As an ardent backpacker and hiker, I felt it necessary to comment on the article "Out in the Cold" in the Feb. 24 Travel section. While it was interesting to read of the trials and tribulations of the writer and his friends, I couldn't help wonder what a neophyte camper might be thinking after reading the article.

The article should have emphasized, in the beginning, that their trip was a lesson on what not to do when camping at this time of year, especially at higher altitudes.

While there were some good suggestions in the "Ways and Means" sidebar, the manner in which the trip was conducted was reckless and unprofessional. Anyone with experience wouldn't have done it. Safety was foremost in the minds of those who climbed Mt. Everest and K2. Disappointing as it was, they often turned back or delayed their start at the slightest hint of bad weather.

When there is an element of risk involved, always inform those who stay at home where you are going. Show them on the map the general area where you will be. Then they can inform the rescue party in case your group does not return home.

We learn from each other's mistakes, but travel articles should be written in a more positive manner by experienced people, thereby giving encouragement to those who love to travel. John K. Muse Alexandria