The 10 mountain hiking rules from the German Alpine Club (DAV)

1. Keeping healthy in the mountains

Hiking in the mountains is an endurance sport. The strain on your heart and circulation needs a healthy body and a realistic self-evaluation. Avoid having to rush and choose your pace so that no-one in the group is out of breath.

2. Careful planning

Hiking maps, guide books, internet and experts can give you information about the length, difference in altitude, difficulty and the current weather conditions. Always plan tours based on the group! Pay particular attention to the weather reports / forecasts, as rain, wind and cold can increase the risk of an accident.

3. Complete equipment

Choose your equipment for your tour carefully and ensure you pack your rucksack as lightly as possible. Rain gear, warm clothes and sun protection should always be in your rucksack, as well as the first-aid kit and mobile phone (Euro emergency number 112). Maps or GPS devices will help you to find your way.

4. Suitable footwear

Good hiking boots protect and save your feet and improve your surefootedness! When you buy them look for a good fit, non-slip soles with good tread, waterproof and lightweight.

5. Surefootedness is the key

Falls as a result of slipping or stumbling are the most common cause of accidents. Note that too fast a pace or tiredness can have a serious effect on your surefootedness and concentration. Beware of rock falls: by watching where you tread you can avoid dislodging stones.

6. Stay on the marked paths

In difficult terrain the risk of losing your orientation, falls and rock falls increases. Avoid shortcuts and always go back to the last known-point if you should lose your path. Very dangerous and often underestimated are: steep old snow fields!

7. Regular breaks

Taking a breather at the right time gives you a chance to enjoy the countryside and the company. Don't forget to eat and drink to keep your performance and concentration. Isotonic drinks are ideal for quenching your thirst. Muesli bars, dried fruits and biscuits help keep the hunger at bay on the move.

8. Be responsible for children

Note that variety and discovering by playing are important for children! In passages where there is a risk of falling only one parent should look after one child. Very exposed tours which require long periods of concentration are not suitable for children.

9. Small groups

Small groups enable you to be flexible and look after each other. Inform close relatives / family about your destination, route and expected time of return. Stay together in a group. Beware: solo hikers: even small incidents can lead to dangerous emergencies.

10. Respect nature and the environment

To protect the mountain environment: don't leave any litter behind, avoid noise, stay on the paths, don't disturb wild and grazing animals, leave plants alone and respect protected areas. Use public transport or car-sharing to get there.