Understand The Hazards Of Mountain Climbing

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                 <p>Mountains are a perennial favorite for group hikes and
picnics because nowhere else can you be treated with spectacular views
and exciting adventures. But with all their stunning beauty and potential
for fun and enjoyment, mountains also pose hazards and dangers, many of
which are hidden from view. To keep yourself safe and informed, here are
some of them: <br><br>Mountain terrain Unless you're a seasoned climber
or are an experienced mountaineer, mountain terrain can be very
confusing. For the untrained eye, it can be extremely difficult to find
your way in or out especially if there is nothing out of the ordinary to
use as a landmark. For somebody who's unfamiliar with mountain terrain,
every tree, fallen branch, log, tree stump, patch of grass or shrub will
look exactly the same, making it easy for you to lose your way.
<br><br>By itself, mountain terrain can be very hazardous. Rocks, caves
and shrubs can hide dangerous wildlife and crevices can pose a danger to
both life and limb. <br><br>Avalanche and rock falls In some mountain
areas, avalanches are controlled by mountain patrols so there's little
risk of starting an avalanche or being caught in one. However, if you
stray too far from area boundaries, you could encounter an avalanche and
be swept away. While avalanches can occur at any time of the year, they
are more common during winter and spring, when the ice begins to melt.
<br><br>Rockfalls often occur when parts of the mountain are loosened
during climbing. It can also occur after the melting of snow or an
earthquake. Rockfalls are also common in rock mountains because of
erosion.        <!--INFOLINKS_OFF-->

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<br>Sudden weather changes Weather conditions in the mountains can be
very hazardous to hikers and campers because they can change rapidly. A
bright, sunny day when you start out can turn dark and nasty in the
middle of your hike or climb. Summits and mountain tops are especially
prone to storms because these areas attract clouds. <br><br>Sudden
weather changes can also make hiking and moving more difficult and rain
can cause mud patches and rocks to become slippery. During a snowstorm,
whiteouts can make it extremely difficult for climbers to retrace their
route. Without a compass, there is a danger of them getting lost.
<br><br>Lightning Lightning is a mountain hazard especially during summer
thunderstorms. Lightning is attracted to the highest point on the ground
and climbers near or at the top of the mountain have a high risk of
getting struck. <br><br>Sunburn This would probably be less of a problem
if you are walking under a canopy of trees, but the risk of sunburn
becomes real once you've reached higher elevations. Areas in the
mountains with sparse trees and forest covering can expose you to
ultraviolet light. <br><br>Bodies of water Streams and rivers may look
safe, but they can be deeper than they seem. They can also be very cold,
even during the summer months. In case you fall into them, you might
expose yourself to the risk of hypothermia. <br><br>Streams and rivers
may also flow swifter than you think. If you're trying to cross and the
water level reaches above your knees, there is a danger that you could
get swept away. The depth and speed of the flow can also change quickly.
After a rain storm or once the snow above the area begins to melt, a
small stream can turn into a strong torrent of frigid water.
<br><br>Falling There is always a danger of a climber falling due to a
faulty handhold or foothold. A wrong estimate of the rock's stability or
firmness can cause a fall, so it's important to know whether a particular
area can carry the climber's weight to avoid accidents. <br><br>Altitude
Some climbers may develop altitude sickness, which usually happens when
they ascend the mountain too fast. At higher points, there is less oxygen
and lower atmospheric pressure, causing unpleasant sensations. Climbers
who complain of nausea, lethargy, severe headache and body ache may be
suffering from altitude sickness and need attention immediately.
<br><br>At heights above 1,500 meters, climbers usually experience
acclimatization, which is why climbers who scale mountain heights of
higher elevations pack bottled oxygen to help them cope. If not, problems
like HACE (high altitude cerebral edema), HAPE (high altitude pulmonary
edema) and AMS (acute mountain sickness) can occur and these can be life
threatening. <br><br>Mountain climbing is a very enjoyable sport or
recreation, so it's necessary to be aware of hazards that one may
encounter during a mountain climbing trip. Be prepared, take safe routes
and use common sense during a climb and never underestimate a mountain,
no matter how familiar it has become to you.</p>                <!--
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posted:8/20/2011
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