Mountain Safety

When heading out in the mountains safety is important. The weather can change quickly and one needs to be prepared for warm sunny days as well as rain, cold wind, thick mist or even snow, despite being in the middle of the summer. In Sweden the National Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for mountain safety issues – provided here are some of their best tips for staying safe in the mountains.

Staying Safe in the Mountains

Before setting o on adventures in nature, adequate preparation is essential for a memorable and safe experience. Check the weather forecast, bring a map and compass, study signs and tell someone where you are heading. Pack an extra picnic and make sure you have a good pair of worn-in boots to avoid blisters. And don’t count on having mobile telephone coverage everywhere.

Mountain Rescue

The police are responsible for mountain rescue. That is the activities that are launched when you know, or fear that an accident has occurred. If possible, call 112 in an emergency, unless there is a mountain shelter or cabin with an emergency phone nearby. It is important to be aware that large areas of the mountain range have no mobile phone coverage.

6 Tips from the National Environmental Protection Agency

  1. Choose the right equipment. Choose lightweight clothing that protects you from wind and rain and breathes when you warm up. Dress in layers so that you can easily add or remove clothes according to the weather conditions. Good equipment does not have to be expensive and a sensibly packed rucksack should not be too heavy.
  2. Let your itinerary and return be known. It is important to inform someone of your intended route and when you expect to be back. Tell a friend, family or someone else who can raise the alarm if you do not return as planned.
  3. Plan your trip according to the weather. Mountain weather can change quickly. Check the local weather forecast. Always pay attention to warnings about adverse weather conditions in the mountains.
  4. Keep to marked trails. There are thousands of kilometres of marked trails in the mountains, with signs that indicate distances, overnight cabins and emergency phones. It is wise to keep to the marked trails. It makes it easier to find your way and is a safer alternative if you should need help. Remember that winter trails are marked with a red cross and are not always suitable for summer hikes.
  5. Pack a map and compass. Make sure you have an updated map. A compass is very useful when you leave marked trails. If you are not sure how to use a compass, visit the website of the Mountain Safety Council of Sweden for instructions. A GPS is useful but cold weather quickly drains batteries.
  6. Get advice from others with experience. Experienced mountaineers can offer important information. Get in touch with them to ask about routes, water levels, bridges and other information that will help you plan your trip. There are several local mountain safety committees with considerable knowledge of the mountains in their regions. Their contact details are on the Mountain Safety Council website.