Monday, December 5, 2022

What to do in a storm in the mountains?

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Bruno Hasler (63) is a safety expert at the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC) and explains what dangers arise in storms in the mountains and how you should behave.

Those who go hiking usually check the weather conditions in advance. In the mountains, however, the weather can change quickly and you can suddenly find yourself in the middle of a thunderstorm.

Bruno Hasler (63), responsible for mountain emergency statistics at the Swiss Alpine Club SAC, explains what the dangers of a thunderstorm in the mountains are, how to avoid them and how to behave if you get caught in a storm anyway.

Dangers of a thunderstorm in the Alps

When there is a sudden thunderstorm in the mountains, the temperatures drop very quickly. Due to the wet cold, hikers are at risk of hypothermia.

The emerging fog or precipitation make it difficult to see. In the worst case, you lose your bearings. The hiking trails can turn into dangerous and slippery paths due to rain, snow or hail.

The right preparation

It’s better not to be in the mountains during a thunderstorm. Before the hike, you must therefore always find out in detail about the difficulty of the hiking route, the time required, the path conditions and the weather. “This is the best way to prevent getting caught in a storm,” says Hasler.

What should never be missing on a hike: the right equipment. It includes sturdy hiking shoes with a good grip, weatherproof clothing and enough provisions and water.

When hiking, it is important to stay alert at all times and keep an eye on the weather and trail conditions. “If in doubt, turn around in good time or choose an alternative route,” emphasizes Hasler.

How to deal with lightning

When there is lightning and thunder, the rule is: get to safety! The following places should be avoided at all costs and if possible be 50 meters away from them: summits, hilltops, individual trees, watercourses and steel cables.

The safest place to be is in covered places that are closed. This includes accommodations with closed windows and doors or cars.

“We are well protected from direct lightning strikes in large caves and within an isosceles triangle under rock faces, steel masts and power lines,” says Halser. You should also keep a distance of two meters from all walls, cave ceilings or other people.

The 26 most beautiful hikes in Switzerland

Sunny Grat / Valentin Luthiger

Are you looking for inspiration for your next hike? The Blick and OCHSNER SPORT hiking campaign sends you into the mountains. At www.26summits.ch you will find fantastic hikes throughout Switzerland. From easy to challenging: there is something for everyone! You will receive an instant prize for each mountain tour you complete and you will automatically collect donations for the mountains.

Sunny Grat / Valentin Luthiger

Are you looking for inspiration for your next hike? The Blick and OCHSNER SPORT hiking campaign sends you into the mountains. At www.26summits.ch you will find fantastic hikes throughout Switzerland. From easy to challenging: there is something for everyone! You will receive an instant prize for each mountain tour you complete and you will automatically collect donations for the mountains.

Help centers for hikers

“I recommend all mountain hikers to install the Rega app on their smartphones,” Hasler continues. When the app is activated, the GPS data is transmitted to Rega, which then contacts you. Anyone who has not installed the app can also reach Rega directly by dialing 1414.

If you have no reception, you can dial the European emergency number 112. The cell phone then tries to dial into the network that is strongest locally.

Hiking in Switzerland

Amden & Weesen Tourism / @alpine_treasures

Where are the best hiking trails for families? Where can you enjoy the most beautiful view over the peaks? Blick presents the best places to hike, discover, enjoy and experience in Switzerland.

Amden & Weesen Tourism / @alpine_treasures

Where are the best hiking trails for families? Where can you enjoy the most beautiful view over the peaks? Blick presents the best places to hike, discover, enjoy and experience in Switzerland.

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