Coronavirus: how to get back to the mountains in safety

coronavirus

The new section with updates on post-Covid-19 reopenings. How to live the Lake Garda experience in safety? Which sports, where, how and with whom?

#2 Covid-19 - 16 may 2020

The new recommendations from the mountain professionals

Finally we can get back to the mountains but won’t yet be in the same way.

The professionals of the mountains invite us to be careful and use our common sense. In this article we have put together guidelines from the shelter's owners and from the National Alpine Rescue Team and made a list of the official recommendations of the Italian Alpine Club.

The good rules of behaviour in the mountains

To the classics rules of behaviour in the mountains, that are always valid, we add:

  • Bring a mask with you and a sanitizer gel or disposable gloves.
  • While walking don't wear the mask.
  • If you meet someone during your walk, wear the mask, give way and before you restart wait until the safety distance is correct.
  • Wear the mask when you meet other people on the path, when you arrive and you are inside a refuge.
  • If you plan to stop at a refuge call it before to make sure it's open and to book lunch, dinner or overnight. By notifying the owners of your arrival you help them to welcome you safely and you do not risk being left without a place.
  • On the official paths use the sanitizer gel before and after tackling them, or wear gloves.
  • Don't leave gloves or masks in the mountains: they pollute and can be a means of contagion.
  • Maybe some upkeep of the paths has not yet been done and the conditions of the trail might not be as usual. Stay on the paths and if you don't see the white and red markers for 10 minutes, go back before you get lost.
  • Bring a map with you (a paper one, your phone may run out of battery), a gps with the cartography and use the phone only if needed.
  • To start, choose paths that you already know and tell someone where you are going, especially if you plan to go alone.
  • After months of enforced rest, your stamina will be not the same: choose a path well within your limit.
  • Install the app GeoResQ on your phone. It is managed by the National Alpine Rescue Team, it tracks in real time your excursions and forwards alarms and requests for assistance through the GeoResQ operations center.
  • Keep in mind that if you need help, the volunteers of the National Alpine Rescue Team must protect themselves and protect you with procedures that can heavily delay the intervention.

The recommendations from the Club Alpino Italiano to restart mountain activities

Respect the rules

Respect the rules adopted at national and territorial level, with particular reference to the limitations imposed, respect for distances and the use of personal protective equipment, to protect you and others.

Evaluate your abilities

Correctly evaluate your abilities and your physical condition, in addition to those of family members who come with you, considering the effects of the forced inactivity and choosing suitable routes, preferably beneath your usual level; gather every information about the route, the weather forecast and on the presence of open reception facilities and possible shelter.

Vary the routes

Discover the valleys and the villages closest to you with their unexpected beauties but respecting the environment, avoiding large grouops of people and limiting movements.

Sustain the shelters

Choose a shelter as a destination, not to find the services of the cities but a pleasant welcome instead, some competent advice and the simple quality of the food with the traditional tastes of the mountains. Remember that the shelter's owner oversees a precious territory and helps ensure rescues: collaborate with him and follow his instructions to ensure distance and hygiene; booking is important.

Go on the trails

Avoid the most challenging activities that need the use of shared equipment and close distances with others: the patience of today will make these activities even more rewarding in the not too distant future.

Be careful

Travel slowly and carefully the route you have chosen, follow the marked paths and when you meet other people keep your distance and use your mask.

Stay attentive

Remember that in the event of an accident the rescue, already challenging in these places, it is made further critical by the need to protect those who are rescued and those who help, from the danger of contagion by coronavirus: for this reason, keep your attention high and constant, and don’t let yourself become inattentive.

Respect the Highlands

Always consider that the places which are an opportunity for recreation and well-being for you, represent the "home" of the people who live in those mountains, helping to keep them hospitable, and that your behavior affects their living and health conditions.

Plan for a safe shelter

These are the ten rules for those using shelters.

  • Book the overnight stay, this year it is mandatory

  • Before starting the excursion make sure you are healthy.

  • Wait outside the shelter for the indications of the owner.

  • If the weather allows it, consume your drinks, coffee, cakes etc. outside the shelter.

  • Leave your backpack and your equipment where indicated by the owner.

  • Make sure to have a mask, gloves and sanitizer gel with you: use them entering the shelter and always when the safety distance cannot be kept.

  • Take your sheet or sleeping bag with you to stay overnight at the refuge.

  • Wash your hands frequently and take your own towel.

  • The owner can measure your temperature and, if over 37.5 °C, entry to the shelter may be prohibited.

  • Bring back all your individual protection items, as well as your garbage, down to the valley.

If you are getting close to the mountains now, we suggest you also read:

Everyone is asked to do their part.
Let's use the common sense and a lot of caution. :-). Happy hiking!