Mountain climbing safety tips for newbies

By Stef Zisovska
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Mountain climbing safety tips for newbies

Stef Zisovska
 
 
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Mountain climbing safety is the most important thing to consider when planning a climbing adventure to some unfamiliar mountain. What you’re going to pack for the trip depends on the length of your stay, the weather conditions, and your own needs. Climbing to the top of some mountain can be a rewarding experience full of incredible views, landscapes, and natural phenomenon.

But, what happens if you start feeling altitude sickness or don’t have the proper gear to conquer the summit? Mountain climbing is not a joke, and you should take it seriously from the start. The better your preparation is, the more fun you’ll have while climbing.

It is of great importance to understand that you’ll face physical challenges while climbing and you need to be ready to deal with all the obstacles. Seeking for adventure is awesome and you should keep doing it, but first, learn some basic precautionary steps before it’s too late.

Bring the right gear

First of all, you need good hiking shoes, depending on the terrain, that support your ankles. The clothes you wear need to be comfy enough to let you move freely and stretch all parts of your body. For sudden weather changes, it’s always a good idea to have more layers of clothing, also a hat and sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun. Sunscreen is obligatory at high altitudes, especially in areas with snow where the sun reflects off the white surface.

Bring lots of water and snacks, because you won’t find a supermarket up there. If walking through rocky terrain bring walking poles. Also, don’t forget rain- and windproof jacket made of lightweight material. If it gets hot, which often happens, be prepared to take off all your layers and keep walking in a shirt.

Be careful with altitude illnesses

Climbing a high mountain is a hard job in itself, but there are other things that can make it worse. Acute mountain sickness (AMS) is a very common condition among climbers. It starts with a horrible headache, and other symptoms can include nausea, fatigue, dizziness, drowsiness, and insomnia. Other dangerous altitude-related disorders include high-altitude cerebral edema (HACE), high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE), altitude throat, peripheral edema (which causes your hands, feet, and face to swell) and altitude bronchitis. Always take seriously any of these symptoms and learn how to avoid them. One of the ways is proper acclimatization.

Acclimatization

Most of the altitude-related illnesses come as a result of a lack of oxygen. When climbing high mountains, never go by car to a very high point. It’s always better to walk from lower down where you feel comfortable breathing and let your body adjust to the higher altitude little by little. This way you’ll avoid the shock and spare yourself a host of problems. Keep your body warm, drink water, and have frequent snacks. Sweets and biscuits are perfect hiking companions.

Supplements

If you have an iron deficiency, it’s highly recommended to take some supplements to help you boost your red blood cells. They transport the oxygen to all parts of the body, so it’s always better to have more than less, especially where there’s not enough oxygen.

Descent 

If you start feeling sick, start walking downhill immediately and visit a doctor as soon as possible. If climbing extreme altitudes consider purchasing oxygen supplies.

Mountain climbing is an amazing activity for all outdoorsy people who look for adventures, but what you need to know is that the mountains are not a playground and you need to respect them. Adventures are cool, but we need to be alive to enjoy them. Take care and stay safe!

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