in the wilderness. It’s a signaling device and the most reliable signaling device that can be carried. A whistle’s shrill, penetrating blast greatly exceeds beyond the range of the human voice and can serve as a means of communication in situations in which shouts for help cannot be heard—such as being trapped in a crevasse or becoming separated from the party in fog, darkness, thick forest, or lost in the wilderness. Whistles are also useful if the team designates a certain signal before the trip such as one sound of the whistle for “where are you?” two for “I’m here and okay”; and three for “Help!”
Three short whistle blasts is internationally recognized as a distress signal so make sure to remember that when in need of help.
If you can be heard, you can be rescued. When you are injured, cold, lost and tired, shouting can leave you hoarse and exhausted in a matter of minutes. However, if you can breathe, you can easily blow the whistle.
A few tips to help you choose a good whistle:
It has to be loud and you shouldn’t need a lot of effort to blow it. It shouldn’t need your maximum lung capacity to blow. It must be able produce a high-pitched, penetrating sound that is going to be heard for a long distance and over other noises.
It should be able to resist freezing and deteriorating. The material should be resistant to shocks. Metallic whistles shouldn’t be your choice in a cold temperature environment as it will stick to your lips.
No jam / Overblown
Choose a pealess whistle as they don’t have any moving parts, it will not get jammed and it cannot be overblown. A whistle with a pea loses its efficiency as dirt and moisture get inside. If the pea gets stuck, then the sound won’t come out anymore. With a pealess safety whistle, you don’t have to worry about this anymore.
Easy to find
Pick one that’s easy to find and cannot be lost easily. There are many whistles that can be worn around the neck or as a bracelet or even a ring in order to have it close to you all the time. Also, testing the whistle before you get to actually use is a good idea. The best way to test your emergency whistle is to go in a loud environment like a park filled with kids running and screaming.
A good emergency whistle will be heard over ambient noises for a long distance letting people know that you are in trouble. Also it will never fail. A GPS system can run out of battery or lose satellite signal, a phone also can lose signal or drop dead without a charged battery, but a whistle will always be there for you. Keep it handy, not at the bottom of the backpack. If you have your whistle at hand, you can make yourself heard and maybe you have a chance at getting out of this situation safe and sound.