Safety in the mountains

Safety in the mountains

Hiking and mountaineering out in nature is the ideal tonic for body and soul. However, you must always exercise caution at all times when up in the mountains. These 10 recommendations from the South Tyrol Alpine Club are perfect for safely enjoying your hike or mountain tour.

  1. A healthy approach
    Mountain hiking is an endurance sport. While it is sure to get the heart pumping and the blood flowing, it also requires hikers to be in good health and have a realistic idea of their capabilities. Rather than pitting yourself against the clock, adopt a pace that ensures no-one in the group is left out of breath.

  2.  Careful planning
    Hiking maps, guidebooks, online resources and experts can tell you about the route length, difference in altitude, degree of difficulty and current conditions. Always match the tour to the needs of your group! Pay particular attention to the weather report, as rain, wind and cold increase the risk of accidents.

  3. Fully equipped
    Pack the equipment you need for the tour you have planned and ensure that your backpack remains light. Your backpack should always include rain, cold and sun protection as well as a first-aid box and a mobile phone (European emergency number: 112). Maps and GPS assist with orientation.

  4. Sturdy footwear
    Good-quality hiking boots protect your feet, lighten the load and boost your sure-footedness. Ensure that these are waterproof and feature a perfect fit, anti-slip treaded soles and a low weight.

  5. Sure-footedness is key
    Falls resulting from slips and trips are the most common cause of accidents. Don’t forget that tiredness and excess speed have a significant impact on sure-footedness and concentration. Beware of rockfall: tread carefully to avoid disturbing the rocks.

  6. Stick to the marked trails
    Leaving the trails and heading across open terrain places you at greater risk of rockfall, losing your bearings and falling. Avoid taking shortcuts and, if you should happen to leave the trail at any time, return to the last known point on the route. Steep snowfields are also very dangerous and often underestimated.

  7. Regular breaks
    Taking a break when you need it aids recuperation while giving you a moment to enjoy the scenery with your group. Food and drink are necessary in order to maintain performance and concentration. Isotonic drinks are ideal thirst-quenchers. If you’re feeling hungry during your hike, try cereal bars, dried fruit and biscuits.

  8. Safety for children
    Bear in mind that children love to play and explore, no matter where they are. In sections presenting a risk of falling, each adult may only look after one child. Highly exposed tours that demand long-term concentration are not suitable for children.

  9. Small groups
    Small groups remain flexible and participants are able to help one another. Remember to inform trusted acquaintances of your destination, route and return – and be sure to remain with your group. Solo hikers please note: even minor incidents can lead to real emergencies.

  10. Respect for nature and the environment
    Please protect this natural mountain setting: do not leave behind any rubbish, avoid making excessive noise, keep to the trails, do not disturb wild or grazing animals, do not touch the plant life and respect the protected areas. On your journey here, we recommend using public transport or car sharing.

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