Safe Hiking Behavior
Time spent up in the mountains will always be associated with certain risks. The sources are many: weather, lightning, sun, rockslides, but also the altitude, exhaustion and, above all in winter or springtime, avalanches. By obeying a few basic rules, you can actively protect yourself and others from danger.
Calculate the time needed for your hike
You should always calculate the approximate time you will need to complete your hike or mountaineering expedition. As a rule of thumb, reckon with around 350 vertical meters per hour and a distance of about 4 km per hour. Don’t forget to plan for regular rest breaks: After no later than 1 ½ to 2 h, you should definitely take a short break.
Select your tour so that, if bad weather threatens, you will already be at a mountain hut, or able to return to the valley at any time. Especially if you are hiking with children, you should always assume your hike will take longer than usual.
Basic Hiking Equipment
For your hike to be a wonderful experience, you will need to bring along a few pieces of basic equipment. Only when you have the right gear, you can be sure you won’t end up with blisters or get seriously chilled.
We recommend having the following items with you on every hike you take:
- Sturdy shoes/boots with a good tread
- Warm clothing
- Wind-tight outerwear
- Plenty to eat and drink
- Small first-aid kit (gauze bandage, adhesive tape, plasters, scissors or a knife)
- Navigational aids such as hiking maps etc.
- Also helpful (especially in emergencies): a mobile phone, though it might not work in all locations.
Hiking with children
How to behave in an emergency
Stay calm if ever an accident happens! Try to summon help, either using your mobile phone, or by signaling: shouting, whistling, waving with big items of clothing etc. Let people know who you are, what has happened and where you are located. People who have suffered a severe injury should remain in a visible location at the accident site, though outside the danger area. Never leave someone who is injured alone!
Important telephone numbers
Mountain rescue: 140
Automobile club: 120
Dr. Toferer: +43 (0) 6414 / 388
Dr. Matvei: +43 (0) 6414 / 8801
(Dentist) Dr. Weiss: +43 (0) 6414 / 8175
How to behave around animals
As you explore the alpine pastures of Grossarltal, you will encounter all kinds of animals, including cows, calves, horses, sheep etc. When this happens, please be sure to do the following:
- Don’t tease or antagonise the animals.
- Behave “normally”.
- Don’t show any fear.
A stick is a great visual cue that creatures tend to respect. Often animals are merely curious and want to play. Always avoid upsetting young animals, since their mothers have a strong protective instinct and will always defend their young.
This applies particularly to hikers who are walking with their dog. Always keep your dog on a lead and never let your dog chase other animals. That said, if an animal happens to attack your dog – even though you do have it on a lead – let your dog loose so it can run away for its own protection.
How to behave in a thunderstorm
If, despite careful planning, you do end up in a thunderstorm while you are up in the mountains, avoid staying at the following locations:
- On the summit
- On exposed ridgelines
- Underneath isolated trees
- In water gullies
- At the foot of rock faces
- At the entrance to caves
- Close to high-tension electric cables
Instead, look for valleys or hollows. However, you will only find truly safe shelter in a building or car.
A thunderstorm does not just appear within a couple of minutes. There are plenty of indications that should set off “alarm bells” well in advance. Please keep a look out for these, and turn back as soon as you notice them.
- Thunderstorm warning signs: humid air, cumulus clouds
- Alarm signals: cumulus clouds with a dark underside, fringed edges, distant rumble of thunder
- Risk to life: electrical discharges in the air (hair stands up, crackling…). In such cases, leave the danger area immediately! Your live is in danger!
10 fundamental rules for hikers
1. Before any mountain hike, assess your personal physical condition and that of your companions – especially children. This will ultimately determine the length of your tour.
2. Plan every tour precisely. Information from hiking maps, your landlord and hut hosts can be very helpful.
3. Make sure you have the right gear (see above) and plenty of provisions, and be sure to check the weather forecast.
4. Always inform your hosts, hut staff or other acquaintances about your intended hiking destination and the time you expect to be back. Enter the time and route in the logbooks located at huts and mountain summits. In an emergency, finding you will be that much faster and easier.
5. Adapt your speed to the physical condition of yourself and your partners. You should always tailor your tempo to the weakest member of your group. If you walk too fast, exhaustion will set in early. And never forget: Generally, you will also have to hike all the way back to the start as well.
6. Stay on marked paths. Walking across grassy mountainsides (especially when wet), snow fields and glaciers is always associated with added danger.
7. Watch out for falling rocks, often caused by animals such as chamois, sheep etc. And make sure that you do not kick away loose rocks yourself, which might well endanger other hikers in the mountains.
8. If you realize that you are not physically up to the hike or you see that bad weather is threatening, turn back immediately. It is nothing to be ashamed of, and actually shows you are a cautious hiker.
9. Always stay calm if an accident happens. Follow the rules we gave you above.
10. Keep the mountains clean!
Stick to these rules and you can be sure your hikes and mountaineering adventures will leave you with pleasant memories. The tourist office Grossarltal wishes you many wonderful, accident-free hikes in Grossarltal!