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Old 29.07.2011, 13:59
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Hiking in the mountains, advice needed.

On Sunday I will be going to Meiringen for a few days for some lovely hiking. Most of this will be taking place in the mountains. The problem I have is I've never been to the mountains before and am not sure of what to expect. I was just looking for a few tips and some advice that will make it more enjoyable. I should point out that the person I am going with has experience with this, they're Swiss, but I figured the more I know the better.

I would say I am reasonably fit, I enjoy hiking and can walk long distances no problem. I've just not done anything 'high', I've done Uetliberg a few times though (high to me, the local high point at home is called Billinge Bump, hardly a berg ). And I have my worn in hiking boots, hiking socks, and waterproofs. Is there anything else I need to think about? I know it can get cold up there, but how cold at say 2000m?

I mainly would like to survive, but having a lot of fun would also be great. Thanks in advance for the advice.
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Old 29.07.2011, 14:09
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Re: Hiking in the mountains, advice needed.

I don't think you are going to get cold, looking at the forecast for the next few days. If you're sleeping at 2,000 metres it will be chilly once the sun goes down, but even at that altitude it's going to be hot during the day.

Do you know what your itinerary is exactly? Sleeping in huts or hotels?

Last edited by stephen_NE; 29.07.2011 at 14:09. Reason: typo
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Old 29.07.2011, 14:12
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Re: Hiking in the mountains, advice needed.

The temperature at the top of a peak can be significantly less than in the valley (I've seen commonly here around 15 degrees difference from 400m to over 2000m, especially in winter). Also the sun is much stronger at that altitude. So you'll most likely need the following:
  • Extra dry layer (fleece)
  • Rain jaket
  • Sunscreen and hat/shades
  • A topo map would be useful
  • REGA membership (CHF30 per year) with the phone number
And you should never leave home without an emergency Twix or avalanche Snickers bar
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Old 29.07.2011, 14:14
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Re: Hiking in the mountains, advice needed.

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On Sunday I will be going to Meiringen for a few days for some lovely hiking. Most of this will be taking place in the mountains. The problem I have is I've never been to the mountains before and am not sure of what to expect. I was just looking for a few tips and some advice that will make it more enjoyable. I should point out that the person I am going with has experience with this, they're Swiss, but I figured the more I know the better.

I would say I am reasonably fit, I enjoy hiking and can walk long distances no problem. I've just not done anything 'high', I've done Uetliberg a few times though (high to me, the local high point at home is called Billinge Bump, hardly a berg ). And I have my worn in hiking boots, hiking socks, and waterproofs. Is there anything else I need to think about? I know it can get cold up there, but how cold at say 2000m?

I mainly would like to survive, but having a lot of fun would also be great. Thanks in advance for the advice.
Sounds like a fun time, you sound like you're in reasonable shape and have good shoes/socks. My feet tend to be the source of any hiking unhappiness. Also a good pair of suglasses--I like photochromatic for changing conditions.

At 2000 M, you shouldn't have to worry about altitude sickness or anything like that. But make sure to keep tabs on how much water you've had--especially if you don't feel hot you can forget to drink. Nothing like dehydration to give you a case of the crankies and a headache.

It can get chilly--light layers is always good advice when combining exercise and chill.

Otherwise, relax and have fun! (Oh yeah, always tell someone not with your group where you're going and when you'll get back!)
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Old 29.07.2011, 14:20
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Re: Hiking in the mountains, advice needed.

My own experience of what it can be like hiking around Engstlenalp and Meiringen, from this time last year:

http://isitmuchfurther.blogspot.com/...on-via_26.html

and

http://isitmuchfurther.blogspot.com/...on-via_27.html

The moral of the story is: don't forget your waterproofs and beware of ghosts
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Old 29.07.2011, 14:35
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Re: Hiking in the mountains, advice needed.

Thank a lot guys. And stephen_NE those pics are really great, I can't wait to get there now. And I'll be sure to read those blog entries before I go.

We'll be staying in a caravan in Meiringen, then driving to the start points of the hikes. So hopefully won't be spending any nights in the wild.

Another thing, what's the general opinion with regards to knives? Do you always take one with you, a swiss army or otherwise? I've read a few sites claiming they're essential, did having one ever help you?
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Old 29.07.2011, 14:43
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Re: Hiking in the mountains, advice needed.

