How to be prepared for mountains?

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The mountains in Switzerland offer great opportunities not only in summer, but also in winter to go for hiking (snow-shoe trails) or long off-piste skiing. But because of the special circumstances (altitude, cold etc) there are some things that you need to consider before you leave for your trip or expedition into the mountains. Some planning is needed in order to ensure that group members’ health and safety is protected. For longer or more difficult trips it is better to choose a professional guide to go with you.

Answer the following questions before you leave:

  • Is the route appropriate for the fitness and expertise of the weakest member of the group?
  • Who is going to lead the group?
  • Does anyone in the group have a medical problem that you need to know about (asthma, diabetes etc)?
  • Do you have all the equipment you need for the worst conditions you may meet?
  • Is your first aid kit complete and up-to-date?
  • Do you have all the emergency phone numbers with you?
  • Have you checked the weather conditions (and avalance news?)
  • Do all group members have accident insurance?
  • Do you have the contact details from all group members and their family members you could call in case of emergency?
  • Do you have enough food and water with you?
  • Do you consider to take part in special trainings like avalanche safety, first aid etc?

On the mountains:

Group organization: Buddy up: go in pairs so that each person is checked and taken care by someone. Maintain contact and stop regularly to group up.

Watch the weather: be prepared to turn back, alter your route, stop or shelter.

Source: Mountain First Aid Course of HealthFirst 

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