What to do during a mountain hike
A complete 10-rule handbook prepared by the Trentino Alpine Rescue
If you love the mountains, you already know how exciting it can be to hike at high altitude, walk on a via ferrata or try your hand at climbing: the important thing is to do it with caution, with a conscious and careful approach.
Hence, the Dolomiti UNESCO, the S.A.T. (Trentino Mountaineers Society) Mountain Hut Association, the Alpine Rescue and the Trentino Alpine Guides jointly created the ‘Caution in the mountains’ project, which on 12 June 2022 concretised in an opening day dedicated to caution, with training sessions conducted in a variety of Trentino mountain huts.
They have created this easy-to-read handbook and 4 quick guides to help you to easily keep in mind the correct behaviour to adopt for trekking and climbing, and completing via ferratas and excursions on snow or ice.
Before you delve into the 10 rules to be followed to enjoy the mountains with caution, please take notice of an advice that always applies at high altitudes: for every activity, always use the equipment that is suitable for the altitude and season and follow the advice of those who live and work in the mountains and for the mountains!
1. Before leaving, prepare your itinerary well
Take note of the correct trails to take near crossroads and any refreshment points along the way, where you can stop for a break. If you can, download the track to consult it even offline.
2. Respect the environment and choose a trail suitable for your physical preparation
When hiking in the mountains, remember to leave the sites you visit clean. In addition, take into account length, height variance and any technical difficulties of the trail you have chosen.
3. Choose suitable equipment and gear
If you go trekking, you must have technical boots, water bottle, rain jacket, food, a headlight battery, any spare parts and a first-aid kit. If you hike over via ferratas or practice climbing, don’t forget the appropriate technical equipment.
4. Consult the weather reports, …
… especially local ones, that give more specific information. This advice is especially important if you are tackling a via ferrata: before setting off, make sure the weather is stable.
5. It is always better to complete your adventure in company
This way, you can always count on mutual help in case of difficulty. In the mountains, even a simple sprain can become a problem if you are alone.
6. Share information about your itinerary with somebody
Tell friends, family or mountain hut managers which itinerary you intend to take and the estimated time of your return. This information can be essential in case of emergency.
7. Rely on a mountain professional
Alpine guides, mountain hut managers or mid-mountain guides are excellent sources for obtaining useful information on the environmental conditions of mountain routes.
8. Pay attention to the signage along the way
Follow the signage bearing information on trails (number and destination), and the indications you find along the path, namely the white and red trail signs. Always remember to bring a map of the route (paper or digital) with you.
9. Don’t hesitate to go back on your steps
If tiredness arises, if you have doubts about the route or if the weather turns bad, it is better to go back along the trail you already completed rather than risk continuing.
10. In the event of an accident, call 112
When you call, remember to provide information on the exact location of the accident, the activity you were conducting, the number of people involved and their conditions, the weather conditions and the telephone number from which you are calling.