Take care in the mountains

27 Mar 2009 23:59 #383 by ClimbyKel
This thread discusses the Content article: Take care in the mountains

Outdoor sport related injuries and problems most often relate to poor decisions. They also occur when a hiker neglects to assess terrain or conditions, or when they are ill prepared. Here are some other tips for safe hiking and injury prevention.

To start, ensure that you are properly equipped (including appropriate attire and foot ware) and consider the use of hiking poles to assist with balance and minimize stress on the knees. Plan your route in advance, and know the weather forecast before your trip. Pack carefully for the expected and for the unexpected. Bring a first aid kit, sunscreen and insect repellent, and be aware of any potential dangerous animals or plants in the area.

Hike with a partner or group, and notify someone at home about the details of your route, and when you expect to return. Get an early start, and know when to turn back (if you encounter extreme weather, or if a member of your group encounters a problem).

Even in cool weather, drink plenty of water to stay well hydrated. Eat carbohydrates and protein during and after your hike to minimize the side-effects of lactic acid build up in your system. A proper warm up will also go a long way to prevent injuries; this should include walking as well as dynamic stretching to increase the temperature of the body and muscles, dilate blood vessels and thus lower stress on the heart, improve efficient cooling, increase oxygen flow, improve range of motion, and aid in mental preparation by increasing concentration and focus.

Do not attempt activities that go beyond your comfort level, experience or ability, and consider the consequences of making a risky decision. Listen to your own body, take adequate rest breaks and watch for signs of exhaustion, hypothermia and dehydration. Be educated about the risks of exposure, and impairment correlated with altitude. Pay attention to your partner(s), and if something appears to be wrong, you should stop.

Gradually build on the time and intensity of your hikes. Pushing too fast can stress your body and heart. Make sure that you partner with other trekkers who have similar fitness levels to your own.

Remember to have fun, take your time, and enjoy your experience!

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28 Mar 2009 17:10 #384 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Take care in the mountains
Interesting note on stretching. Something I see very little of on hikes, and admittedly do little myself. Any specific examples?

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.

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