Mountain climbing is one of the most physically demanding yet rewarding sports and the feeling of reaching the summit or taking in your surroundings can be enjoyed alone or with a companion just the same. However, there are many dangers of climbing alone, and although some are less severe than others, the go-to prove that mountain climbing is best enjoyed with someone else or part of a group.
Some mountains are impossible to climb without the help of a team but if you can’t find anyone to go with you on a certain day, the temptation can be to go it alone. Although plenty of mountains are easy enough to climb without assistance, here are some of the dangers.
Being Injured Alone
The most obvious and serious danger of climbing alone, this is when you are going to wish you had the help of a buddy close to hand. Even a minor injury can become a big problem if it is debilitating enough. With a companion, it is much easier for them to help you to safety, keep you comfortable, and call for help. Even a light sprain can slow you down which in itself could become dangerous if you are running out of daylight hours.
When you are mountain climbing with someone else, they can take your bag whilst you struggle on so. Hiking solo will mean you have to deal with the pain, take the burden of your equipment, and slowly make your way to safety. This is something no one likes to think about, but it is incredibly common.
The Climb Is More Difficult Than You Thought
You may have read about some people talking with bravado when it comes to an upcoming climb but remember that everyone has different abilities. It might not take long for you to realize that the trail you have embarked upon is not as easy as it first seemed and turning back could be difficult.
Climbing as part of a group or with someone else can help you get where you need to when you are feeling tired and ready to give up. You never know, you might be the person to help someone else who is struggling.
Being In A Crevasse
Falls and accidents happen all the time, but what about when someone finds themselves in a crevasse? These are among the biggest and most frightening dangers of mountain climbing and can seemingly come out of nowhere. Sometimes they can be covered making it more difficult to detect them.
When faced with the unthinkable position of trying to get out, having someone to call for help can be a genuine lifesaver.
An unfamiliar trail can soon become a dangerous one. This is why it is always important to make sure other people know where you are heading, even if you are going with a group. Although the best GPS systems make it pretty difficult to become lost nowadays, we are so reliant upon it that when it breaks or phone runs out of battery, it is easy to lose your way.
Sometimes the trail might be blocked or a lack of light might make it difficult to climb certain areas. Having a partner can help to make a decision or find the way back when you are unsure, not to mention it can provide a second phone for backup.
Although in certain parts of the world, the chances of being attacked by an animal on a climb are pretty slim, the same cannot be said everywhere. Most countries have some form of venomous snake that could be something to worry about. If you are bitten and injured, having help to hand can make your route to safety a lot easier.
Also, if the likes of mountain lions are prevalent on the climb you are considering, being part of a group makes you less likely to be attacked and will make it easier to fend off a confident big cat.
Although the world isn’t always a sinister place, it can be if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. This isn’t just a concern for solo female climbers but anyone. Crime is certainly worse in certain parts of the world but whether you are in unfamiliar territory or not, climbing solo is a bad idea for this reason.
No One To Motivate You
When things get tough, a lot of people are their own worst enemy. If this is the case, you could find yourself turning for home sooner than you may have planned, or even just running out of energy and taking an easier route.
When climbing as part of a group, you will find that you are thinking less about quitting, and more about keeping up. Some people walk fast, which can motivate you to pick up the pace but either way, a friend will be an encouraging partner, especially on the difficult parts of a climb.
You Tire Faster
If you are carrying all the equipment to set up camp, the added weight is going to take its toll. This can make you tire faster which could be dangerous. Not only will this mean it takes longer to complete a climb, but it can cause you to ache, which could turn into an injury. With a partner or group to hand, you can share the weight among more bags.
We’ve discussed the dangers of climbing solo, but haven’t even touched on some of the less desirable elements that aren’t dangerous but are worth considering. First of all, climbing alone can be boring after a while, and with no one to take your photo, you are going to have to settle for selfies. This in itself can be dangerous, so do so carefully.
It is always better to climb as part of a group, even if that means you are going with just one other person. The shared memories are a major benefit, but so is having someone to call upon should you need help. Because of this, we recommend waiting until a friend is available the next time you head up a mountain.