As winter activities in the area increase and especially with increasing avalanche risks now, it is particularly important that those venturing out on back country adventures take personal responsibility for their safety. That begins with knowing current conditions and avalanche danger in the areas they are going, butGrand Teton National Park Spokesman Jackie Skaggs adds travelers should also be ready to self-rescue when possible. Skaggs says they should be prepared for all aspects of backcountry travel like carrying basic avalanche equipment including transceivers, shovels, first aid kits, surveying tape and probe poles. Then of course, she says, don’t go into the backcountry alone. Furthermore, Skaggs says there are many of the areas in the Park and elsewhere in the county where cell phones are useless to call for help. She says rescuers may not be able to receive the signal from a cell phone or whatever is being used to seek help. Skaggs says there are conditions, whether related to the availability of a helicopter or staff, or visibility due to time of day or weather that may prevent rescue efforts from moving forward. That’s all the more reason for back country travelers to be prepared to stay overnight if it becomes necessary.