Indeed, mountain sports and conversation about the risks are an essential part in the life of every beginner in mountaineering. Some people like mountain sports because of the solitude it brings, others love to feel the inflow of adrenaline in their bodies, the third category of people love to take a rest from the polluted urban areas and enjoy picturesque views, but no matter why you have chosen mountaineering as your hobby, you have to stick to specific pieces of advice in order to avoid the risks of such extreme sport.
So do we know everything about the risks of mountaineering? Perhaps not. A lot of people suppose that most injuries in the mountain sports are either serious, or such ones that lead to a death. In fact, this assumption is completely wrong; according to the Petzl Foundation, 59% of all climbing injuries are not serious.
Moreover, many people consider the biggest risks are objective, i.e. those that cannot be controlled or managed by humans (such as avalanches, falling rocks, etc.). According to statistics, only 3-4% of all the rescue operations happen due to so-called objective factors. Therefore, the risk to get seriously injured or put in a serious danger mostly depends on you. And after all, most of the people who died during mountaineering appear to be men (over 80%), according to the above-mentioned foundation.
Now let us consider the most serious risks and threats during mountaineering and how one can manage them. First of all, such a seemingly simple and minor matter as the weather: in the mountains, a bright and sunny day can turn into a windy and rainy one in seconds. What should you do? Take all the essential gear you may need in such case: headlamp or flashlight, compass, map, sunglasses, rain gear, waterproof matches, additional nutrition and water, a few layers of clothing, the First Aid Kit, and some gear for sleeping. Moreover, do not be lazy and check the weather forecast before heading to the mountains (not only the temperature, but also the speed of the wind, the risk of avalanches, etc.).
High elevation may be a problem for many people, and may be a cause of severe sunburn (do not forget to take the sunscreen!), mountain sicknesses (dizziness, headache), dehydration, or worsening of the existing diseases or medical conditions. You should drink at least a few liters of water per day. Remember, you must descend if you feel not well.
Another risk that may happen is lighting. Indeed, it depends on the whims of nature, but you are able to do some things in order to protect yourself from it. Go into the mountains in the early morning, so you will be able to find a shelter in the mountains in the day light in case if the storm strikes. You should avoid overhangs and tiny cave entrances when looking for a shelter. Also, get out from the tops, separated trees, and rocks.
In case if you will encounter some wildlife animals, keep in mind that it is dangerous to approach them. You must try to keep the distance. Prior to going to the mountains, get to know what to do if you have encountered a bear or lion. Be aware of the things going around you.
If in the area where your climbing takes place there are waterfalls, lakes, and streams, you must be aware: they can be quite deceptive. In winter, the ice on such reservoirs is thinner than it seems, and so you should not try to step on. Besides, do not drink the water without prior purifying, otherwise you risk getting giardiasis or other water diseases.
In addition to that, be careful with snow, ice fields, snow cornices, and steep slopes. The danger of snow avalanche is always high, and getting there may be extremely threatening to your life. As was advised previously, learn about the possibility of avalanches in that area prior to heading into the mountains.
After all, make sure you have dressed up well and warm enough and that your clothes are waterproof (over 5,000 mm). You must stay dry and warm in order to avoid hypothermia. It may significantly threaten your life.
Finally, stay smart, reasonable, and attentive. Do not attempt the heights that you are in doubt to overcome. Be realistic about your skills and possibilities, and good luck!