How To Survive In The Mountains

Mountains are one of the physiographic divisions of the world that provide great opportunities for outdoor recreational activities.

The climatic conditions and the rugged terrain of the mountains undoubtedly present a tough challenge for the survivalists.

Tips to survive in the mountains must be properly known to all the survivalists who are planning to go camping in the mountains.

Since the mountains are located at great heights, altitude sickness and breathing problems are common health problems among the survivalists.

However, your enthusiasm should not diminish by thinking about these health problems.

Application of the suitable survival products and knowledge of the apt survival skills are enough to aid a survivalist fight any hurdles that they may encounter.

Through this article, survivalists will learn the correct tricks to survive in the mountains.  

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1. Tips For How To Survive In The Mountains

There are some basic things you can do to better survive in the mountains. 

  • While going trekking, it is advisable to wear sunglasses (for protection of the eyes) and to build strong anchors. Before setting out for trekking, the survivalists must check the weather forecast. If there is a prediction of an avalanche in the forecast, they must cancel their plans for that day.
  • Intaking lots of water is the key to stay hydrated. If the survivalists do not do so, they may get dehydrated and fall sick. Besides, they must have proper knowledge of altitude sickness and its symptoms. It is very handy in case of emergencies. If the survivalists face breathing difficulty, they must not venture further and must return to their place of origin. 
  • Although hypothermia is a common occurrence, it is quite fatal and may lead to one’s death. Besides, carbon monoxide poisoning is also another cause of death among adventurers. Carving out a hole before sleeping in the shelters helps in venting out the toxic carbon monoxide.
  • If you have long hair, tieing them up before descending a rock face will not hinder your vision, and will not tangle with shrubs and bushes. 
  • It is important to walk slowly and carefully in the mountainous areas since the rocks are too slippery due to the moss and may lead to adverse consequences.

2. How To Survive In The Mountains With Nothing

Surviving in the mountains with nothing is absolutely possible if the survivalist manages to do certain basic things that are enumerated below. 

2.1 Starting a Fire

Fire provides the survivalists with the necessary warmth required in the cool mountainous areas. Staying close to a fire will prevent the occurrence of hypothermia and hence is very important.

Knowing how to light a fire is important because not only it is used to cook meals, it can be used to transmit signals for help as well. 

To start a fire, the easiest thing will be to arrange the tinder-materials and then burn them. Tinder implies inflammable substances, that is, dry leaves, pieces of wood, grass, and so on.

The other method that can be used is to create a fire pit and light the fire. Survivalists must carry lighter and matchsticks with them.

However, if that is not available, they can also use other tricks to light a fire, that is, by focusing the sun’s rays on lenses or by rubbing flint and steel to create a spark. 

Primitive Technology: 3 Ways to Make Fire

2.2 Building a Shelter

Building a shelter in the mountains is very necessary since staying warm is very important for one’s health.

Shelters can be made by using natural materials such as mud, leaves, tree branches, and moss. It helps in trapping the heat within the structure.

Branches, pieces of wood, or leaves can be used to make a bed. Don’t sleep directly on the ground because it leads to loss of body heat.

Using these natural materials to make a bed prevents the ground from absorbing one’s body heat, thus preventing hypothermia.

If snow is available, tree-pit snow shelters can be easily constructed. The first step will be to look for a tree having bushy branches and lots of leaves with a large canopy.

Dig out the snow around the tree, and then insulate the top and the inside of the dug-out hole with snow.

Bushy leaves and branches can be used to insulate the holes. It will also act as the roof.

How To Build A Mountain Hut Trail Shelter – DIY Survival Shelter

2.3 Foraging Food

Foraging food in the mountains is a bit difficult but not impossible. Food can be obtained by hunting animals such as rabbits and deer.

To hunt rabbits, survivalists must set hunting snares, or they can also search for the tracks of snowshoe hares or rabbits in the snow.

Hunting deer is relatively more difficult since they are not much found at such high altitudes. However, there is a high chance of spotting them near a source of water like a stream or a lake.

In mountainous areas, fishes are largely available from streams or creeks. Insects are not much available in such low temperatures, but one may find a few of them near the water bodies.

Certain fruits such as apples, raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries can be solely found in higher elevations, and if the survivalist is lucky enough, he/she can avail of these. 

25 Edible Plants, Fruits and Trees for Wilderness Survival

2.4 Sending Signal for Help

Don’t get nervous and panic if you get injured or get lost in the mountains. You must immediately build a shelter to keep yourself protected.

In the moments of crisis, they must keep their mind calm and send signals for help.

They may do so by signaling planes with a mirror and by putting bright-colored clothes or articles in such an area where someone who is in the helicopter or airplane may spot them.

Survivalists may also transmit fire signals as an indication of seeking help. 

How to Signal for Rescue

3. Products To Survive In The Mountains

While going trekking or camping in the mountains, it is necessary to carry certain important items that may be required in the journey.

The following list of important survival items describes each item with an attached link from where it can be purchased. 

3.1    Crampons

Crampons are especially worn by the mountaineers while trekking or ice-climbing.

These are toothed metal devices attached to the sole of the boots. They increase the friction and grip over snow while walking on the snow-covered areas. 

