The right behavior on the mountain during thunderstorms

Off to the mountains! Not only a sought-after vacation destination at any time of year but also for day trips it lures us again and again into the high altitudes. But when a thunderstorm is approaching, there are a few things to keep in mind. We have summarized the most important tips and rules of conduct.

Thunderstorm in the mountains

We can’t imagine anything better than simply leaving everyday life behind us in the valley, enjoying nature, and getting the body going on a relaxing mountain tour.

Whether it’s a weekend trip to Carinthia’s most beautiful hiking areas, such as the hiking paradise Katschberg, or rather further away for a sports vacation to South Tyrol with a detour to Italy – hiking areas are a dime a dozen in Austria!

Unfortunately, the weather often throws a spanner in the works – the whole week the anticipation of the planned hike is great and on the day of the excursion the sun hides behind a thick wall of clouds.

On the one hand, this is not so bad, as the clouds protect us from hot temperatures, but this change in the weather should be treated with caution! Because if a storm comes up, it can quickly become uncomfortable in the mountains. Therefore, good preparation is the be-all and end-all for any hike.

Forewarned is forearmed

The backpacks are packed, the snacks are spread and the hiking boots are already ready at the door. Because the early bird gets the worm. In order not to be surprised by a thunderstorm, hikers should always obtain the latest weather information before setting off. Because the disappointment and danger are all the greater if the weather does not cooperate.

Even if the sun is shining, the sky is cloudless, and perfect weather conditions prevail, caution must be exercised. Because a heat storm has already surprised one or the other hiker on hot summer days. Basically, it is recommended to schedule the mountain tour for the morning and the forenoon on summer days. The risk of thunderstorms tends to be higher in the afternoon and evening. We also recommend all passionate hikers and nature lovers always keep an eye on cloud development. This way you will know in time when a storm is coming and when it is the right time to go back.

Surprised by a thunderstorm – what now?

Even experienced hikers can get caught in a thunderstorm on the mountain despite careful planning and preparation. Then it is important to seek shelter quickly. The following tips will show you how to behave correctly in this situation:

Do’s during thunderstorms in the mountains
  • Shelter from lightning in huts and houses with lightning rods
  • You can find shelter from lightning in a dense forest or in a hollow.
  • Once you have found a safe place, assume a crouching position and press your legs tightly together.
Don’ts during thunderstorms in the mountains
  • Avoid groups of trees, tall and solitary trees. It is better to stay away from unprotected lookout towers.
  • Caution is also advised with caves and overhangs. These are often used as ideal sheltering places but are not recommended, especially if they are very small, low, or even damp.
  • Thus, water-bearing gullies or other standing water should also be abandoned.
  • Larger groups that are on a mountain tour together are advised to split up and stay as far away from each other as possible.

Recognizing the danger of a lightning strike

In addition to proper protection, it is also central to recognize a lightning strike at an early stage. An immediate lightning strike is noticeable by sudden tingling on the scalp and bristling hair. Other signs are buzzing metal objects or quiet crackling in the air. Often there is also a bluish glow on metal objects such as summit crosses, but it is advisable to avoid these.

When the mountain tour falls through

Even if the anticipation of nature and sporting compensation is still so great, hikes should rather be skipped in bad weather or thunderstorm danger. After all, you don’t have to put your luck to the test.

Since the weather in the mountains is often very unstable, we always advise you to have a bad weather program up to your sleeve. How about a relaxing balance in the ACQUAPURA SPA? If you are a sporty type and want to be a bit more active, there are many other excursion tips besides the hiking paradise on the Katschberg, which will put you in a good mood even on rainy days! Also in South Tyrol, you can easily find a remedy with our activity program if hiking should fall into the water.

Hiking in the mountains is a popular sport and leisure activity, but it is also fraught with danger. Don’t forget safety first! Therefore, plan a mountain tour well and keep the weather forecast in mind. However, potential thunderstorms should not take away the pleasure of hiking. Therefore, keep our tips in mind and be aware of how to best proceed in the event of a thunderstorm. If you are well informed and prepared, you are already on the safe side.