Basic rules and tips to respect the environment, the mountain and other hikers who love mountain, like you!


Few, simple but basic rules to know before leaving that EVERYONE should know!
 
BEFORE AND DURING THE ACTIVITY:

Remember that you have to choose hikings and proportionate destinations to your tecnica and physical training. Do not overstimate your abilities!
Plan your hiking, study the path with maps and guidebooks. Always!
In case of insecurity rely on a CAI Instructor or a mountain guide.
Check on the path’s conditions constantly.
In case of something unexpected (significant difficulties, environmental danger, bad weather, ecc) remember that it is NEVER shameful to give up on something, in fact, this choice can even honor you.
Check on your backpack: some dry extra clothes, food, and, most of all, beverage. Wear something apropriate, and pay attention to the footwear.
Equip yourself properly, in relation to the path and the season.
Tell your friends and family where you are going (itinerary and destination), don’t  change it and call them when you’re back home. If you’re in serious trouble, do not panic. If possible, find a safe place and take cover waiting for the rescue.  

IN CASE OF INJURY:

Keep calm and worry about your safety.
Analyse what happened and value the eventual environmental dangers.
Assist the injured and put him in a afe position.
Take care of him but do not harm him further.
Call the mountain rescue at the 112. RESCUE CALL: Indicate what happened, the specific place of the accident and the weather conditions.
Answer clearly at the questions of the assistant at the phone.
Follow the instructions that they will give you carefully.
In case of an helicopter assistance, free the area, report the call for help and facilitate the rescue operations.


Do you want to spend a night in a shelter? Here you can find some practical pieces of advice for neophytes.

This page is addressed to who has never spent a night in a shelter and, before leaving, asks himself what kind of experience he willl have.
We’re dealing with some practical tips that might seem very obvious to those who already spend time in shelters, but it might not be so clear for the ones who are approaching to the mountains and the refuges.
We hope that they’ll be, even if not useful, at least funny!
 
What should I bring?

First of all, shoes and boots, if possible not new: facing a long trip with a new pair of  boots means, almost surely, getting giant blisters. Then, an anorak, preferably light and waterproof (the so-called “shell” racket, that is a waterproof anorak without  padding). Padded jackets are good as long as you stay still, but when you walk it’s hotter and a heavy coat makes you sweat. And when it rains or snows, the jacket must be waterproof and light!
Gloves and hat: they’re important also in summer, never mind the other seasons! And this applies even more when you are over 2000m high.
Two or more extra t-shirts: they’re important when you sweat and stay still, in order to keep yourself dry when you’re not moving.
Crampons: useful in winter in case of icy areas, but also in summer when you have to walk over 2500m high.
If you want to cover paths for experienced hikers (look at the key of mountain difficulties), it is highly recommended to inform yourself before leaving and face the way accompanied by skilled and qualified staff. Here, in fact, the equipment becomes various and necessary (lashings. ropes, snap-hooks, helmets, ecc) in order to deal with the paths with the correct tools for your security and the others’ one.
Sleeping bag: it is almost always mandatory for sleeping in shelters, since the laundry isn’t always there because it can’t be washed every time it is used. However, the blankets (woolen, warm and cleaned) are available in the refuge; some of them are equipped with beds with heavy eiderdowns, appropriate to winter temperatures.
Towels and slippers, optionals. In the shelter you can usually find paper towels and available slippers for the customers.
 
Dormitory or bedrooom?

You can find both bedrooms (with more places), both dormitories (single rooms with many sleeping accommodations), but there are almost always bunk beds and the arrangement is usually chosen by the shelter’s staff, according to the groups presents and the number of families with children. Who books at first, usually gets the bedroom, but it can also be possible to ask explicitly to reserve one, maybe adding a little overcharge. However, the allocation of the bedrooms gives the priority to families with children, and because of this the customers are asked to be sympathetic and get over the fact that the request of a bedroom can’t be always accepted. Giving the precedence to children and older people is a matter of civilization.
Some shelters accept the dogs, but some others don’t. It’s better to ask.
 
