For summer

Summer is coming. This season is probably the time of the highest tourist activity. Everybody is coming to the mountains – those who have been climbing them for long years and also those who have graduated from universities or colleges and have decided to have an active rest with friends in the open air; school children headed by their teachers who have never seen mountains in their lives, and wealthy Ukrainian businessmen on their prestigious cars with families and children.

But mountains are mountains even in summer and they are hiding their potential danger. Especially this concerns high-altitude areas. This is why Ivano-Frankivsk search rescue team considers it to be of the great importance to warn those hot heads from their careless and premature attacks on the mountains.

Of course, you should go to the mountains. This is the great gift of God that we have the Carpathians in the territory of our country, but you should never play with the mountains and treat them with imprudence because they can grow angry with you and then making away with a couple of hot heads is as esay for them as winking.

It seems to be little danger in summer mountains, covered with forests, and on their friendly grass-covered slopes. Still, the insecurity exists. The high-altitude area located above the forest zone (1350-1500 meters above sea level) is the most dangerous. You risk to be trapped in the storm with the wind 40-45 meters/second; often mixed rain and snow (the Huzuls call this “sharga”). Thus, you can easily lose your way in conditions of poor visibility and go directly to the dangerous steep slopes.

Almost everywhere above the forest zone, long kilometers of Carpathian mountain pine tree territories are extended. Botanists call them “Muho pines”, Polish name for them is “kosodzhevina” and Huzuls call them “zherep”. The vastest zherep areas are on the territory of the Horhany Range. Mountain pine trees can exhaust an inexperienced tourist to death and hide his body in their labyrinth for many years. Stone fields are no less dangerous. In a rainy weather they become slippery and to break or sprain your leg having a heavy backpack on your shoulders is as easy as to lose direction in this kingdom of mossy stones.

Be especially careful in the season of steady rains. They are typical for the whole summer-autumn time. Streams and rivers flood so much that before the rain you can step over a tiny brook on your route, and on your way back you will see the mighty flow with stones in it and brown dirty water. To get across such stream is sometimes impossible.

So if you want to have only pleasant impressions of your trip, remember these 16 rules for the mountain tours:

  1. Don’t go to the mountains alone. This is very dangerous. Sometimes the chance to survive alone in the mountains is 50/50. This is the main rule that is ignored by young people who die in the Carpathians every year.

  2. Before going to the mountains with your friends, make sure that any of them have problems with blood pressure, heart deceases or diabetes. In any case you should have with you the first-aid kit with all necessary medicines.

  3. If you have never been in the mountains and can’t join the experienced tourists – use the services of the professional guide who will not only chose the most interesting tracks for you and will guide you safely, but also will tell you about everything that you will meet on your way.

  4. If you take children to the mountains, especially other parents’ children, remember about your responsibility for them to their parents, your conscience and God.

  5. Do not mix picnics, barbecues and alcohol drinking together with mountain climbing. It’s better to have picnics in some picturesque place close to the civilization. Mountain summits welcome only sober conquerors.

  6. Before going to the mountains, plan the start of your route on the lower altitude. Chose it in accordance with your experience and your tourist equipment. Do not try to climb every mountain and see everything at once. You have the whole life ahead of you.

  7. Spend some money to buy a compass and topographical maps with the scale 1:50 000 „Tourist tracks of Chornohora” and „Central Horhany”. If you don’t know where to buy them, write to me and I will send them to you by post.

  8. Before going on the route, make sure that you know the weather forecast for the nearest days to come.

  9. Move on tourist tracks; don’t ask for trouble of meeting a female bear in the depth of the forest, especially when she has bear cubs. Avoid meeting a wild boar. It is impossible to meet a wolf or a lynx in the mountains in summer. Do not try to go there where no foot has ever stepped. There is a risk to be caught into a trap left by a poacher.

  10. Never try to go through the zherep wilds without a distinctly visible track and do not deepen into them further than 5-10 meters.

  11. On the mountain tracks mind your step and look carefully at the ground, especially after the rain, in order not to step onto the tail of a viper. There are lots of vipers in the Carpathians even in high-altitude areas. Remember that the most dangerous species is so called red snake (Aesculapian snake). Black and grey ones are less poisonous.

  12. If the weather is becoming worse, go down and not up. If you feel the forthcoming of a storm, quickly go down the valley keeping away from the metal objects which often occur in the Carpathians.

  13. Don’t be tempted to ride on snow patches which often remain in Chornohora until the end of summer, don’t take photos of you on snow cornices and don’t go up the snow bridges which are usually formed below waterfalls.

  14. Don’t climb onto the rocks and stone blocks without a safety rope (mountains Shpytsi, Pysanyi Kamin, Smotrych, Vukhatyi Kamin, Dovbusha Rock etc.)

  15. Don’t settle for the night high in the mountains (on the summits and in the upper circuses), because in case of emergency it is difficult to go down.

  16. Note the telephone numbers of search rescue teams of the district in which you are going to travel, into your mobile phone menu. Write the home phones numbers of their commanders. In case of emergency even a late night call will not be uneasy.

The mountain rescue team wishes you interesting routes, light backpacks, nice weather and a good trip.

See you on the tourist routes of the Carpathians!