Top Tips for International Trekkers
Senior Instructor Simon Hale offers a pile of invaluable tips for those planning on trekking in the high mountains of Europe.
Its always worth being able to speak some of the local language so do a little research before hand, and get a few key phases sorted. This can make all the difference to your experience and help with interaction with locals and hut guardians.
If you are going on a hut based trip always book the huts well in advance and let them know of special dietary requirements. Its always worth confirming the booking the week before. Early and late season, hut opening and closing dates do change so always check with the guardian.
If your planning to do a popular trek in Europe if you can start midweek you will often avoid the crowds that normally start over the weekend period.
It's worth having all the hut contact numbers in your mobile phone as well as written elsewhere, should you need to contact them once you are on the move. It's also useful to have any emergency numbers stored in the phone. On longer multi day trips you may need to take your charger along as well.
If you can get hold of maps for the area before you go on the trip it's often worth getting it laminated, just in case the weather has some surprises in store. It also means you can become familiar with the often very different map style and scale.
When staying in mountain huts it is good if you can get a bed on the bottom row in the dorms and one near the window is often cooler and away from the door so it is quieter too!
Again when staying in huts its worth getting organised for the night before lights out, sort your rucksack so you done need to do any rustlings in the dorm, and have your head torch with you before lights out. Overnight it's worth wrapping your head torch around your wrist, (unless it's a massive old thing) so that when you need it in the night for a call of nature! its easily found. Going to some hut loos without a torch could be very exciting in the middle of the night.
Staying hydrated is important whilst trekking so when water is plentiful make sure you hydrate fully and carry enough water to see you through to the next fill up. Try and find out where and when water is available on the route, and if it's ok to drink without treating it. Remember some huts have no natural water supply and drinking water is flown in by helicopter and is therefore expensive, so buget for this and stay hydrated.
On arrival at the over night stop it's worth trying to dry out your boots and insoles in the sun so get them off and remove the insoles to allow quick drying. On sunny afternoons sometimes its worth rinsing out your base layer and socks so they are fresh in the morning.
If you are feeling hot as you trek, a good way to cool off is to dunk your hat in streams as you pass them. As the water in the hat evaporates, it cools your head.