Shelter’s food: breakfast and dinner

Once, the refuges were very roughing and cheap places. Nowadays, things have really changed: the refuges remain relatively cheap compared to hostels and boarding houses, but the most interesting transformation brought by the progress is about the food, that now is various and plentiful almost everywhere.
Usually, they serve a pretty various dinner, where everyone should find something to his taste, and a plentiful breakfast, appropriate for who has to walk all day long.
Between all these courses everyone should be able to find a meal suitable to his own likes and needs (vegetarians, coeliacs,allergics, ecc). Anyway, whoever had food issues is invitated to report it at the moment of reservation and remind it again at the arrival at the shelter.
It’s really difficult for a refuge to improvise a specific plate if he is warned too late, for example when the concerned customer is sitting at the table and the dinnner is already served, while it’s much easier to organise it if known in advance.
It is good to know that the food takes its toll (and in refuges the food is mainly carried by back!).
Breakfast provides for beverage (tea, coffee or milk), bread, jam, biscuits and fruit juice.
 
Hot shower

In some shelters it is available the hot shower, but very often you have to pay for it (due to the fact that the cylinders are brought by helicopter).
There is always drinking water available, in almost all cases it comes directly from the mountain’s water source.
 
The garbage

The refuges are almost always supplied by back, an this is how it should work the waste management too: the garbage is brought away in the backpack. This is the reason why you won’t find trash cans. People are expected to take away their own garbage. If you sleep at the refuge and you need to dispose of something, you can ask. Paper, for example, is burnt and the organic waste is disposed of in a composting hole. Plastic, glass and cans must be carried home with you.
 
Respect

During your hike, respect the peace of the wood and the mountain, and don’t shout (animals who live there don’t want to like to be disturbed and are not used to the noise). Don’t pick flowers (you could alterate the alpine flora, take just some photos of them in their natural habitat, the most beautiful one). Don’t roll rocks or branches (they could hit someone) and above all don’t throw away garbage of any kind, even the smallest ones can spend decades for being reabsorbed in the environment.
Show respect to the others, always! But you must have even more respect for the spaces of the shelter: you’ll be in constant close contact with other people, and it must be a duty for everyone to respect each other, maintain a low tone of voice and keep cleaned bedrooms and bathrooms.
In the shelter it is important to adopt a critical consumption, sobriety and energy saving. Solidarity and sustainability are the main prerogatives of the shelters, that become the optimal place for creating occasions of aggregration between people over the experience of immersion into the nature
 
Mountain activities: levels of difficulties

In order to classify the difficulties of hikes, rock climbings and mountaineering, abbreviations and numbers are usually used to state the level of difficulty  of the itinerary and the ways described. They’re really important because they enable the hikers and climbers to choose itineraries suited to their skills.
Let’s see in detail the difficulties of mountain activities:

Basic Rules in the Mountains

HIKING DIFFICULTIES

T – Touristic
Road itineraries and clear paths; climbings not higher than 1000m; basic trip equipment.
E – Excursion
Longer itineraries and not always on visible paths, they can include areas without marks or rocky and steeper areas with not really exposed passages, sometimes they’re even equipped; appropriate mountain equipment request.
EE – Expert Hikers
Itineraries that may requie easy climbings on rocks, with exposure problems, passages on ice fields and crossings of dangerous areas; appropriate equipment for individual security request.
EEA – Expert Hikers with Equipment
Itineraries on equipped pathways wherte the frequence of the equipment, the physical effort and the significant exposure require the use of equipment for the self-insurance and the possible mutual insurance.
 
HIKING DIFFICULTIES (SWITZERLAND)

T1 – Hike
Well-trodden path. When reported according to standards FSS: yellow.
Flat ground or slightly inclined. No danger of vulnerable fall.
Requirements: nothing, sneakers allowed. Simple orientation, viable without topographic map.
 
T2 – Mountain Hike
Clear path with regular climbs.  
When reported according to standards FSS: white-red-white.
The ground is sometimes steep. Danger of vulnerable falls not excluded.
Requirements: sure step, hiking boots recommended. Basic orientation skills.
 
T3 – Intense Mountain Hike
Visible marks on the ground, some exposed passages can be secured with ropes and chains, and if necessary you have to use your hands to maintain the balance. When reported according to standards FSS: white-red-white.
Single passages with danger of vulnerable falls, rock formations, grassy sides without marks and dusted with rocks.
Requirements: sure step, good hiking boots. Discreet orientation skills. Basic knowledge about alpine environment.
 
