The mountain is calling – „wait, I’m almost ready“

Because preparing for a hike adventure – that’s half the battle. And I’m going to tell you how to prepare best for a tour in the Kitzbüheler Alpen!

My heart rate is increasing, my legs start trembling and there are beads of perspiration on my forehead. It is exhausting. I keep looking ahead of me. The narrow path is getting steeper and steeper. But I’m far away from quitting. I can see the summit cross on the horizon. It is getting closer and closer. Well, in fact it is me who is getting closer. Only a few more steps to go until I’m finally at the summit. I’m getting faster. And then I am there. I’m grinning widely. The fresh mountain air blows past my ears. My eyes wander over the world beneath me. I am so incredibly happy, content, pride and overwhelmed. All efforts and strains of the climb are forgotten, the feeling of standing on the top of the mountain is priceless.

But let’s start from the beginning …

A hiking tour doesn’t start at the point of departure. In order to enjoy the mountains with all senses you should put some effort into proper preparation before. Because as Confucius once said: “Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure”.

Planning

Finding hiking motivation has never been a problem for me. As soon as the first snow is starting to melt (no, in fact even before then) my thoughts are circling around those wonderful peaks I want to conquer in the summer. This is why I write a summit-to-do list every year. Then, when the hiking season has finally started, I pick a mountain and start with the preparations.

Summit to do list© Sandra Kruckenhauser

When I choose a tour I’ve never went before, it is important for me to internalize the route description. After all, in the end I want to stand on the right mountain, if possible without any detours. My tip: the interactive map! It shows you route descriptions, GPS data and important information regarding path problems and diversions. Of course, you can print these descriptions out and take them with you on your tour. The 3-D feature enables you to overlook your tour from a bird’s eye view which is helpful to get a clearer overview. Still, for all those who prefer “real” maps in their hands, there are great hiking maps available. Hiking tips and tour descriptions are being offered by the various tourist information offices where the staff will be happy to help you out.

interaktiveKarte© Sandra Kruckenhauser

To the interactive map with just one klick

Essential to your planning is checking on the weather forecast. Rain, wind or fog can make steeper areas pretty dangerous. And also thunderstorms can cause life-threatening situations on the mountain. Besides, the weather also has an influence on what you should wear and how to pack your backpack – but let’s talk about the latter in a minute….

And there is one more thing I strongly recommend: take it slow when it comes to the conquering of elevation gain and don’t overestimate your fitness. In the Holiday Region Hohe Salve and the Kitzbüheler Alpen you find plenty of hiking trails of all levels of difficulty, so choose only those which measure up to your level of fitness and stamina.

Your gear

Kleidung© Sandra Kruckenhauser

The outdoor clothing market is booming, BUT on the mountain, style should be put on the side line. It is far more important to choose your outfit according to functionality.

Go for breathable clothing and adjust the layers to the weather. Don’t miss out on a softshell or fleece jacket as well as a water-repellent outdoor jacket. Even if the weather forecast is fine, don’t forget that it is often windy and several degrees cooler on the summit. Besides, the weather is likely to change abruptly in the mountains – so better be prepared for that.

Rucksack© Sandra Kruckenhauser

Choosing the right shoes is particularly important. If you plan an easy hike with only a small difference in altitude, good outdoor shoes are enough. In case of moderately difficult tours you should wear sturdy hiking shoes and if you head out for a difficult mountain tour in steep terrain you should definitely go for proper hiking boots which lend more ankle support and reinforced protection. The shoes should fit perfectly; they should not squeeze or rub, and offer your foot good support. To avoid blisters and sore soles, I strongly recommend breaking in your brand-new shoes before you wear them for any serious hikes.

Apart from good hiking footwear a comfortable hiking backpack is the second most important piece of gear. It should fit your body and offer storage for all the essential things you need on the mountain. Thanks to adjustable straps and belts you can fit the backpack to your needs. An additional nice feature in backpacks - a mesh back which increases the ventilation between your back and the back panel.

I pack my backpack with the following things ...

Finally! You know your route almost by heart, the weather forecast is fine and your outfit is laid out on your bed - it is time to pack your backpack.

I have made a check-list for you:

Checklist: packing a backpack

  • Hiking map / printed tour description
  • Mobile phone fully charged (emergency numbers: mountain rescue service 140, 112 call)
  • cash
  • handkerchiefs
  • snack, pocketknife
  • dextrose for a quick energy kick
  • water bottle with sufficient to drink
  • sun protection (sunscreen, sunglasses, cap)
  • First-aid kit, blister plaster
  • Bivy bag, headlamp
  • gloves & beanie, bandeau
  • change of t-shirt
  • Rainwear (jacket/ rain pants/ umbrella)
  • Fleece-/Softshell jacket
  • Telescopic trekking poles

At the bottom you preferably put the clothes which you only need at the summit or in case of a change in the weather. At the very top you should place all important things such as mobile phone, wallet, hiking map, etc. Since hiking makes me always rather thirsty, I store my water bottle ready for use in a side pocket. And because I love celebrating my conquests of the summits “properly”, I never forget to pack a hip flask for a “summit shot”

Whenever I plan a hiking tour which leads me past a mountain stream or a lake – for example a tour to Schafsiedel – then I also take a small towel with me. There is no better way to find refreshment on a hiking tour than letting one’s feet dangle in the ice-cold, clear mountain water. 😋

© Sandra Kruckenhauser
© Sandra Kruckenhauser
© Sandra Kruckenhauser
© Sandra Kruckenhauser

Preparations are done and now it’s time to call out: off we go, I’m ready!!
And what about you? What is it that you would not go without on a hiking tour? Tell me in a comment more about it.

Sandra

Sandra

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