Ice Axe and Crampon Technical Skills – How to Climb a Mountain

3.2 Ice Axe

An ice axe is used by survivalists and mountaineers while ascending and descending the snowy hills. It helps in creating a stable anchor in ice or snow.

3.3 Portable Water Filter

In mountainous regions, water collected from streams and creeks should be properly filtered to avoid parasite or bacterial infestation.

LifeStraw Plastic Personal-Portable Water Purifier is an easy and light-weight solution in this regard.

3.4 Emergency Blanket

Emergency blankets are essential to keep oneself warm in low-temperature areas.

These are extremely beneficial in preventing hypothermia and insulates the survivalist by not allowing the heat to escape outside. These are also waterproof, so they will not get soaked in drizzle or snow around you.

4. Dealing With Mountain Dangers

Survivalists must be well aware of handing the various natural calamities or accidents that they may face while trekking or mountaineering.

A correct application of the survival skills has the power to bring anyone back from the mouth of death. 

4.1 Avalanche

The word ‘avalanche’ implies a mass of snow, ice, or rocks falling rapidly down a mountainside. Avalanches can be further classified into: 

  • Slab Avalanche- Handling a slab avalanche, which involves the sliding down of a slab of snow, is quite a dangerous situation. There are hardly any means to handle it.
  • Loose Snow Avalanche- This occurs when a small slab or small amount of snow while rolling accumulates into a big slab. 

Survivalists can save themselves from avalanches in the following ways:

  • If the adventurers can see an avalanche approaching, they must move to the side and away from the path of the moving snow slab.  
  • Another thing you can do is to grab either a tree, a large rock, or a boulder. Although these are of not much help, they can lessen the adverse consequences. 
  • Asphyxiation is a prime cause of death among the survivalists when an avalanche approaches. To avoid this, cup the hands over your mouth while moving. Expanding the chest to draw in more air can also help with this.
  • Lastly, survivalists should stay calm. No matter how dangerous the situation may seem, it is actually not so. Survivalists can keep themselves protected by following all the survival skills. 
How to Survive a Potentially Deadly Avalanche (Episode 7)

4.2 Altitude Sickness

Survivalists must not climb the hills too fast because it may lead to altitude sickness. It is advisable to descend the hills and then stop for camping or resting.

Sleeping at high altitude increases the probability of altitude sickness.

Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS); What Happens Up There 👆

4.3 Cracks and Crevices

Cracks and crevices are quite dangerous. Therefore, one must walk carefully. In mountainous areas, the rocky paths are fraught with deep cracks.

Avoid glacial travel unless you are accompanied by a person specially trained in crevasse rescue. 

4.4 Danger from Wild Animals

The animals in the mountainous areas are usually quite shy and elusive. However, if you encounter any bear or mountain lion in your path, you must act wisely.

Survivalists can carry a bear pepper spray to protect themselves from their attacks. Mountain lions usually prey upon children or any other thing that may seem easy prey to them.

The mountains in the north-western states are not much safe since the area has reported many incidents of attack on humans by wolves.

5. How To Survive In Mountains If You Get Lost

Carry all the necessities while going trekking or mountaineering so that even if you get lost, you can stay secure.

5.1 Maps and Compass

Maps and compasses help in finding your way out easily. You may also use certain other methods of determining the correct direction. 

One such method is finding the cobwebs. They are found only on the southern side of the trees. If you spot some of them, you’ll be able to determine the direction.

The sun’s position can also be used to figure out the correct direction. 

Survivalists can also try out another method, that is, to put a stick on the ground and then mark the end of the shadow on the ground.

When the shadow moves, mark the end of the new position of the shadow. The direction that you will usually get is east to west. 

5.2 Essential Items

Before setting out for the destination, the survivalists must ensure that they have packed all the essential items in their bags.

Water purifiers, compasses, medical kits, emergency blankets, cell phone (will be valid if a good network persists), lighters, and packets of foods are mandatory.

Even if you get lost and separated from the group, you can stay safe and gradually can make your way out. 

5.3 Staying Calm

Getting nervous and panicking is never a solution to any problem and worsens the situation. One must keep their mind cool and do what is required in that particular situation.

If you are equipped with all the basic survival items, there is nothing to worry about. Try to find the way out calmly with the aid of compasses and maps. 

6. Types of Camping in the Mountains

6.1 Snow Cave

Snow caves can be constructed by digging up the snow with a shovel. Staying inside a snow cave helps one to stay warm and safe. 

6.2 Bivy

A sleeping bag is a basic necessity. It gives you comfort if you get stuck in a trench or a place fraught with rocks. 

6.3 Tent

A tent can be easily set up and ensure safety in the hostile environment of the mountains.


Mountains offer a beautiful scenic view to the mountaineers. They also pose quite a large number of threats such as an avalanche or landslides or attacks from animals living in the wild and so on.

The correct application of survival skills is enough to shield oneself from any perils. Finding food in such hostile environments may be quite challenging.

That is why carting dry foods are necessary. Proper survival items must be packed in the travel bags to get oneself out of any perilous situation.

Receive training from a mountain traversing expert, if you can. It will help you prepare when you decide to set out for your own adventure. 


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