Mountains are like guardians, like sages – calm, quiet, and wise. Maybe that’s why being on top of a mountain gives you a soothing sense of ease and fullness. You can’t help but fall in love with the mountains, tempting you to return time and again.
For many, mountains are an obsession. Unlike those who fancy spending their holiday in a mountain resort, they want to conquer them – to reach the top of their peaks and embrace the sky, kiss the sun, and leave their footprints behind forever.
However, it’s not always as easy to make this wish come true. Even simple holiday hiking and short trekking requires a fair amount of planning. Here are a few things to consider while planning your mountain trek.
Choose a Mountain
You may or may not know which mountain you want to climb already. You may have heard about one while browsing some random information on the internet, and now you’re excited to trek it.
However, you must consider the location first. If you’re a beginner, then you should start with a smaller trek. And you should pick the mountain depending on your fitness levels. But remember, the difficulty level does not always depend on the height of the mountain.
You must ensure that you’re well aware of what’s involved in the trek by reading books, searching the internet, and discussing with other experienced mountaineers and guides.
The other thing that greatly affects your target location is your budget. It will not be the same for every summit. So, check which one you can afford to do first.
You should also consider how much time you have and plan for the trek accordingly.
The Time of the Year
Different mountains have different best months for trekking. So, if you’re interested in one mountain in particular, find out when the best time of the year is to plan your trek.
Consider global warming too as it can affect the weather.
Trekking can be difficult and unpredictable. As you’ll start learning about your trek, you’ll get to know about the facts, threats and many unfortunate stories from your research. Ask yourself if you’re prepared for it both mentally and physically.
Your strong nerves and strong muscles will be needed when you’re climbing high mountains. You should also ensure you’re not pushing yourself too hard.
Ensure Physical Fitness
Get into shape. Work on your breathing. Prepare yourself for lots of physical stress and muscular movements by regular stretching, running, biking, and gym exercises, such as leg presses and squats.
You can also practice climbing on an indoor rock climbing wall. Make sure you’re getting the right training to meet the difficulty level of the mountain you’re facing.
Start your training early. If you feel some noticeable difficulties during your training, talk to the professionals for advice.
Pick the Right Mountain Gear
The right mountain gear will save you from the odds. So, be careful what you choose. You can buy or rent, but make sure that they’re a high-quality product.
Put together a checklist to make sure you’re absolutely ready for trekking in any situation. Although it would be comfortable for you to travel light, you don’t want to forget the essentials, such as:
1. A map and compass for navigation
2. Extra clothing for insulation
3. A hat, sunglasses and sunscreen
4. Extra food and water for nutrition and hydration
5. A flashlight or headlamp
6. First aid supplies for possible injuries and medication
7. A repair kit with necessary tools8. Candles and waterproof matches, or a fire lighter
9. A tent for emergency shelter
Choose Your Shoes and Socks Wisely
Our feet expand a bit in the afternoon. So, buy your shoes in the afternoon to ensure you’re choosing the correct size. During trekking, it’s very important to wear the right kind of shoes.
Buy hiking shoes with ankle protection. You should have one with an ankle cuff that’s lifted out at the back. Make sure that it fits you without any discomfort and provides enough grip.
You’ll also need high-quality socks for trekking. Consider buying socks that will quickly absorb any sweat and are waterproof.
Leave No Trace
This is a code all mountaineers are expected to follow. Take care of your rubbish and keep your trail clean. There are a few but very important ethics mountaineers maintain, learn them and follow them religiously.
Don’t Trek Alone
It’s best to find a good guide to help you on the trail. Since they’re a local or an expert of that trek, you’ll be able to hike the trail comfortably. Even if you’re going with your friends, you should take a guide with you for safety.
You can also join a mountaineering club and trek with a group. No matter which option you choose, a single guide, or a club, make sure they’re experienced and well-reputed. You can easily find them with a little research on the internet.
Always stick to the designated trail. Don’t take a short-cut, it will only get you into trouble. If you need to stop for some reason, have someone wait for you so you don’t lose your trail.
Climbing down a mountain is more dangerous than climbing up. So plan it properly with your guide beforehand.
Despite all the physical stress and dangers involved, climbing mountains is such an out-of-this-world experience. So, if your heart is yearning to hear the call of the mountains, go for it!
Just make sure to follow these tips and stay safe.