Safety on the mountain
Hiking Rules & Trail Marking
Here you find ten basic mountain rules for your safety. Make sure that your next holiday in the fantastic Ötztal mountains will be successful.
These 10 international Hiking & Mountaineering Rules established by VAVÖ (Austrian Association of Alpine Clubs) and UIAA (Union Internationale des Associations d'Alpinisme).
1. Physical shape
Check your physical condition before you start a hike and choose an appropriate tour according to your experience and the shape of your hiking companions.
2. Tour Planning
It's absolutely necessary to accurately plan a hiking tour in Alpine terrain. Not only the length and the distance but also the difference in altitude is important.
Appropriate hiking and mountaineering equipment is a must. Hiking clothes, non-slip hiking boots, raingear and protection against cold are absolutely required. Don't forget to take a first aid box and enough food and drink (also for emergencies) with you.
You should always be informed about the weather conditions and check the latest weather and avalanche reports for high Alpine regions. Additionally, you should trust in local weather forecasts and snow reports referring to the hiking area you have chosen.
5. Inform someone
Choose the mountain tour according to the season and the length of the day. Inform someone (for example your host) about the tour, the exact route and when you plan to be back.
6. Best hiking time
Start your hike as early as possible so that you return early and don't get caught by darkness.
7. Hiking companions
Never hike alone. Always check the fitness of your hiking companions first, then choose a mountain tour according to the physical shape of the weakest hiker.
The right walking speed is of utmost importance for all hikers, depending on your own stamina and the physical fitness of your companions. A walking pace which is too fast causes overexertion.
9. Hiking Trails
Never leave the signposted walking routes and hiking trails. Especially in snow-covered glacier areas and on via ferratas a chest and sit harness, secured by a rope, are absolutely required.
Respect nature in high Alpine regions and don't leave garbage in the mountains. Please help us to keep the mountains tidy!
Trail markers in Tirol
To assess the difficulty of the different routes and to ensure a better orientation for hikers, all trails within the province of Tirol are marked in a standardized way.
For less experienced mountaineers we recommend a hiking guide for high Alpine tours and glacier crossings (attention: crevasses). Glacier crossings are only possible in a group and with a rope. Before starting your hiking or mountaineering tour you should let your host know your hiking destination and the time you expect to be back. Walk slowly, make regular breaks and drink a lot.
Walking trails can be found down in the valley bottom, close to settlements and through wooded areas. No special mountain experience is required. Hiking equipment is not necessary.
Mountain trails are located above the timberline in most cases. Basic Alpine experience is required. Depending on the difficulty level, we distinguish two different trail markers: red mountain trails and black mountain trails.
Red mountain trails
Red hiking trails are of intermediate difficulty! They are marked, mostly narrow, often steep and partly exposed. In bad weather experience is absolutely required! Some trails feature short and protected climbing passages – passages, where you need to use your hands to conquer them. These trails should only be walked on by sure-footed hikers, who are in a good physical shape. Adequate mountaineering equipment is required.
Black Mountain trails
Black hiking trails are difficult trails! They are marked, narrow, steep or very steep, often exposed and can be dangerous especially in bad weather. These trails may feature longer, protected climbing passages and can only be conquered by absolutely sure-footed and experienced mountaineers, who are in a good physical shape and have a good head for heights. Adequate mountaineering equipment is absolutely required.
Alpine routes are very difficult routes, because it is high Alpine terrain and it has partly unmarked and exposed tracks. Further you will find unsecured walking and climbing sections. Therefore you should have a head for heights and a good stamina is required, also it‘s important to have absolute sure-footedness. It would be the best if you have an appropriate mountain equipment and an excellent sense of direction.