Climbing all the way to reach the mountaintop is surely a rewarding experience. In addition to the climbing thrill, the unique solitary environment and sweeping views around are sure to please your eyes and keep you motivated to reach the peak and enjoy the scenery from the top.
However, mountain climbing is not as easy and simple as it seems. Before you set out for your journey, it is important to know about the physical and health challenges you might face while reaching the top. The mountain climbing is an adventurous yet dangerous sport. Even the smoothest mountain that is visited by tourists won’t be 100% safe. The risks of injuries and accidents are always there to accompany you.
Some dangers and harmful effects of the mountain climbing are explained below for your acknowledgement.
Falling while mountain climbing is one of the common dangers that a climber can face sooner or later. It’s unavoidable, but practice can make you stand on the ground firmly. The results of falling range from mild to dangerous because it can leave you with minor scratches, fractures, head injury, paralyzed or even dead.
Usually, there are a few basic reasons why most mountain climbers fall.
- Losing balance while walking on the steep terrain
- Stepping on an uneven, slippery surface or crevices
- Not able to use your safety equipment (anchor, barrier, ropes, railing)
- Due to domino effect within a group
But you can avoid falling by following these tips.
- Be mentally prepared and know your limits.
- Wear a helmet to avoid head injuries.
- Stay away from edges.
- Look for hard surfaces and be alert if there is an icy, wet, or crevasses surfaces. They are all slippery.
- Within a group, maintain some distance to prevent any push or pull.
- Use your safety equipment only when needed.
- Skip the idea of mountain climbing all together if you have even tiny bit fear of height. You can become dizzy and fall off the height.
2. High Altitude
As you go high up, the altitude gets more harmful because the environment lacks oxygen. 8,000 meters is officially called the death zone because humans cannot survive the high-altitude sickness. If someone can endure high altitude and lower oxygen, there is still a risk of brain damage or lack of critical thinking because your brain won’t be able to function without oxygen.
Other symptoms of altitude sickness include nausea, vomiting, a headache, ear blockage, shortness of breath, and low energy levels. However, for mild symptoms, you can take medication beforehand after a doctor’s prescription.
To lower the intensity of high-altitude sickness, you need to carry the oxygen cylinders with you. Also, go slow if you are met with extreme weather conditions.
3. Extreme Temperatures
Another harmful effect of the mountain climbing is getting through extreme temperatures. Usually, the high peaks are too cold and can cause hypothermia. In fact, in severe cases, mountain climbers can experience frostbite too. On a contrary, if the weather is clear, there is a risk of getting heat injuries because UV rays are dense on the mountains as compare to the earth’s surface because obviously.
Mountain climbers can feel exhaustion or fever due to a heated body accompanied by heavy sweating, fast or low heartbeat, a headache, nausea, dizziness, and fainting. To minimize these effects, you can rest in a shade for a while and drink water. Don’t forget to consult with the doctor if your condition is not improving.
In case of cold temperature, the body loses its heat called hypothermia, and the person might feel shivering, shallow breathing, fatigue, losing consciousness and numbness in fingers and other body parts. To prevent it:
- You can opt for a warm spot and drink hot beverages.
- If you are wearing wet clothes, get rid of them.
- If you feel numbness or prickly feelings in your hands and feet, stop walking and try to give your body some heat through rubbing.
- Build up energy and stay conscious.
- Ask others to help you or seek medical attention.
To make hot and cold temperatures bearable, clothing plays an important role. To avoid heat rays, properly cover your body with a hat, long sleeves top, and pants. As for the cold environment, be sure to layer up a few warm jackets and beanies.
4. Lack of Visibility
Another danger of the mountain climbing is lack of visibility. Although no one plans to encounter such a thing, but it is common for mountain climbers to lose vision due to various factors. Some factors are given below:
- Heavy rain
- Dust storm
- Snow falling/snow blindness
- Dim light
Well, all these factors contribute to create a situation where a mountain climber can’t see clearly and due to that he or she can get hurt.
To avoid this, always check the weather forecast, stop if you encounter heavy rain or snow falling. Wear goggles and keep a headlamp or torch batteries in your backpack. In case of snow blindness, it is suggested to stay in a dark room for a few days and see a doctor.
5. Insufficient Training
The thrill of mountain climbing is real, but it is a very dangerous sport. Even when you think that the mountain is smooth, there are still risks of injuries if you don’t have proper training for mountain climbing. If you are taking off for a hike, you must have some training for it. Similarly, if you start climbing a mountain without any training, you are bound to fall and get hurt. Also, it is recommended to practice with a backpack. Fortunately, there are plenty of gyms and studios that offer training for mountain climbing these days.
To make your mountain climbing experience pleasant and trilling, we have gathered a few safety tips that will help you on the trip.
- Don’t forget to wear proper gears for mountain climbing or hiking before you leave.
- Wear comfortable clothes that allow your body to walk freely.
- Shoes are essential for climbing/hiking because your feet need to be in a perfect position for walking through any kind of surface. So, choose a pair that offers stability, grip and ankle support.
- It is suggested to carry suitable gear for all types of weather condition. The air on the mountaintop is thinner; therefore, you should expect any rapid and extreme temperature change over there.
- Pack some extra clothes with you, so you can change them or add an extra layer when needed.
- Make sure that your outerwear is light weight yet water proof to prevent soaking in the rain.
- Protection from sun rays is equally significant. You can use sunglasses to prevent your eyes and hat for your head. A sunscreen can protect your skin from harmful rays so keep it along.
- The next thing on the checklist is an insect repellant. Especially during warmer months, avoiding pest attack on the body is important.
- Being on the mountains means away from the civilization and shortage of basic necessities. Remember to pack food and water in your bag pack.
- Use a travelling/carrying bag that has two straps, a waist belt and padded straps to distribute the weight on shoulders and for an extra support.
The mountain climbing is a fun adventure if you keep the risk factors a part. However, it doesn’t mean you can’t go for mounting ever. You just have to be aware of the possible dangers waiting for you up there, get mentally prepared and take the necessary precautionary measures. Mountain travelling and hiking can be a really fun yet challenging experience. However, don’t forget to consult your doctor before planning such sport to enjoy the trip to the fullest.