Summer in the mountains is beautiful and the days are long so you can enjoy even more of what the natural world has to offer. Here are a few safety tips and reminders to help you get the most out of your trip and leave you planning the next outing rather than dealing with a nasty sunburn or worse yet, being lost and hungry.
There are simple things to remember when hiking in the summer months. Sunscreen is a must, especially if it’s a hot day and you will be venturing into the alpine with very limited tree cover. Other simple items are an adequate amount of water, snacks, sunglasses, bug spray, hiking poles, sturdy hiking shoes/boots and a few emergency supplies. It’s also handy to have an shell layer on hand in case of rain and wind (or a snow flurry!). I also like to carry a standard adventure first aid kid that you can get at any outdoor store but I will typically add in some simple items such as a thermal blanket, Polysporin and Advil. An epipen (if you can get one) and/or Benadryl would be a wise thing to carry in your kit as well. It could just be a life saver if you or someone in your group has an allergic reaction far from emergency services.
If you will be venturing further out and you think you may need to replenish your water on route plan to treat your water and possibly filter if needed. Many people will drink stream or lake water untreated but they are taking an unnecessary risk and they may fall ill and ruin the current outing or maybe an outing they are planning for the next weekend. We find that a nice clear 1 liter Nalgene bottle works perfectly. This allows you to collect your water and hold it up to inspect for debris. Most water treatment tablets doses are also based on 1 liter of water and conveniently many filtering systems will readily thread onto a wide mouth Nalgene bottle. For longer multiday hikes with a heavy pack I will carry two of these Nalgene bottles. That way you can always have one with drinkable water while you are treating the other one (typically you need to wait about 40 minutes once you have added a treatment tablet before you can drink the water).
Summiting and Scrambling
If you are planning to summit a mountain or even do some scrambling you will want to ensure you are taking the proper precautions. For one, it’s much easier to go up than come down when scrambling. Make sure that you aren’t so focused on the summit that you forget to plan your return trip. It’s also important to consider wearing a helmet when scrambling in the mountains. Rock falls can happen at any time and are very unpredictable. Rocks can also gain a lot of momentum tumbling down a mountain side and a helmet may make all the difference if you happen to be struck. This is also a good reason to not hike/scramble directly beneath others who are higher up. Always try and offset yourself slightly and keep your eyes and ears open. If you are hiking above someone else and accidentally knock a rock loose it is good form to let out a holler and give the people below you an opportunity to try and find cover.
We are still developing our content so check back regularly for updated safety tips. Ultimately your safety, and the safety of your group, is your responsibility. Plan accordingly, adventure within your capabilities and enjoy the beauty of the natural world!