Are you considering climbing a mountain? Learn about the physical and mental benefits, as well as the potential dangers, of this challenging activity.
Mountaineering is a thrilling sport and recreational activity. It provides you with undeniable benefits to your health.
But along with that are some specific dangers of climbing mountains you might want to consider. Let’s get down to the details in this post.
Benefits of mountain climbing
There are various benefits you can gain by climbing regularly:
1. Learning opportunities
Mountain climbing is a unique sport that requires specific knowledge, training, and equipment.
First, you must learn about various terrains and weather you may encounter on your trip. You must also know how to find a suitable outfit and gear, especially the perfect footwear to support you when climbing.
Even on-site, you will be “wowing” constantly as you catch sight of real situations. For example, you might make some mistakes in the process – forgetting to pack your first aid kit with you.
But that’s more reason to learn how to discover our beautiful surroundings!
2. Better physical health
The most notable improvement in your physical health would be a fitter body and more defined muscles. However, there are many more than that.
Take the increased blood oxygen, for example. It helps your organs receive enough oxygen and improves their well-being while alleviating symptoms of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc.
Another benefit is the improvement in your flexibility and endurance. Initially, it could be a bit discomforting, but your joints and muscles work when you move.
You will gradually get used to the movement and are less likely to experience pain or ache afterward. Now that’s worth a try.
3. Improved mental well-being
Modern life is pretty busy and demanding. As a result, many people are struggling with stress. Each of them will have a different way of dealing with it, but sometimes physical activities like mountaineering work wonders.
It makes you focus on the nature around you and move your body effectively, rather than those annoying thoughts about work.
There is science behind this. Physical exercise – even those of moderate energy – has been proven to lower stress levels by encouraging the release of endorphins.
This hormone is the key to relieving pain and reducing stress, thus improving your mood and boosting positive energy.
4. A deeper connection with nature
As mentioned above, being in nature positively impacts many aspects of your health. According to a Robertson-Cooper study, your well-being can increase by 15% after exposure to sunlight or greenery. Now that’s surprising!
And mountain climbing can be the one if you’re finding a way to enjoy nature and stay fit simultaneously.
While controlling every movement is essential, you don’t want to waste all those beautiful sceneries.
Try recharging by having a look around and listening to the animals. It’s a healing experience for both your body and mind.
To some extent, mountaineering is a group activity. It’s where each member learns and supports each other on the way to the top.
This is especially beneficial for beginners. They’re still new to the sport and can’t handle the unexpected well yet.
What is more, meeting and interacting with like-minded can also deepen your connections with people, fuel your passion for climbing, and inspire you to climb more often.
The thought of having a trusted someone together to enjoy the panoramic view with you is already excellent. You can plan to conquer mountains and set many targets to compete with them too!
Dangers of mountain climbing
However, during your trip, you need to watch out for many dangers as well:
1. Unfavorable weather
Weather is among the most significant hazards in mountaineering. But it’s not, particularly the cloudy or windy weather, that poses a threat to you. What matters is how it changes.
The weather can appear sunny with calm winds downhill, but as you go up, it suddenly turns to howling winds and heavy rain.
For this reason, just simple preparation won’t do the job. You should plan to get ready for all situations.
Get a hold of the weather there, overpack some jackets or raincoats even if it’s sunny, and cancel your trip if the weather seems terrible. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
2. Severe accidents and injuries
Accidents account for many severe injuries and even deaths to climbers. The most common ones are from falling, rockfall, icefall, or avalanches.
They can happen due to carelessness, inclement weather, broken equipment, etc. Or maybe just from you not getting used to the terrain in advance.
As always, doing some research in advance plays an essential role. But aside from that, knowing your limits are crucial as well.
Try to avoid sudden movements which are more likely to make you slip. And lastly, remember to stick close to your other team members – they will be the ones who support or rescue you if anything arises.
3. Other health risks
Besides accidents or injuries, psychological and neurological risks when climbing mountains are also worth mentioning.
The closest one you might experience would be fatigue. It sure doesn’t seem like a big deal, but on long trips, an exhausted body can lead to massive mistakes. The simple tip is, don’t overwork yourself.
Another well-known problem is altitude sickness. It’s a lack of oxygen to your brain when you climb to altitudes over 10,000 feet (3048 meters).
Altitude sickness can make you dizzy and even take away your critical thinking. To minimize its impact, move up the mountains slowly and carry bottled oxygen.
4. Damaged equipment
And although equipment is designed to support us, there’s a tiny possibility that things can go wrong. A protection rope getting loose or a carabiner snapping off can even cost a life.
The only way to deal with this problem is to use your gear for what it’s made to do, frequently check your equipment before any activities, and replace the damaged pieces right away.
Taking care of your gear at home is no less critical. You should clean and store every one of them properly in its place.
There’s a high chance you will travel somewhere outside your neighborhood for climbing.
A secluded place with pristine nature like that will indeed have some wild plants and animals you should pay close attention to. Grizzly bears or poison oak is no joke.
To better protect yourself, travel with a group where everyone knows the risks. Making human sounds like talking or singing will also notify the animals and keep them away from you.
With plants, however, a basic understanding of the common toxic ones in the area and how to identify them will be much more helpful.
Long story short, we’ve discussed many different benefits and dangers of mountaineering today.
I hope this discussion provides you with a new aspect of mountain climbing and motivates you to take on this exciting sport in the upcoming time.