Every year, the Ötztal valley draws in hikers and mountain climbers who come to enjoy the high elevation trails. There are varying degrees of difficulty and elevation depending on which trail you decide to take; however, many have an increase in elevation from 470-2560 meters. One thing you may notice when you look at the trail guide on www.obergurgl.com is that the length of the trip and the altitude are always included in the trail information. This is because there are certain factors that must be considered when hiking in high altitude because there is a decreased oxygen supply which causes the body to work less efficiently. Should you decide to take on one of these trails please read on for our tips on how to prepare yourself.
- Physical prep
Prepare yourself physically by getting cardiovascular exercise for at least 30 minutes 4-5 days per week. We recommend a combination of biking, running and stair climbing to prepare your body for the varying terrain.
2. Slow down
As you gain altitude your breathing becomes more difficult due to the decrease in oxygen. Reduce your pace as you gain elevation, this will keep your body from overexerting. Match every step with one breath.
3. Don’t forget your supplies
Do your research and make sure you bring the proper supplies with you. Some items we recommend are: sunscreen, lots of water, extra clothes, snacks, insect repellant, maps, a compass and a tent if you are going to be camping overnight.
4. Dress appropriately
There is nothing worse than hiking difficult terrain in less than ideal attire. Wear hiking boots, a hat, layered clothing and sunglasses. Be prepared for temperature fluctuations and bring a windbreaker and some warmer clothes for the cold.
Allow yourself to move slowly and stop for rest periods to acclimatise your body to the higher elevation. This means you will need to plan for the hike to take longer than it is advertised in the trail guide!
For a full listing of all the high elevation trails, including altitudes and duration, click here: http://www.obergurgl.com/hiking-walking-tour-tip-height-tour.
Happy hiking from the Chalet at 11º East!