For the climbing ‘virgin’: 6 tips to know before you go hiking

Barry Viloria on Mar 07, 2016 11:52 PM
For the climbing 'virgin': 6 tips to know when hiking
Here’s a cheat sheet for beginners who wish to take on new adventures over the terrain. (Photos courtesy of Merrell)

No other time in recent history that climbing mountains has been this trendy than now. It’s so much so now that summer’s fast approaching. Hiking is obviously beneficial to one’s fitness, working on your cardio and improving your leg muscle movement. From how it has become a lifestyle, social media has motivated us to check out those breathtaking cloud-level views we ourselves feel the need to photograph and post online—a superficially-driven diversion that has evolved into a way of life.

Hobbyist Lionel Orticio, a senior financial analyst, attempts to validate this, “Yes, a lot of people who are now trying this sport as a past-time. I think social media is one of the catalysts why people are now getting out of their comfort zones just to have that profile picture taken at a certain summit. It usually starts from there.”

“Then, they would discover the entire beauty of the sport and decide to just continue climbing, this time not for the profile picture, but for nature appreciation and relaxation.”

Just the same, we encourage you to try mountaineering with the many benefits it gives. Before jumping on the bandwagon, however, it helps to take note of these. Climbing virgins, listen up!

Be fit.

It helps that you’re physically--and mentally--in shape, says Orticio. For minor mountains, you can be a little more sparing. “But as you progress and start targeting major mountains, you really need to train. Being physically fit helps you enjoy more because you will not spend your time catching your breath; instead, you can enjoy your surroundings and talk to your group.” Besides, who needs an extra burden going up the terrain?

Be really ready.

Climbing isn’t an easy feat. If you have some heart and lung ailments, better to be more vigilant about the distance of the mountain and the level of difficulty it has. Rest before the day of your hike. Stretch right before it to avoid accidents. Orticio adds, “The most common are cramps and sprains. There was one incident where a groupmate got a twisted ankle while going down. We had to apply bandage, restrict movement, and assist him in going down.”

Mind the time and duration of the hike.

Yes, the schedule matters. Orticio explains, “Climbing during daytime is still best. It lessens the risk of the activity. If night trek is unavoidable, just be sure that you have a good light source to light your way and always keep the group in your line of sight.”

Go easy.

You don’t have to get adventurous at first. You can start with the beginner-friendly ones when it comes to which mountain to take on. Orticio suggests the following for first-timers: Mt. Pinatubo; Mt. Gulugod Baboy, Batangas; Mt. Batolusong and Mt. Balagbag in Rizal; and Batad in Cordillera.

Equip yourself with the right gear.

Hiking fashion can be really technical, so proceed to fittingly knowing brands like Merrell, Columbia, and North Face. These brands sell the right attire, including the most crucial—the shoes. When buying a trekking pair, consider the cushioning, the grip of the sole, waterproof-ness, and other qualities.

Have fun.

Enjoy your first time by climbing with a friend or joining a group that has public/private trips. Orticio warns, “Just be sure that the group has a good track record. From there, you can meet new faces along the trail who can be your next hiking buddy. If you really want to pursue the sport, it’s better to join an organization where they will train you on the basics and will help you achieve your goals!”

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