T4 – Alpine Environment
Not always visible path, itinerary sometimes without marks, sometimes you’ll need the use of the hands for the progression.
When reported according to standards FSS: white-blu-white.
Quite exposed ground, grassy sides and dusted with rocks, easy icy areas without snow.
Requirements: familiarity with exposed grounds, strong biking boots. Good orientation and ground assessment skills. Knowledge about alpine environment
T5 – Intense Alpine Itinerary
Usually without marks, single simple climb passages until 2nd degree. 
When reported according to standards FSS: white-blu-white.
Intense and exposed ground, steep grassy sides and dusted with rocks, low-risk icy areas.
Requirements: good biking boots. Excellent orientation and sure ground assessment skills. Good knowledge about alpine environment and basic skills about the use of ax and ropes.
 
T6 – Difficult Alpine Itinerary
Usually without marks, single climb passages until 2nd degree. Usually it isn’t reported. Very exposed ground, delicate grassy and rocky sides, icy areas with slippage risk.
Requirements: excellent orientation skills. Excellent knowledge about alpine environment and familiarity with alpine environment.
 
MOUNTAINEERING DIFFICULTIES – UIAA levels (Welzenbach)
I – Easy
It’s the easiest kind of climbing, you need to choose the foot support and you’ll often use your hands as handholds, but just to maintain the balance.
II – Little Difficult
It requires the moving of one limb at a time and a correct thrust of the movements. There are abundant handholds and supports.
III – Quite Difficult
The rocky structure is steep or even vertical, handholds and supports are less abundant and they might requeer the use of physical strenght. The passages are not mandatory yet.
IV – Difficult
Handholds and supports are more unusual and smaller, the paths require a good technique and a certain level of practice.
 
V – Really Difficult
Handholds and supports are unusual and small, the climbing requires a good technique and physical effort. It is usually required a prior examination of the passage.
VI – Extremely Difficult
Handholds and supports are small and they require a particolar combination of movements because of their disposal. The rocky structure can force to a delicate climbing against the mountain or to an exhausting one over a cliff. It requires practice and a strong effort with hands and arms.
 
MOUNTAINEERING DIFFICULTIES – French levels

F
F+
Easy path, without big difficulties.          
 
PD-
PD
PD+
Little difficult, it shows some small difficulties over rock and snow, icy slopes up to 95°-105°F.
 
AD-
AD
AD+
Quite difficult, mountaineering difficulties on rock and ice, icy slopes up to 105° – 120°F.
 
D-
D
D+
Difficult, mountaineering difficulties on rock and ice, icy slopes up to 120° - 160°F.
 
TD-
TD
TD+
Very difficult, huge mountaineering difficulties on rock and ice, ice up to 160° - 175°F.
 
ED-
ED
ED+

Extremely difficult, extreme mountaineering difficulties on rock and ice, ice up to 195°F.
 
TYPES OF MOUNTAINEERING ASCENTS
 
A
Regular mountaineering ascent, it doesn’t require any equipment and it doesn’t face climbing passages, it shows rough areas and some exposed passages, rocks not over I/I+ level.
 
AD
Rocky mountaineering ascent, it faces climbing passages over II level, it requires climbing equipment (rope, harness, carabiners, spikes and helmet), it requires experience and practice.
 
AG
Icy and snowy mountaineering ascent, it faces slopes over 35°, icy ridges and canals, it requires climbing equipment (applicable on ice), it requires experience, assessment skills and practice.
 
CLIMBING DIFFICULTIES - Level and description

I
This is the easiest level of climbing. The hands use the handholds just to maintain the balance
II
It represents the beginning of the true climbing. It requires the moving of one limb at a time. There are numerous handholds and the supports.
III
The cliff is steeper and vertical, it requires the use of physical strenght.
IV
There are less handholds and the supports and the path requires a good knowledg of climbing’s technique and practice.
V
The handholds and the supports are rare, the passages must be studied and the ascent becomes tiring.
VI
The handholds and the supports are rare and smaller. The passages can require a forced sequence of movements.
VII
The handholds and the supports are smaller and distant. The path requires a particular fingers’ strenght.
VIII
Constant training and practice are required for being able to face paths like these.
IX
Training and practice required are almost professional.
X and XI
These are the most difficult climbing paths in the world.
 

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