Given the choice between climbing a mountain to swimming in the seas, which would you choose?
Before I would always choose the beach. I would rather swim in crystal blue waters than scale a mountain. The altitude had always intimidated me. That all changed 3 years ago when a mountaineer friend finally convinced me to try overcoming my mountain of fear.
It’s the Climb…
To make the long story short, I survived my first trek. But it also made me realize a lot of things. I still loved the beach more than mountains. Surprisingly, I found myself agreeing that I wouldn’t mind climbing another mountain, maybe in the next year or so. One climb a year is already good enough for me.
Now the first trek is the hardest especially if you have ZERO background on how to go about it. It’s worse if you rarely have physical activities and are out of shape. I’m sharing some of the things I learned while conquering my first mountain.
5 Things That Will Help You Survive Your First Trek
Water is the most basic thing you’ll need. You’ll sweat buckets when you climb, more so under the intense heat of the sun. How many liters of water should you bring? At least a liter of water for a short trek and 2 liters for a longer one.
Aside from water, it helps if you have a sports drink like gatorade or pocari sweat to help replenish electrolytes you’ve lost when sweating profusely. If you’re starting super early, coffee is a great booster and get you started for the day.
Skin cancer is real. It’s the number one reason why you should wear suncreen when staying under the sun for long periods. I know some people would probably be lazy in putting on sunblock but prevention is always better than cure. Better safe than sorry.
If you want to get away with not applying sunscreen, you can bring a cap, wear long sleeves and leggings to make sure your whole body is covered. You can apply the bare minimum of sunblock on your face so you’ll have protection when you get tired of wearing a cap.
On my first ever trek, I actually forgot a cap so had to make do with a scarf, which was really flimsy and not enough protection from the sun.
3. Trail Food
Before I conquered my first mountain, I had always assumed that trail food is just an assortment of nuts, dried fruits like raisins and crisps. It’s what I often see in the grocery and thought that it’s the only kind you can bring when trekking.
It turns out trail food can be anything as long as it’s edible and can give you energy when you’re feeling tired from the climb. I’ve since made my own trail food mix when climbing Sirao peak. My trail food consisted of crackers, m&ms and a small snicker bar. I’ve also packed the same for my fellow day trekkers, Angel and Ram.
If you’re planning to go on a longer trek, it’s probably best that you also bring a packed lunch instead of just a trail mix assortment. My friends and I bought lunch after eating breakfast at the public market in Dalaguete before heading to Osmena peak.
4. Cardio Exercises
My friend Kyjean told me it would be a good idea to jog a little before O Peak. Well I wasn’t able to follow this advice and only managed to jog once before the planned trek. If I had jogged a little more, I would have been able to build a little bit more stamina for the climb.
Another reason why you should run or jog is because there will be trail running involved when going down the mountain. In some instances, you’ll want to run so you can get to the shade quicker when the sun is too hot.
One of the reasons why I agreed to climb ‘O Peak’ is because I had 3 other friends who haven’t gone climbing there. Most of us were beginners and this shared experience gave us the courage to go forth and conquer our first mountain together.
You will need experienced mountaineer friends to push you to keep going when the going gets tough. Rest when your friends catch their breath and keep climbing when they do. It might take awhile to finish but when you do, you’ll feel tired yet jubilant that you have overcome the mountain climbing challenge.
Have you ever scaled a mountain? What other things helped you to set aside your fear and just do the climb? We’d love to hear about it in the comments section.