6 tips for a safe hike and the right path


Online tour portals, hiking apps and digital maps are widely used. Of course: they are practical and often even free. But you should never rely on just one source for a tour.

For many hikes, the good old map not only stays at home, but is often not even used to prepare for the tour anymore. After all, there are many ready-made routes online and on the way you just have to look at the digital map or let yourself be guided by a hiking app on your smartphone. But things don’t always go well. Because tour descriptions from the Internet and digital maps are not without their pitfalls. It is true that planning a tour while hiking without the Internet and electronic devices is almost non-existent and there is practically nothing wrong with it. However, the German Alpine Association (DAV) urgently advises against blindly relying solely on web tour portals, apps or digital maps and provides tips for safe hiking.

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6 tips for tour planning and excursions

The fall of a 34-year-old in the Alps near Berchtesgaden in mid-August shows how dangerous relying only on apps or digital maps can be when hiking. According to police, he was probably following a lead that is often marked on cell phone maps, but does not exist as such. In the rocky terrain and interspersed with ridges at an altitude of over 2000 meters, it is said to have slipped. He fell 150 meters and died.

According to the DAV, there are repeated reports of critical situations and accidents in the mountains in which hiking apps, tourist portals or digital maps seem to play a role. So that the next hike does not turn into a flop or even a horror trip, the German Alpine Association gives six tips:

  1. It is important to realistically evaluate your abilities during the planning phase and select only suitable tours accordingly.
  2. Who wrote the respective tour description? What level of experience and fitness does he have? A tour that pros consider easy can push beginners to their limits in the mountains.
  3. The tours can be described very differently on different portals, in apps or in hiking guides. And the map material is not necessarily identical, analog or digital. Therefore, when planning, you should always check and compare different sources and maps.
  4. You shouldn’t leave without a good paper hiking map, especially on difficult tours in the mountains. And aids such as a compass and altimeter are also part of the backpack. Because a smartphone can break and at some point it will burn out. That’s why a power bank is part of the basic equipment.
  5. On the way, it is important to always keep an eye out, always coordinate the planned tour with the actual conditions (e.g. signs, markings or actual practicability) and not just trust the digital map or the hiking app.
  6. A defensive attitude is always required in the mountains: never take unnecessary risks and, if in doubt, go back immediately.

With material from dpa

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