Are you able to participate in a mountain trek?
How can you understand whether your physical fitness allows you to tackle a walk of several consecutive days?
If we want to participate in a trek and particularly in the mountains, such as the ones we organize, we must be able to sustain the commitment required.
The treks we organize usually last 2 to 5 days, but they can last as long as a dozen days if we are talking about other areas, such as South America or Nepal for example.
Walking for a day and then having time to rest a few more days with perhaps some residual leg pain, is not the same as facing as tired even the next day of walking and so on.
So we need to prepare ourselves so that we do not then find ourselves in trouble by turning a nice vacation into physical suffering from unexpected over-exertion.
Let us first say that these directions are broad and depend mainly on the number of walking days, the length, type and difficulty of the route, and personal training.
The basis of it all is personal training!
If we are not used to doing an activity, it is not impossible to do it, but it is necessary to prepare properly.
Everyone should test themselves and figure out with a good analysis what level they are at physically compared to what is required by the route.
It is not necessarily the case that everyone is capable of achieving any goal, but goals far beyond expectations can often be achieved with a little dedication and commitment.
So, if you are planning to participate in a multi-day Trek, perhaps next summer, now is the time to start walking!
You could start with daily hikes and figure out if you might be able to do the same route again the next day, or if you struggle down stairs and need more recovery.
We repeat the operation (i.e., hiking) for several weeks consecutively and perhaps raising the level of commitment.
Most likely, after a few weeks of this type of training, the pains in the legs, which are caused almost exclusively by descents, will disappear, and our perception of fatigue will also gradually diminish.
We then try to really accomplish a couple of days of hiking consecutively and see how our physique responds.
From a physical point of view, a good training method for those with little time is to raise the intensity. What does it mean? That we need to increase the heart rate in the activity we are doing whether it is running, walking, biking or another activity we normally do at a milder level. Simplifying a lot, we can say that we increase the intensity for a shorter time.
To give an example if we are able to do 600 meters of elevation gain at a brisk pace, then we would not be afraid to do even 1,000 meters, but at a much milder pace that is that of a trek.
Since becoming a Medium Mountain Guide, I have personally experienced the fascination of organizing multi-day hikes, especially in the Dolomites. These are highly man-made areas, so on most hiking trails you will encounter shelters or shelter posts a few hours’ walk between places.
This does not mean that we can haphazardly plan travel times and routes thinking that we will always find a shelter along the way!
We can think, however, as we move into the Dolomites, or similarly hut-rich areas, of planning our long itinerary, taking advantage of the huts for eating and sleeping.
In this way, which is more convenient and comfortable than total autonomy, we first of all save a lot of weight to carry on our shoulders and enjoy more comfort.
A typical trek from hut to hut thus involves a daily walk of several hours, even all day, then resting, dining, sleeping and waking up with a hearty breakfast, at the chosen hut along our route.
Usually mountain lodges house guests in multi-person dorms and thus require a minimum of adaptability.
Nowadays, there are many shelters that offer a good degree of comfort in all aspects, from rich cuisine to sanitary facilities to the quality of beds. However, we must keep in mind that we are talking about high mountain environments, with difficulties in supplying supplies, often with shortages of water except that transported from the valley, and therefore not all can offer shower facilities, for example, or other amenities considered standard for a lowland facility.
What to carry in your backpack for a multi-day mountain trek?
Does it necessarily have to contain our entire wardrobe? Absolutely not!
We must minimize weight by carrying as much as necessary. What does it mean?
We cannot think of every possible eventuality; we have to make the best assessment of what is absolutely necessary and what is not.
To make this choice we need to understand how many days our trek will last, the type of route, our athletic abilities, and the weather we will find.
The weather in the mountains can change often and quickly so some of the clothing must take this into account, in any case, even with fairly good weather forecasts.
Our training is also crucial; the faster and more trained we are, the sooner and more easily we will be able to reach a place of shelter or withstand difficult conditions.
For the type of itinerary for example, we have to take into account that if during our daily route there will be no opportunity to get water, we should therefore leave with a larger supply, and this assessment is absolutely crucial.
Basic things absolutely not to forget: rain jacket, thermal shirt, something to
eating and drinking.
I would stop here, because if I wanted to, everything else could be superfluous, or not as necessary as this survival kit. In fact, to be really ready for a trek, my advice is to also pack an underwear change, socks, a long pant, a shirt, a first aid kit and a sleeping bag for sleeping in shelters in your backpack.
All this always without exaggeration! Excessive weight on the shoulder fatigues us first, impairs balance and agility.
Beyond the undoubted physical and mental benefits of walking, at a sustainable pace, in the midst of nature, for me trekking is also an important moment from the human point of view. The encounters we have with fellow hikers or with other hikers we meet in the evenings at the refuges have a character of naivete and simplicity that absolutely must be experienced at least once in a lifetime!
It has been my experience that during the trek the individual ends up being himself, abandons the role he normally has in life and thus also has the opportunity to establish much deeper human relationships. That is why within my offerings at the mountain hiking level, I so often propose treks!
So what are you waiting for! My advice for first experiences with any new venture is to turn to those who have made a passion their profession: Alpine Guides or Medium Mountain Leaders (like us at Dolomiti Beat!)., for example, who will also know how best to organize and advise you on clothing and backpacking.
All we have to do is leave! You’ll see that then-you won’t stop!
If you feel like experiencing… take a look at the
program of our multi-day treks!
And if you feel like delving into backpacking, in this short video I explain how to pack your backpack for a couple of days of hiking!
Happy viewing and happy outings!