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(high to me, the local high point at home is called Billinge Bump, hardly a berg ).
St Helens? The outlaws are from there, so I've been up the lump and round the dam a few times. The view over to Pilkingtons is to die for

I'd add take water, a litre per person is usually enough, spare socks and spare t-shirt/shirt as you may well be sweating like a pig on the move, and very chilly when you stop.
Always (as pointed out) take a wind cheater.

I always take a knife, but it's usually to open a bottle of red back in the room.
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Old 29.07.2011, 14:48
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Re: Hiking in the mountains, advice needed.

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Thank a lot guys. And stephen_NE those pics are really great, I can't wait to get there now. And I'll be sure to read those blog entries before I go.

We'll be staying in a caravan in Meiringen, then driving to the start points of the hikes. So hopefully won't be spending any nights in the wild.

Another thing, what's the general opinion with regards to knives? Do you always take one with you, a swiss army or otherwise? I've read a few sites claiming they're essential, did having one ever help you?
I once had to repair my hiking boot on the trail (loooong story) and my leatherman tool came in super handy. I prefer leatherman multitools to Swiss army because the construction is better and they do more practical things. A length of cord or sturdy string also takes up no room or weight in your bag and can come in handy.
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Old 29.07.2011, 14:50
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Re: Hiking in the mountains, advice needed.

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Another thing, what's the general opinion with regards to knives? Do you always take one with you, a swiss army or otherwise? I've read a few sites claiming they're essential, did having one ever help you?
I usually have a small Swiss army knife, but the most essential thing it has ever been needed for is slicing sausages

If you get the opportunity to go up to the Trift suspension bridge, that's a really nice hike and not difficult at all. You would need to either drive or get the bus up the Sustenpass road above Innertkirchen, then take the cable-car up to the start of the hike. The cable-car is very small and the walk is popular, so queues are likely.
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Old 29.07.2011, 14:54
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Re: Hiking in the mountains, advice needed.

There was a big discussion on walking sticks a short time ago. Maybe search for it.
Personally I take them always, as you get the top half of your body moving a bit.
Also, they make a handy impromptu mono-pod for taking steady panoramic pictures.
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Old 29.07.2011, 14:59
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Re: Hiking in the mountains, advice needed.

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St Helens? The outlaws are from there, so I've been up the lump and round the dam a few times. The view over to Pilkingtons is to die for
Yep. It is a great view. Though I am hoping for something a bit less industrial

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If you get the opportunity to go up to the Trift suspension bridge, that's a really nice hike and not difficult at all. You would need to either drive or get the bus up the Sustenpass road above Innertkirchen, then take the cable-car up to the start of the hike. The cable-car is very small and the walk is popular, so queues are likely.
Wild horses could not drag me over that thing, no way

I think I will go for a knife, just to give me a little peace of mind, you never know. And its hardly gonna add any weight.
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Old 29.07.2011, 15:14
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Re: Hiking in the mountains, advice needed.

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Is there anything else I need to think about?
Is your REGA membership paid up?

Tom
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Old 29.07.2011, 15:16
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Re: Hiking in the mountains, advice needed.

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I usually have a small Swiss army knife, but the most essential thing it has ever been needed for is slicing sausages
The corkscrew in my Swiss army knife has often saved me in uncivilized places without a proper corkscrew

Yes, I know, a knife is one of the Wikipedia reference-linkten essentials but, in stephen_NE's experience and mine, rarely needed for survival. On the other hand, I would never leave home for a hike without a map and compass, headlamp, extra clothes and first aid kit.

As for temperatures, a few days ago I got off the bus in Zinal (elev. about 1,600 m) at 9 AM and the temperature was 0C. As the sun came over the mountains it quickly warmed up, but the start was cold.
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Old 29.07.2011, 15:18
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Re: Hiking in the mountains, advice needed.

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I once had to repair my hiking boot on the trail (loooong story) and my leatherman tool came in super handy. I prefer leatherman multitools to Swiss army because the construction is better and they do more practical things. A length of cord or sturdy string also takes up no room or weight in your bag and can come in handy.
I once had to repair a Spanish girl's hiking boot on a multi-day hike. The sole had come away from the upper but the roll of electrical insulation tape I had with me sorted it out.

To the OP: woolly hat - takes up no room, weighs next to nothing and makes a massive difference to you staying warm if you need to stay in one place for a few hours if something goes wrong.
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Old 29.07.2011, 15:32
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Re: Hiking in the mountains, advice needed.

Also learn the Swiss word for 'help' - just in case you need to shout
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