The wide open spaces of the high mountains are excellent grounds for practicing outdoor sports. Playing sports in the high mountains, however, carries certain risks. The low temperatures that prevail in these types of places are sources of discomfort. Whether for hiking or mountaineering, it is important to protect yourself well from the cold to be able to practice different activities safely.
The dangers of high mountain weather
Before going to the high mountains, it is important know the potential dangers to prepare myself better. The dangers in the high mountains are mainly related to the weather. Among the elements that can endanger the life and health of lovers of high mountain sports, we find:
- low temperatures,
- the risk of fog and avalanches,
- strong winds,
- electrical storms, etc.
The weather is therefore a decisive factor for practicing sports in the high mountains. Before you go there, you should first check the weather forecast for the weather. If the weather conditions are not favorable, the ideal is to cancel the stay. Guides, climbers or shelter keepers often have reliable weather information. That is why we can trust their advice. In addition to the forecasts, it is important to be aware of the weather conditions previous days the exit to the mountain. This helps identify wetlands and prepare them better.
To protect yourself from the cold in the high mountains, you should wear appropriate clothing.
Wear warm jackets in the high mountains.
To protect yourself from the cold in the high mountains, the best solution is to wear mountain jackets. The latter are designed with materials that provide good thermal insulation. Low temperatures are no longer an obstacle for lovers of high mountain sports thanks to mountaineering jackets which can be found in technical clothing stores. There are down jackets made with natural goose or duck down.
Although these accessories are effective in protecting against the cold, they are less durable. They can lose up to 40% of their insulating capacity when wet. The most durable down jackets are synthetic down models. These provide a feeling of warmth and protection from the wind and are highly breathable. Synthetic down mountaineering jackets are also lightweight and packable.
These warm jackets can be easily stored in a bag. The mountaineering jacket can be worn as a mid-season jacket or as a second layer. In addition to warm jackets, waterproof jackets are important to protect against bad weather. Synthetic down jackets are suitable for mountaineering, hiking, skiing, etc. They are usually equipped with zippered hand pockets and interior pockets to store personal items. To choose these garments, it is essential to ensure that they have been tested and approved for high mountains.
Other useful accessories to protect you from the cold
It is also important to cover the lower part and the extremities of the body well to better protect oneself from the cold. For lower body protection, a two-layer system is effective. With a Thermal underwear and insulated pants, the lower part of the body is well protected. To protect your head and neck, you can wear a hat and neck warmer. For lovers of skiing in winter, the ideal is to provide a helmet and a balaclava to cover the face well.
Gloves allow you to stay warm while having the freedom to use your hands. Trekking or mountaineering shoes are important equipment to face the cold in the high mountains. These shoes must be breathable to prevent perspiration. To reinforce foot protection, it is important to wear good quality socks. Wool socks are suitable for hiking in high mountains.
Tips for staying warm during a mountain bivouac
After a long day of hiking, the mountaineer or hiker deserves a good night’s rest. For this night to be pleasant, it is important to stay warm. For this, you must provide a suitable sleeping bag. In addition to being very insulating, the the sleeping bag must be medium in size. Small sleeping bags do not provide good thermal insulation, while larger ones often have cold spots inside. To stay warm during a bivouac in the mountains, you should avoid lying on the cold ground. For example, you can lie on a small folding mattress or put twigs or ferns under your shelter to keep it from touching the ground.
the bag sheet It is an important accessory to keep you warm during a bivouac in the mountains. The silk ones are ideal to gain a few extra degrees inside the sleeping bag. During the bivouac night, the hat, the gloves and the socks are always necessary to keep warm. Before going to bed, some people play sports to warm up.
However, it is important to be careful with perspiration. Salts from perspiration absorb moisture. In this case, even being well equipped, one can get very cold. Before going to bed, the ideal is to increase your body temperature without sweating. Another tip for staying warm during a bivouac is limit air exchange between the inside and outside of the sleeping bag. For safety, you must provide a lamp and have an external battery to charge your phone.
What to eat and drink in the high mountains?
In the high mountains, good nutrition is as important as protective equipment against the cold. To stay warm, the climber or hiker must have a rich and balanced diet. For example, you can choose to:
- cereal bars,
- jam slices,
- boiled eggs,
- cheese etc
instant soups and bread they are also good food to eat in the mountains. Raw vegetables like tomato, cucumber, and cabbage will come in handy for gourmet sandwiches and salads. To provide vitamins to the body, fruits such as hazelnuts, olives, oranges or carrots are ideal. As for the drink, you should always carry a good amount of water when you are in the high mountains. To be well hydrated, the mountaineer must drink at least 1.5 L of water per day. It is important to drink regularly even if you are not thirsty. To vary the drinks, you can reserve some tea bags to drink hot.
What to do if you get lost in the mountains to protect yourself from the cold?
When hiking in high mountains, it is possible to get lost or stuck. In this case, you should not panic. The first option to solve this type of situation is‘call the emergency and wait for them patiently. To prevent the phone from dying, all applications on the device must be closed. Among the equipment needed to practice sports in the high mountains, the whistle is one of the most important. This accessory allows you to launch a distress signal and be quickly identified. You can also make a fire that you will have to feed with green leaves so that it produces more smoke. These will draw the attention of the emergency services.
When you get lost in the mountains, you can find your way by yourself. To achieve this, we can try to retrace our steps. With a map of the area, compass and GPS, you can easily find your way. the navigation tools they are therefore very important for high mountain sports. If the mountaineer or hiker does not have one, he can follow a river or stream. Watercourses generally cross inhabited areas.
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