I think we agree: mountains are beautiful. A backdrop of endless peaks; many of which are undiscovered.
Mountains can, and should, be enjoyed by everyone: hikers, bikers, skiers, snowboarders. If we manage that safely.
After 6 years of living in various mountain ranges, winter and summer, I often see the desire to push limits and explore. Boundaries should be pushed. But know the boundaries you are pushing.
Being unprepared or outwardly irresponsible in the mountains has consequences. It is not only yourself that you put in danger. You endanger the group and the teams of people that would be called out to find you.
10 tips to help you and your group stay safe in the mountains
- Weather changes quickly in the mountains. Be prepared. Check weather reports.
- Take the right clothes or equipment for the journey at hand.
- Each person should take a phone. Fully charge each one overnight, then turn off WiFi/data roaming to save battery during your escapade. They often work if you stick to more public areas (ski resorts) and will be a huge help if two of you have to go to find help. Know the emergency numbers for the country that you are in.
- Take relevant maps – whether it is a piste map, walking map and/or a topographic map and compass.
- Always plan your route back and give yourselves plenty of time to get home.
- Always tell someone when you plan to return.
- Take a first aid kit. Take food and plenty of water.
- Stick in a group, account for each and every person each time you change piste or path.
- If you are skiing off-piste (even in between pistes) wear avalanche gear and make sure everyone in the group is trained in how to use it. This may apply to walkers too. Visit Henry’s Avalanche Talk for advice.
- If you want to go off the beaten track, ie. back country skiing or hiking, know the risks and hire a trained guide who is knowledgeable about the area and avalanche risks. If no one is experience enough, don’t go!
What are your thoughts or experiences? Have you anything to add to the list?