Just like you study for an exam, before any hike or expedition, you need to be well prepared for it. This includes being well aware of all the risks and taking sufficient measures to protect yourself from them. The best way that you can prepare yourself for anything is to get knowledge about it, and for mountain climbing; training and first aid courses, in my opinion, are a must to know the basic care routines in case of any injury or emergency.
When you are up in the mountains, whether you are traveling solo, hiking with a group, or acting as a mountain leader, you need to be aware of the dangers of your situation accurately to put your best foot forward. You need to understand that most of your safety is the beautiful hands of nature, and while you may be sufficiently prepared to hike/climb, there can be unexpected problems along the way, like rockfalls, dehydration, and exhaustion.
A first aid training course, especially Wilderness First Aid, is essential for treating yourself or your group members when there is no emergency help available within 1 hour or more from where you are. While a first aid course is a good investment for anyone, it becomes especially important in adventure sports and mountain climbing. Here are some of the essentials that you should know in your first aid skill set:
- Treating wounds: cleaning, sanitizing, bandaging
- Dealing with dehydration and weakness
- CPR, emergency resuscitation
- Recognizing fractures and splints and managing them to avoid further damage
- How to stop bleeding
- Dealing with shock, in case of excess bleeding
In addition to this, it is a good idea to be aware of your nearest hospitals, coastguards, and ER centers, Search and Rescue and have a list of their contact information in case you need them in an emergency. The Search and Rescue in the UAE is 800 823727.
Getting certified in first aid from a recognized institute is required for most mountain training courses and certificates, but should also be considered a priority for the solo adventurers. I did my course in Dubai with Caduceus Medical First Aid Training Centre: http://www.dubaifirstaid.com/contact.html
Mountain training courses
Mountaineering is not just a sport; it requires skills, knowledge, and good judgment to be attempted safely. You need to be aware of your weather conditions, have the proper equipment with you, be well-prepared with fundamentals items like food, medicine, and water, and have good physical stamina built it through practice.
I have been going outdoors for a long while now, but I still exercise and train for many weeks before attempting any new challenge. Along with this, there are various skills that a good hiker must have, like checking the weather, navigating your way, understanding your surroundings, watching out for others, building fires and safe accommodation for yourself, among many more others.
Mountain training courses provide all these skills through experienced instructors to get you ready for your mountain adventures. Early on, I saw the importance of taking responsibility for myself while outdoors and signed up for a course in the UK called the Mountain Leader Training Course, which was for 6 days.
However, if you plan to guide people professionally, the Mountain Leader Award would be the next step. Keep in mind though, no official body exists yet in the United Arab Emirates that asks for such qualification, but whoever knows the mountaineering industry would greatly appreciate knowing that you have this.
The course focuses on how to lead groups through different expeditions and mountain hikes, reading and understanding weather reports, to practical sessions with navigation and group leadership. If you wish to train as a mountain leader too, here is what you can do:
- Set up an account for Mountain Training:
- You will need to maintain your DLOG, which journals your mountain walking experience and adventures. You will need at least 20 days on your DLOG before you can register or book courses.
- Register for the Mountain Leader scheme, which costs around £49.
- Book your course after you have completed 20 days in your DLOG, through the following website: https://www.pyb.co.uk/course/mountain-leader-training-summer/
Having the right knowledge about your adventure is just as important as having the right gear. I hope you benefit from these courses and make your experiences remarkable.
Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.