Hiking is never boring. Whether you’re a solo hiker or with a group, a beginner or a pro, or even a researcher or a tour guide, this activity will never cease to give delightful and fulfilling experiences.
Recently, the influx of mountain climbers and enthusiasts among the young generation, or the so-called millennials, has been setting foreseeable environmental threat to the healthy mountains.
As more and more adventurers get involved in joining group hikes, potential environmental hazards are seen to affect the nature.
Every hiker should be aware that climbing is not just all about Instagram-worthy photos, escaping from the busy city life, or achieving personal goals. It is also understanding the nature and its true purpose for us. We have to get connected with the nature to know its impact in our lives.
But how can we achieve these if we keep ourselves from neglecting personal responsibilities in preserving our nature? To help preserve the environment and remind us of these responsibilities, we are presenting 10 hiking guidelines every mountain climber should consider during every climb.
10 Hiking Guidelines Every Mountain Climber Needs to Know
1. Do a preclimb and research about the hike
Every climber needs to know about the climb. Researching about the facts and figures of the mountain and trails, knowing the do’s and don’t’s in climbing, and getting acquainted with the team (e.g. group chat, meetups) are essential responsibilities every climber should engage in. It’s better to be knowledgeable before hand and be ready to what is to be expected along the trail.
2. Be prepared
Preparation is necessary. As much as possible, bring only the things you need for the hike. Extra clothes, insect repellents, sun shields, trail foods like chocolates and bananas, and first-aid kits are must-haves for day hikes. If it’s an overnight hike, you might want to include tents/sleeping bags, extra jackets, flashlight with extra battery, and more trail foods enough for the climb. Use a bag that could accommodate all your things in every space possible. Of course, don’t forget to bring enough water (and your camera for documentation).
3. Try not to be a liability to the team
Always remember that you are part of a team. If you were late, the whole team would have to adjust for you. Your team leader/organizer or tour guide has a set time and task to fulfill. You don’t want to ruin it. Also, don’t be a “pasaway” in the group. If it’s time to move, then stop taking more tons of selfies by the rock or the tree. Don’t make your own trail or create unnecessary noise. Always follow instructions.
4. Be sensitive about others
Joining a hike or being in a group helps develop your social skills. To develop this, you have to know the people you are dealing with and be sensitive enough about their characters and personalities. Establish effective communication and share your thoughts and opinion with others. This way, you would know how to adjust and blend with them while learning to adapt your social needs.
5. Be open and honest
Always have the courage to say if you really can’t push through the trail or your stomach is growling because of LBM. It’s better to say things earlier than suffer the consequences if things get worse and be a burden to the whole team. Also, there would be times of misunderstanding and conflict between the members of the team. Be open enough to discuss and resolve these issues before the hike ends. This way, there would be a greater chance you’ll get invited again for the next adventure.
6. Do not litter, cut trees, or smoke
One of the responsibilities every climber has to know is to respect the nature. Throwing of garbage like plastics and other non-biodegradable products even if it’s as tiny as a lollipop stick is a total NO-NO! You have to bring all your trash back down after the hike.
Unnecessary cutting and destroying of plants and trees along the trail should also be avoided. If you’re a smoker, think twice before you join the hike; one principle in joining hikes is to be “one with nature”. You are more appreciated if you respect the nature and the people who you climb with by not polluting the air.
7. Establish emergency signals and effective communication
It’s very important to have an orientation as a team before every start of a hike. Discuss with the team emergency signals and responses you can use during the hike. (You may use whistle as an SOS). Be sure to relay signs of potential danger to other members of the team while on the trail. Always keep track of all the members of the team.
8. Offer help if necessary
From carrying heavy bags to assisting your (female) teammates while on tough trails, you’ll get to be liked by your group. Showing concern for others is not only a sign of having a pure heart but also a symbol of establishing genuine relationship with others. You’ll gain more friends and it builds trust between you and your team mates.
9. It’s a nature hike, not a party
Remember that being one with nature also means appreciating what it offers. The serenity and silence of the place should always be observed. If you’re planning to bring your stereo or Bluetooth speaker, better think twice and drop them off of your “to bring” list. You’re not attending a nature-themed party. Avoid making unnecessary noise. Have some respect for the nature.
10. Appreciate the effort of your team leaders, organizers, and tour guides
This is the most common thing being forgotten by joiners in a hike. The effort, sacrifices, help, and guidance of your team leader, organizers, and tour guides are worth it when you successfully finish the hike. If it’s not because of them, you wouldn’t have a safe and fulfilling experience with the nature. Show them some love and appreciation.
There you go. Always remember that hiking is a great opportunity to be physically fit, be socially inclined, learn and appreciate the beauty of our natural environment. See this opportunity as part of personal growth and become a better person. Have a smarter hike everyone!