Unlike plains and plateaus, mountain has not been an ideal living place for human beings. With the increasing altitude, the temperature steadily drops, breathing oxygen is scarce, food, water and shelter facilities are not available. The effect of UV rays is high as we move higher and higher. A normal human being cannot spend more than a few hours as he or she will develop ‘hypoxia’ i.e. acute mountain sickness because of lack of oxygen in the blood.
Try mountaineering on hard snow clad or Ice Mountains. For this you will need ‘crampons’, a 10 to 12 point spikes which are fastened to the boots for grip on the snow. The will get a good footage as it pierces the snow for a strong hold and keeps the trekker in place without sliding. Markets offer crampons made of light weight aluminum to walk on glaciers to heavy steel ones meant for climbing vertical rocks and hanging ice. Snow shoes are available for walking through deep snow. Skiing is also another technique of ascending and descending mountains.
Glaciers are the most dangerous thing trekkers come across. One has to be fastened by a network of ropes to avoid sliding down as cracks in the glaciers are seldom visible but gives in easily. It is best to remain in a team while on glaciers.
When all set to try mountaineering he or she should know the hazards that are involved and they include
•Falling rocks – Due to erosion the disintegrating process is on. Rock fall depend on climatic conditions mostly, one should not try mountaineering if there is a perpetual fall of rocks in a section.
•Falling Ice – Afternoon temperature melt the glaciers and chances of falling ice are at the highest then. It is best to avoid hanging glaciers overhead.
•Fall from Rocks – It is important to assess the firmness of the mountain rocks before climb. Loose rocks cannot bear heavy weight and will lead to fall.
•Avalanche- The most unpredictable form of hazard is an avalanche. This is often no estimated correctly.
•Ice Slopes - This is found mostly in tropical mountains.
•Snow slopes – Snow slopes are hard and safe in mornings but towards the afternoon they become soft and often very dangerous.
•Crevasse – These are slits in the glacier beds which are open many a time. Care and proper judgment should be taken while crossing over it.
•Weather – This is the most important factor. One should watch out for thunderstorms and whiteouts.
The basic forms of shelter while on mountain climbing are
* Mountain huts – well stocked huts.
* Bivy- This is a simple sleeping bag or sack used mostly in emergencies.
* Tent- The most common shelter for mountain climbers.
* Snow caves- unlike tents this is a far more a warm shelter.
For sure we know for now, that to try mountaineering is not an easy task and need expertise, training, great physical and strength and ability. Not to forget, first timers need to gather some experience in small local hill and mountain and as such need to be experienced and also have some experienced mountaineers accompany them.