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Risks and dangers in hiking and trekking

Hazards of hiking and mountaineering - 10 risks you should know about

Do you like to spend time in the mountains and go on the occasional day hike or even an alpine trekking tour?Then you should definitely be aware of the risks you might encounter there. You are probably aware of many of them - but one or two tips are guaranteed to make you more aware of the dangers on the mountain and help you to be safer.

In the following article, I would like to show you the biggest risks when hiking that lurk on your way over hill and dale. So that you are spared strained ligaments, falls and sudden changes in the weather and can avoid costly and dangerous mistakes. Let's go!

Here is a brief overview for you in advance:

  1. Lack of self-assessment
  2. Neglecting the weather
  3. Ignorance of the difficulty levels
  4. Misjudging the terrain
  5. Save on equipment
  6. Not be insured
  7. Do without good leadership
  8. Do not have emergency numbers ready
  9. Get too close to animals
  10. Do not have food with you

1. lack of self-assessment

Lack of self-assessment is a great danger when hiking

The majority of alpine accidents happen due to the "human factor" - so we ourselves are also among the greatest dangers when hiking. You and, of course, your companions should be able to realistically assess your own abilities and fitness.Overconfidence is probably one of the most dangerous riskswhen mountaineering - it doesn't even matter whether you're going on a high alpine trekking tour or just want to scramble around on your local mountain.

2. neglect the weather

Thunderstormmake the tour or descent a dangerous undertaking, for example, as you have neither shelter nor transportation options.

There is a risk of slipping when hiking in wet terrain anyway, but thick fog that blocks your view can also pose a threat to your own safety. If you are hiking in groups, it is advisable in such situations,stay close together.

Judging the weather also means that you shouldthe right seasonfor your tours. High mountain hikes are generally only in season in the summer months - this is also the time of year for heat storms with heavy rain and lightning. Keep a close eye on the formation of clouds, as strong cumulus clouds and sharp cloud edges are a sign of impending storms.

Good to know: How do Extreme weather and climate change actually together? Find out in the linked article!

3. ignorance of the difficulty levels

In mountain hiking, there are countless different routes and ascents, each corresponding to a difficulty level. This means that youresearch before the starthow things are going with the planned tour.

The UIAA scale, aDifficulty scale for mountain and climbing sportsis often used in Europe to indicate the difficulty of a tour. You should definitely take a close look at these and know exactly what to expect from the Roman numerals from I to XII. This will help you to avoid typical dangers when hiking.

ImportantDon't blindly trust a number, because a difficulty level is not directly related to the risk, even if it may seem so. On the contrary! Difficult tours in particular are usually very well secured. The decisive factors are yourFitness and your skillswhich - according to the 1st tip - you can estimate exactly.

4. misjudge the terrain

Again, directly linked to point 1 is the assessment of your surefootedness and the terrain in question. Steep slopes, exposed areas, falling rocks, snowfields and ground that gives way are factors that massively increase the risk of a hike. Here is Mindfulness required - by all those involved. 

Not all terrain requires the same behavior - it is best to quickly leave a section with a risk of falling rocks behind you. Loose ground is best walked on accordingly slowly and carefully.

5. save on equipment

The right equipment is the basis of safe hiking

The following follows from the fourth point: The The respective conditions in the terrain require different equipment. With sporty lightweight hiking boots, you'll probably get to the next mountain hut on your local mountain without any problems, and you can probably do without a headlamp and a GPS device.

However, you should probably not go on an alpine trekking tour with these shoes. You need something more robust for your feet. You should alsoBreak in hiking bootsand use high-quality hiking socks to prevent sweat and blisters.

Of course, there are many more items of equipment than just shoes and socks that may be necessary for your hiking experience. Water bottles, first aid kits, map and compass, sun cream, rain protection etc. belong in yourwell packed hiking backpack.

6. have no insurance

There are definitely insurance policies that make sense for mountaineers, because health insurance alone covers not all services in the course of a mountain rescue or recovery operation.

What is the difference between rescue and recovery? A rescue is medically necessary because you have injured yourself and can't get any further. Obviously self-inflicted situations from which you need to be rescued fall under the heading of rescue. Neither private nor statutory health insurance will cover damage that is preceded by an incorrect (self-)assessment.

You should alsoan accident insurancehave. It covers any disability caused by an accident (on the mountain). You can also specify that the accident insurance covers rescues and recoveries when you take out the policy.

What is disability? The term refers to the consequences of your accident - the injury, illness or wounding - which in your ability to serve, earn and work a certain percentage (0 to 100) of the population is permanently physically and/or mentally restricted.

Also recommended is a Membership with the Alpine Club. It only costs a few euros a year and you are insured for any rescues and recoveries - even if you are at fault.

7. do without good leadership

Again, we come back to point 1 - self-assessment. If you are planning a challenging tour, are sure of yourself and also have the corresponding requirements so a guide does not always have to be with you.

However, you can significantly increase your safety, and that of your companions, if you choose tours at the upper end of the UIAA scale. on the road with a mountain guide are. They know the potential dangers in detail and are trained to recognize and avoid threats to the safety of hikers.

8. do not have emergency numbers ready

If you really can't get back and forth, the mountain rescue team will come and get you out of your predicament.Under 112you can reach them. If you want to tackle a safe mountain tour, then you have saved this number. Not thinking about possible dangers when hiking until it's too late is probably the biggest risk - and results from poor preparation.

9. getting too close to the animals

Animals can also become a hazard when hiking

On the way to the summit, you will see one or two animals - perhaps even an ibex in the wild. Rarely will they come close to you.

The situation is different withGrazing cattle you get too close to. Younger animals may approach you directly, especially if you have something to eat in your hand. Mother animals, on the other hand, see you as a threat and will defend their calves. It is best to react calmly and move on in a relaxed manner. If there are dogs with you, they arekeep on a leashbecause free-roaming dogs that also bark frighten the animals.

10. do not have food with you

It generally goes without saying that you should not start a mountain hike lasting several hours without food and drink. You won't find a serviced hut on every summit, which means you should be prepared, especially in hot weather. have enough water with you. A light and unbreakable bottle with a capacity of at least one liter is recommended.

Energy bars and snack packs or a snack will give you the energy you need for the storm up the summit or the challenging trek through the Alps.

Know the risks of mountain hiking and keep them as low as possible

Know and reduce dangers when hiking in the mountains

The risk can never be completely eliminated in activities such as mountain hiking, but that's not what you're here for. out and about in the great outdoors. However, there are a few measures that you can easily take yourself to avoid mistakes and to be able to undertake a mountain tour with your companions that is as safe as possible. The basis is your realistic self-assessment; insurance, equipment and knowledge of the weather are also important factors when hiking in the mountains.

I hope that my tips and advice have helped you to make your next mountain tour even safer. Do you have any questions or further advice from your own experience to reduce the dangers of hiking even further? Then I look forward to your comment!

Stay healthy and active,

Christoph from CareElite - Plastic-free living

PS.: Did you know that also in and on Swimming lakes dangers lurking? In the linked article you can now find out what risks exist in still waters and how to avoid them.

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* Links with asterisks are so-called Affiliate linksIf you click on it and buy something, you automatically and actively support my work with, as I receive a small share of the proceeds - and of course nothing changes in the product price. Many thanks for your support and best regards, Christoph!

Christoph Schulz

Christoph Schulz

I'm Christoph, an environmental scientist and author - and here at CareElite I'm campaigning against plastic waste in the environment, climate change and all the other major environmental problems of our time. Together with other environmentally conscious bloggers, I want to give you tips & tricks for a naturally healthy, sustainable life as well as your personal development.

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