General hiking recommendation

Good tips to take away

The umbrella organization of the leading Alpine mountain sports associations - "Club Arc Alpin" (CAA) - has developed recommendations suitable for every hiker and climber - for your own safety and in order to preserve Alpine nature for future tours. Even when meeting grazing livestock on Alpine pastures it's very important to observe some useful guidelines.

1. Getting fit in the mountains

Hiking is an endurance sport. It makes the heart and circulation work, which requires you to be healthy and to realistically assess your fitness. Try not to rush and walk at a tempo where nobody in the group gets out of breath.

2. Careful planning

Hiking maps, guide books, the internet and experts can inform you about the length, height differ-ence, difficulty and current conditions of a hike. You should always choose which hiking trails you will take according to the skills of the group. Pay particular attention to the weather forecast because wind, rain and cold increase the risk of an accident.

3. Complete equipment

Make sure you have the right equipment for the hike you are taking and that your rucksack is not too heavy. Protection from the rain, cold and sun should always be packed in your rucksack, as should a first-aid kit and a mobile phone (European emergency number 112). Maps and GPS will help you find your way.

4. Appropriate footwear

Good hiking boots protect and provide relief to your feet and improve your footing. When choosing a pair of shoes, make sure that they fit perfectly, have non-slip soles, are waterproof, and that they are light.

5. Sure footing is key

Falls as a result of slipping or tripping are the most common cause of accidents. Make sure that you do not lose your footing or concentration because you are going too fast or are tired. Also watch out for falling rocks: by walking carefully you avoid loosening rocks.

Hiking Obergurgl
Hiking Umhausen

6. Stay on marked paths

In areas without any signs there is an increased risk that hikers will lose their way, will fall or that rocks will fall. Avoid short cuts and go back to the last point you recognise if you stray from the path. Steep old snow fields are often underestimated and very dangerous as one can easily slip.

7. Regular breaks

Regular rest helps hikers to recover, enjoy the landscape, and makes the hike more sociable. You need to eat and drink to sustain your concentration and energy levels. Energy drinks are ideal for quenching your thirst. Cereal bars, dried fruit and biscuits will satisfy your hunger while walking.

8. Responsibility for children

Discovering the landscape in a fun and varied way is very important for children. In passages where there is a risk of falling, an adult can only look after one child. Very difficult hikes, which require long periods of concentration, are not suitable for children.

9. Small groups

Small groups are more flexible and allow members to help each other. Tell everyone in your group your end destination, route, and return route. Stay together in your group. Attention to those hiking alone: even minor incidents can require serious emergency assistance.

10. Respect for nature and the environment

To protect the natural mountain areas, do not leave rubbish behind, stay on the paths, do not disturb wild animals or livestock, do not touch the plants, and respect protected areas. Take public transport or use carpooling to get to your destination.

Important: Dogs must be leashed!

Caution: How do I behave if I meet grazing cattle?

Cows are generally considered to be gentle animals. Attacks on hikers can be avoided with the right decision-making and behavior in their habitat:

1. Make sure there is enough distance to the grazing animals and stay on the walking trails.

2. If a cow feels threatened, especially by dogs or other provocation, the animal will defend itself and the calves.

3. Taking dogs with you is at your own risk. Accompanying dogs must always be kept on a leash. If an attack by cattle is unavoidable, release the dog from the leash immediately - otherwise you could become the target of the attack.

4. Keep calm and quiet when crossing grazing areas and walk around the cattle by keeping enough distance.

5. Walk past closed gates and fences only if there is no other possibility. Close all gates carefully!

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