Nothing makes a mountaineer feel more satisfied than hitting the summit of the tallest mountain. Although mountain climbing is a fun and exciting activity, it can be a dangerous affair if you fail to take the necessary precautions. Amongst all things, your safety should always come first. Safety precautions mean everything when it comes to your mountainous journey. It starts from studying the mountain and the safest routes, your health, time that you will take, what to pack, your safety gear, and every detail in between.
Important Safety Tips for Mountain Climbers
Here are essential mountain climbing safety tips to consider:
• Study a lot about the Mountain
Don’t be cheated by the initial appealing allure of the mountain. The mountain may sit peacefully, but you cannot withstand this hunk of nature when things go wrong. Also remember that by climbing it, you are putting yourself in a person-against-nature situation of which we all lose at the end of the day. Study the mountain and learn every important detail about it, especially the seasons, weather patterns and look into if any natural catastrophe that has ever occurred at the mountain, such as land-sliding, earthquakes and fires amongst other things. These are safety measures that will prevent only the obvious accidents, so you still must be careful. You can get most of this historic information about the mountain online, from the locals or the authorities.
• Come with the Right Hiking Gear
After gathering the necessary information, it’s time to start with climbing plans. The first thing to check is the quality of your hiking gear. You must come with the proper gear as recommended. Make sure your clothing is able to withstand extreme changes in weather as you go up the mountain. Most important to remember is the falling temperatures as you move up the mountain. Your entire outfit must be rain/windproof. This will help you from freezing in case it rains or if snow starts falling, particularly in the night. But the material must also be as lightweight as possible. Look into hiking stores.
Another important safety gear to carry along is a pair of sunglasses and a baseball hat. Remember that sunrays are more penetrating at greater heights, thus you must ensure that you’re protected. The last thing that you must have in your gear is provisions. You will be away from civilisation thus the need to carry food and water for the trip is crucial. These are just but a few of the essential things that you must have in your kit.
• Elevation-Related Illness
It may be fun to climb high mountains but doing so can bring numerous health complications. The most common of the elevation-related conditions is Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) which is also identified as “altitude sickness”. It’s a condition that’s mostly recognized by it’s symptoms of fatigue, drowsiness, insomnia, nausea and headache as the common symptoms. High-altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE), Peripheral Edema, Altitude Bronchitis, and High-Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) are other Altitude-Related Sickness you can experience. Make sure that you have safety measures ready against any of these sicknesses. If possible, try the prevention methods that can help to combat or lower possible risks.
• Acclimatisation or Adaptation
Low oxygen is the main cause of most of the altitude-related ailments. As you climb to higher heights, oxygen tends to be less concentrated, and this can be a problem of you are not adapted to such conditions. It is important to get your body acclimatised as one way of combating most of these altitude-related sicknesses. Getting the body familiarised with such conditions should be done progressively and starting low, rise at least 1,000 feet per day once you reach the 8,000 feet mark. Even though you get acclimatised, it’s important to carry an oxygen supply with you especially if you are travelling to exceedingly high altitudes zones.
Carrying medication is an essential safety tip that can help avert life-threatening health complications. Acetazolamide is one of the crucial medicines that you should have into safety kit especially if you are not acclimatised, or you are planning to climb exceedingly high heights. The drug works by enhancing the intake of oxygen. Acetazolamide will help you during the night while sleeping to make sure that you don’t wake up feeling fatigued due to low oxygen intake. You should also carry other forms of medicines such as painkillers and antibiotics, amongst other things. You can also add a supplement such as iron especially if you are anaemic, which will also help you breath better.
• Stay Alert On Descent
Contrary to most people thinking, climbing the mountain is easier than descending. In fact, hitting the summit downwards is when your safety is in the most jeopardy. Most accidents occur on decent, that’s why you need to be very careful. Coming back to the bottom is the most dangerous part, because…gravity. At this point, you need your safety gear the most and must plan for a safe descending route.
• Stay Safe and Be Smart
With everything set, there are few things that you should do before leaving your home or the camp. First, check the weather and make sure that everything is to plan; it’s not advisable to start climbing on a rainy day. Second, you need to let someone know that you are travelling up the mountain and when you expect to come back and the route you will be using. If anything happens, they will know where to look for you. You must also ensure that you’ve packed everything you need for the trip. Happy Climbing!