What to do before and during a hike in the mountains
A complete set of guidelines from the rescue unit Soccorso Alpino Trentino
To enjoy fun days out in the mountains and prevent accidents and mishaps, it is important to follow a few simple rules.
Preparation and planning are fundamental to all hikes, and are the first rule to observe. In this article, we will give you 10 rules in total: a full set of guidelines on safety in the mountains from the Trentino Alpine Rescue Unit (Soccorso Alpino Trentino).
1. Prepare your itinerary
Every hike, no matter how simple, must be prepared and planned. When choosing an itinerary, you must consider a range of factors: the length and difficulty of the itinerary; your own levels of preparedness and fitness and those of your companions; the season; the temperature; weather forecasts.
2. Choose a route suited to your experience
It is important not to overestimate your abilities and always take your limitations into account. Excess fatigue may lead to lapses in attention, which can be dangerous. It is essential to make an honest evaluation of your technical skills.
3. Bring suitable tools and equipment with you
Once you have established the itinerary, carefully prepare the necessary tools and equipment. Essential items in your rucksack include a rain jacket, food and drink, a first aid kit, a head torch and a topographic map.
4. Check weather reports
Before setting out on any type of hike, it is important to make sure that weather conditions will be favourable by checking weather reports, particularly local ones which can give you more specific information.
5. Going alone is riskier
When setting out for a hike in the mountains, it is always best to have company so that you can count on mutual assistance in the event of any problems. When you are in the mountains, even a simple sprain can become a real problem if you are alone.
6. Leave behind information on your itinerary
Before setting out on your hike, tell friends, relatives, or the managers of your lodge what your itinerary is and an estimated time for your return. This information may be crucial in the event of an emergency.
7. Don’t hesitate to consult a professional
Professionals on mountain activities, such as alpine and mid-mountain guides, are excellent sources for useful information regarding the environmental conditions on mountain routes. Moreover, these professionals can accompany and guide you on your hikes. Don’t hesitate to contact them!
8. Pay attention to directions and signposts along the trail
As you walk, pay close attention to the signposts you find along the trail. These will provide you with essential information on where the pathways lead. Although there are signs present along the paths, never forget to bring topographical maps with you too.
9. Don’t hesitate to turn back
Giving up on your destination when it becomes necessary for safety reasons is never a failure! In the event of any unforeseen events, don’t hesitate to call the hike off or alter your route
10. In the event of an accident, call 112
112 is the emergency number you must call to ask for help. When making the phone call, it is important to remain calm and answer the operator’s questions in detail.
The main information you must provide is:
- the exact site of the accident
- the activity engaged in
- the number of people involved
- the number of injured people, their health conditions, and the circumstances of the accident
- the weather conditions at the site of the accident
- the telephone number of the caller