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The best time to trek a long-distance hiking trail depends on where it is. In the mountains, you can easily build your routine around the opening times of the Alpine huts. Depending on the altitude, these are often only open for a few months a year due to the snow. Naturally, it’s always a little cooler at the beginning and end of the season, and while this might be a reason not to go for some, the reduced crowds make it a dream for others. In this regard, it depends on how important solitude and warm temperatures are to you. If your long-distance hiking trail is situated in a warmer climate, the season is automatically extended. As ever, for a good idea on the best times to go, check with your accommodation.
Just like a hearty breakfast, checking the weather forecast is an important part of your daily mountain morning routine. Often you will experience extreme heat, snow and thunder in the same day. When packing, check the weather and take equipment for every possible condition. During your trip, hut keepers are the most reliable source of information, as well as the alpine club website. When in doubt, asking people you meet on the trail can be helpful, too.
Rough terrain, narrow and steep paths, falling rocks – all are risks when traversing the Alps. Thorough preparation, suitable equipment and an honest evaluation of one’s skills are key to staying safe. If you don’t have any experience in alpine environments, it's best to bring someone who does.
Whether you are on a popular trail or off the beaten path, make sure to show respect toward other people and the environment. Beware of other people around – below steep slopes there can always be other trails, so don't kick down any rocks. Always leave a place as you found it and show responsibility towards your companions, people you meet and the environment.
Research and bring with you the phone number of the local mountain rescue. Make sure you aways have some battery left on your mobile device and be cognisant of where you are at all times so you can accurately communicate your location in case of an emergency.