Things You Should Know About Hiking in the Mountains
When you’re rested up from trekking from one fashion show to another, it might be time to re-connect with nature.
Heasing to the mountains is both a challenging and rewarding experience. Such an adventure features epic views, breathtaking places, and a fresh air breeze. Still, when heading out to the mountains, you can’t forget about the many dangers lurking there that can quickly turn even the most outstanding trip into a harrowing and bitter experience.
That’s why you should not only learn to respect the mountains but also, above all, be careful and never set out on a hike without proper equipment. Moreover, if you’re heading for the peaks, you need to be in excellent shape and know how the environment at high elevation can affect the human body.
Whether you’re traveling to one of the highest mountain peaks in Europe, exploring the best Mont Blanc hiking tours, or you’re sticking to something more local, read the article below to have the safest and most exciting adventure possible.
When heading out to the mountains, you cannot forget about altitude sickness, especially if you’re traveling above 2500m (around 8000ft). This condition is caused by the lack of oxygen at higher altitudes and, if you fail to recognize its symptoms and treat them, it can even be fatal. Therefore, you must understand how it develops and how it may affect you while climbing.
At high altitudes, your heart works harder to deliver oxygen-rich blood to your muscles and organs, which is why most people experience shortness of breath as they climb a mountain peak. Additionally, because of the lower air pressure, your lungs don’t work as well as they do at lower elevations. You can also experience loss of appetite or get dehydrated quickly. Other symptoms of altitude sickness include fatigue, loss of coordination, trouble walking, and a severe headache. If you decided to ascend the mountain using your trusty two-wheeler, it may be hard to continue even if you got yourself the best MTB under 2000, so don’t try to push yourself needlessly and stop your journey for some time.
If you want to prevent altitude sickness at high elevation, remember to take frequent breaks whenever you get tired or feel that you’re out of breath and drink plenty of fluids.
If you already have symptoms, your first step should be to stop and rest where you are. If you can camp, you shouldn’t go any higher for the next 24 to 48 hours. For a headache, try taking ibuprofen or paracetamol; if you’re nauseous, try anti-sickness medicine. Besides, make sure you drink plenty of water, don’t smoke, or drink alcohol.
Environmental conditions play a significant role in determining whether your expedition will be successful or not, so make sure you know what they are like before setting out on your journey. No matter what — never plan your trip without checking the weather first.
Remember that the temperature at high elevations is much colder than down on the ground, so bring enough warm clothes with you when heading toward a mountain peak. Even if the weather is beautiful when leaving home, it can change on the way, so pack gloves, warm hats, and scarves in case it gets cold later on.
Also, keep in mind that there may be strong wind gusts on top of mountains, so wrap up in layers of clothing. This way, you won’t feel cold during your hike. You can consider investing in thermal clothing, which can act as the base layer you wear under your regular clothes. Thermals trap body heat better than your regular clothes, and if you purchase high-quality garments, they will wick sweat away to keep you from getting chilly.
Laws & Regulations
Before heading out on an expedition, check with local authorities about laws and regulations regarding climbing mountains in the area that you chose. Some places might be off-limits for hikers due to their dangerous terrain or fragile environment, while others may not be accessible because they are parts of national parks.
For example, Mount Kailash in the Himalayas is considered a sacred place for four religions (Hinduism, Bon, Buddhism, and Jainism), and no one is allowed to climb it. Similarly, Puig Major — the highest peak on the Spanish island of Mallorca — is located in the military zone. As such, The Central Government has ruled out granting public access to its summit.
Technically, you can climb Mount Yamantau, the highest mountain in the southern Urals, Russia. But, locals believe evil spirits that can appear in the mist haunt it. If you need a more rational reason to not climb it, the US government believes there is an extensive Soviet bunker complex buried deep in the mountain. Thus, you might be better off avoiding it.
That’s why before you decide on your next destination, you should do plenty of research. Thanks to it, you can avoid situations where you’ve already bought the plane tickets but won’t be able to turn your plans into reality.
You don’t need to carry a huge bag that’s bigger with you, but at the same time, you can’t go on an adventure under-equipped. Here’s what you should focus on:
- Footwear — choose footwear that will support your ankles, such as over-the-ankle boots, especially for diverse terrain, higher altitude, and trails with roots and rocks.
- Waterproof jacket — this item is crucial when you climb above the treeline. Even though it might be warm down below, it can be freezing up there, and you won’t last long without proper protection against the elements.
- Sunglasses and sunscreen — exposure to the sun can hit you really hard and cause severe damage to your skin. That’s why you need to wear sunglasses and apply sunscreen before starting the hike.
- First aid kit — it is another item that you should always take with you when going out into the wilderness. Make sure you’ve got regular plasters, wound closure strips, wound dressings, blister plasters, painkillers, and some kind of antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin. You never know what might happen, and you can never be too careful with your health and well-being.
- Food and water — when you’re in the mountains, you need to have plenty of water with you at all times and eat properly. It is the only way to keep your body hydrated and energized throughout the day. For best hydration, try drinking electrolyte water infused with minerals such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which help prevent dehydration.
Getting to the top of a mountain is an unforgettable experience and a great way to challenge yourself and your limits. But before you embark on such an exciting journey, make sure you do all the proper preparation. This way, you can have the most enjoyable experience possible.
You should educate yourself about different risks and dangers that lurk in the high peaks, know what to expect from the terrain and weather, and stay prepared for the unexpected. If you follow these tips, you will be able to head out into the mountains without worrying about anything but the breathtaking views and fresh air waiting for you at the top.