Travel Tips

The ABC of mountain survival

You go somewhere in the mountains with the thought of having some fun and a reason or other you get lost. What to do? There are some steps that are commonly accepted as being correct in such cases, some of which we’ll present you.

First of all, when lost in the mountains you must know that hypothermia is your number one enemy.  We human’s don’t like cold weather very much and as such, we don’t have many natural means of defense against cold (like fur for example).

See also: Eight Incredible Survival Stories

Staying calm against loneliness and the unknown will greatly increase your chances. Your reaction to fear composes the majority of mountain survival, the rest being your hear and knowing how to use it.

Always let someone know of your route and destination before heading out. Try studying the area a little as to have an idea of your bearings. Don’t be afraid to ask the locals for advice.

If you do get lost and told someone where you are going, don’t panic. Rescue teams will be sent to look for you. Usually, searches will be done during the day when adults are missing, but in the case of children, the search will go on into the night.

See also: 11 Most Dangerous Mountains in the World for Climbers

Try making a shelter. See what kind of environment you have around you before trying to construct something. And don’t think about heavy labor, you don’t need to sweat and get cold in the process. In snow covered areas, a good option is to dig a cave in the deep snow that can offer protection from the elements. Or you can try digging a trench – an easier job than a cave. Use a big stick or anything else that can help you dig the trench, get in and cover it with leaves or branches. Try to stay away from the valleys, they can be the coldest spot on the mountain because of the falling cold air.

During the day is the best time to signal for help. Go to the highest possible point so that it would be easier for rescuers to see you and vice-versa.

Do not wander far if you get lost. The search teams will try to retrace your steps and if you get too far from the trails they might get to you later than sooner. There have been many examples of searchers finding empty vehicles because the driver has wandered off. Don’t do the same thing.

If you happen to get frostbite, do not try to rewarm the area until you get out of harm’s way. You can still walk on frostbitten feet, but when they get warm you will feel the pain and walking will be difficult.

Before going out, dress properly, layering your clothes. The first layer should consist of long underwear, the second should be something to trap and create warm air, such as a down parka and the third layer should be some kind of breathable jacket.

Make sure you have a map, compass, first aid kit, a heat source, food and a signalling device. Of course, these are not the only things you should carry, but they can be a starting point.

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