The emergency number in Europe is 112.
When possible, go trekking or climbing with the help of a guide
and, in the high mountains, an International Mountain Leader (IML).
Walking vacations are times for being unabashedly boy scout or girl guide, and be prepared
with maps, compass, rain gear, pocketknife, matches and a whistle. You can buy mini emergency kits on eBay for a tenner.
Write down local emergency numbers before you set out
, including mountain rescue, if relevant. And always tell someone where you are going. Make sure your mobile phone is charged too.
In high mountain areas, be wary of avalanches as late as May. You may not see snow, but it can travel swiftly from above when the heat rises.
are not uncommon in Europe, and often hikers are unprepared. In short, get below the treeline and stay away from summits or isolated trees. And don’t use your mobile phone.
If you are on a self-guided walking vacation, always check get a detailed weather forecast
before you set out and if you are in the mountains, turn back if the weather turns bad. Or take shelter if in doubt. The World Meteorological Organisation
It is hard to imagine, but hikers do die of heat exposure in Europe
, especially in the height of summer in countries like Spain, Italy or Greece. Many hiking companies don’t run trips during July and August for this reason. If you are hiking in the height of summer, set out early, cover up and drink lots. Bring rehydration powders with you too. And don’t walk during the middle of the day.
If you are hiking in the Mont Blanc area
, the Office de Haute Montagne
in Chamonix is an invaluable source of information on conditions, weather, current risks and issues and generally how to stay safe in the mountains.
In France, if you see signs saying ‘chasseurs’, or chasse gardee’, turn back
. It means it is a hunting area.