You step out into the open and feel the fresh mountain air on your face. You are looking forward to a day or few days of solitude or mountain town life.
You’re excited to hear the chirping of marmots, the cracking of glaciers or the sound of your boots on the trail and 360 degree panoramic alpine views.
This is surely is what we all search for?
Unfortunately there are things that people do that ruin our connection in the mountains.
– Music –
Picture this: turquoise blue alpine lakes, 360 panoramic mountain views and a picturesque traverse between two mountains…
Then, BOOM BOOM BOOM. Someone walks past with music blasting from a loud speaker in their backpack (or shit sound quality from their phone).
Annoying isn’t it?
Most people get into the mountains to experience the sounds, views and smell of nature. If you’re playing music out loud, then you’re not enabling others to experience nature.
I usually only experience this on day hikes. Thankfully the people you see on a multi day tour are more experienced and after the raw experience; subsequently no music.
– Ill Equipped & Complaining –
I recently saw someone on Germany’s highest peak, Zugspitze wearing flip flops. And we have all seen that 1 person trying to climb some of the UK’s highest peaks in flip flops and carrying a plastic bag from their favourite supermarket.
Sometimes they even start to complain that their feet or arms (or both) are hurting.
This just shows how inexperienced these people are. And ultimately, those people then waste time and resources of other people, for example, if their feet are so bad that they can’t walk anymore. Or if the weather changes and they have no waterproofs, because all they could fit in their supermarket bag were some snacks.
Or worst case, they have to use mountain rescue assistance.
– Rubbish –
This is perhaps one of the most hated things of all mountaineers.
When you’re out to experience the landscape and then you spot a red bull can or a plastic bottle and chocolate wrapper.
The worst I experienced was in Indonesia, there was litter everywhere. In the towns and on the mountains. However, the difference is that outside the city and in the rural areas, there is no rubbish system like we have in Europe. So if they carry their noodle pots down from the mountain, it will end up in the street. It really is a lose lose situation.
In may parts of the world there are rubbish systems; therefore, if you can carry it up, take it down, you absolute scruff bag!
– Drones –
Ok I am torn on the drone topic, because drones can capture amazing footage and they can also be used to track people and save lives; like in this story where a Scottish climber fell 30m on Pakistan’s Broad Peak.
A drone was used to track his coordinates which was then relayed to the rescue team.
On the contrary, drones are noisy, can scare wildlife and disturb the raw experience of nature. When I was hiking around the Drei Zinnen, people had their drones out and it sounded like a giant wasp flying over my head. It was quite tranquil until this point.
The main message is, if you are going to use a drone, try to use it where there are no other people or animals. If there are people, check that those around you are happy for you to use it. Emergencies are a no brainer.
– Bragging About Your Skills –
Have you ever heard someone continuously talking about how hardcore they are and what routes they’ve skiied or climbed?
I had self catering in Zell am Se, but then decided to treat myself to food in a nice restaurant. There were 2 couples sat half way across the restaurant from me and they’d just met each other.
Both couples were talking LOUDLY about what ski routes they did and their children. Here is a snippit:
“well my children go to the international school in Madrid”
“oh I did that black route on Schmittenhöhe that leads to the valley. It was super steep, but I managed”
“oh well I did the black Mamba on Kitzsteinhorn”
All the while my wife & I are sitting thinking “we just spent the day off piste, skiing where there was no one else, but we aren’t bragging”.
Everyone I have met in Bavaria and Austria don’t even talk about how steep their routes are (unless it is about avalanche risk). It is a given that they can ski what ever and don’t need to talk about it. In the alps skiing off piste down a 40 degree slope is not a big deal; it’s normal.
Most famous mountaineers seem to talk about their achievements in a humble manor.
Elitist bragging behaviour doesn’t impress anyone who lives in the central European alps. Get over yourselves.
The mountains and nature in general can be a great way to connect with the raw elements of life and switch off.
If you’re reading this and do these things, please give consideration to those around you.