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Tips For Hiking In The Mountains

Hiking in the mountains can provide some of the greatest views, but in order to get to those beautiful views you usually have to climb in elevation. Unless you are super fit and acquainted to high elevation hiking, most people will struggle climbing large amounts of elevation. Sometimes you can start a hike in 75 degree weather and climb 2500 ft in elevation and you have to walk across snow and the wind blowing 20+mph. So here are a few tips that will help you crush mountain hiking:

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Pressure Breathing:

Hiking elevation can leave you short of breath because the air is thinner the higher in elevation you go. So something that can help you catch your breath quicker is pressure breathing. This is where you take a deep breath into your lungs, make a small slit between your lips and blow out the air. What this helps do, is build pressure in your lungs to absorb more oxygen and dispose of carbon dioxide.

Wear Layers:

Wear or pack layers when hiking up elevation. There can be drastic changes from the parking lot to the top of a mountain. Most of the time, at the top of a mountain the wind picks up because of the change in pressure of the air. Having a rain jacket or windbreaker is a good layer to always have in your hiking pack.

Altitude Sickness:

Altitude sickness is very common with people climbing mountains. It is something to be taken very seriously. People acclimate differently to high-elevation hiking. There is less oxygen in the air when climbing a mountain therefore your blood isn’t always getting the proper oxygen it needs.

Symptoms of altitude sickness are dehydration, headaches, lightheadedness, dizziness, and nausea. If you show signs of any of these symptoms, be sure to discontinue hiking up, take a break to drink water and a light snack, and head back down the trail.  

Drink Enough Water:

The #1 tip for hiking in the mountains is to drink TONS of water. Sometimes it can be easy to forget to drink enough water, but climbing in elevation requires extra hydration. It can be easier to get dehydrated at elevation because there is less oxygen in the air.

When hiking you are exerting a high amount of energy, so you need to replenish your body. The best way to stay hydrated is to use a hydration bladder, so you can continuously drink along your hike.

Protect Your Skin:

Another important tip for hiking in the mountains is to protect your skin. A lot of people forget how much closer you are to the sun when hiking in the mountains. The higher you go up in elevation, the closer to the sun you are getting and the stronger the UV rays are. So protect your skin by wearing the appropriate layers or by wearing sunscreen.

Check The Weather:

A key tip for hiking in the mountains is to keep an eye on the weather. Because the pressure in the air is changing, afternoon thunderstorms are common around high elevation. You don’t want to get caught up in a thunderstorm while on top of a mountain! If a thunderstorm does arise while you are out on a hike, head back down the trail or seek shelter.

Use Hiking Poles:

One of the best tips for hiking in the mountains is to use hiking poles. Trekking poles can seriously be a game changer. Instead of your legs doing all the work, you can spread some of the work to your upper body too. Especially on really steep hikes, trekking poles can help push you up a mountain. And vice versa, they can save your knees on the way down.

We love our Trail Buddy Trekking Poles, they are durable and affordable.

Final Tips For Hiking In The Mountains

The best part of hiking a mountain is you get the hard part done first and get to hike downhill on the way back. There is usually a stunning panoramic view from the top that will take your breath away. Be nice to your joints and muscles and take your time hiking down. A lot of people forget to embrace how beautiful the hike down can be, but it is usually just as beautiful. Hiking a mountain is one of the best way to capture life’s beauty, so go out an enjoy!

Also check out our winter hiking tips and what to wear winter hiking.

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