Mar 15

Wander Wise: A Guide to Safety on the Trails and Hiking Etiquette

If you’re hiking this season, whether with Ryder-Walker or on your own, we have tips to enhance your experience. Two key aspects to consider are: handling unexpected situations like bad weather or injuries and being a respectful hiker.

Preparation and Safety Guidelines for Ryder-Walker Hikes:

  1. Every night before your hike and again in the morning we recommend you check weather and trail conditions. If you are on a Ryder-Walker trek, weather information can be found on your Vamoos app. If bad weather is in the forecast, plan not only for rain or a snow squall but for any obstacles or hazards that may exist. You may need to ask the hotel front desk or hut warden for a lower route recommendation if severe storms or lightning is forecasted.
    • Ryder-Walker provides alternate route options on many of our hikes in case of inclement weather. If lightning storms are going to persist all day, the best decision may be to investigate public transportation or private taxi transfers.
    • We also provide alternate transfer options on most of our hikes should weather or injury prohibit hiking for the day.
    • You may also inquire with the luggage transfer company for a ride if public transportation is problematic.
  2. Knowing when to cut your hike short is crucial. Signs like worsening weather, altitude sickness, or injuries in your group should prompt you to descend, take an easier trail, or turn back. Look out for darkening skies, temperature drops, strong winds, heavy rain or snow, and fog as indicators of an approaching storm. Stay safe during lightning storms while hiking by following the recommendations in our blog post: five rules to stay safe in a lightning storm.
  3. Always prioritize safety over completing the hike. It’s better to turn around and try again another day than to risk injury or worse due to inclement weather.
  4. If you find yourself in an emergency where you can’t find assistance from another hiker on the trail or at a hut or Rifugio along the route, please call 112. This is the European emergency phone number, available everywhere in the EU, free of charge. Operators will speak English.
  5. Before the trek, review your packing list to ensure you have layers for changing weather and always carry rain gear in your pack. Most high-end, newer backpacks come with a rain cover tucked in the bottom. If your pack doesn’t have one, you can purchase them online or at sporting goods stores. A dry pack is essential for multi-day hikes.
  6. We recommend trekking poles, they are saviors when it comes to slippery rocks and trails when hiking in the rain and when descending long distances, the amount of stress they absorb from your knees is remarkable.
  7. Bring plenty of water, snacks, and lunch if you are planning on a trailside picnic. You’ll want to stay hydrated and keep your energy levels high throughout the hike.

Trail Etiquette Guidelines for Responsible Hiking:

  1. Please stay on the trail or designated path to avoid damaging fragile ecosystems.
  2. When descending narrow trails, yield to uphill hikers, who have the right of way. Also, on narrow trails, step aside to let faster people pass.
  3. Please keep noise levels down and be mindful of your surroundings and avoid loud conversations that can disturb wildlife and other hikers.
  4. Maintain the trail’s natural beauty by leaving no trace. Remember to pick up after yourself, including all paper products.
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