What to do if you get lost on a hike

hiking safety

Hiking is a popular pastime, especially in mountainous South Africa. Capetonians enjoy a good hike up Elephants Eye, or Lion’s head, and the view from the Table Mountain trail is very popular with locals and tourists.

But amidst the adrenalin rush and breath-taking beauty of the many scenic routes in SA, there are also many dangers that come with hiking, of which a common one is getting lost.

Getting lost on a hike is easier than you think.

Whether the weather gets foggy, or you just lose your way, if you and your team realise that you are lost, there are ways to find your way back to civilisation.

Don’t get lost

The Clymb suggests not getting lost in the first place. This is easy, with a few important preparations before you even embark on your journey.

The easiest thing to do is not to get lost in the first place. Do this by educating yourself and doing research on the hike you are about to undertake. Study a map, have a compass (and know how to use it) and, if available, have a charged GPS receiver. You’ve heard it before, but we’ll say it again: don’t rely on your cellphone! If you’re getting your directions from a website or an older guidebook, cross reference it with other sources to ensure that the instructions are accurate.


Use Tech!

As fun as it is to pretend that you are living without technology in the wild, using some navigational tools is beneficial when you’re out there, especially alone.

Even a cellphone with a GPs is a great safety net when things get a tad confusing.

Study a map, have a compass (and know how to use it) and, if available, have a charged GPS receiver.


Make Landmarks!

If you are truly worried about getting lost, build some small arrows or cairns with rocks or sticks. These identifiers can help you find your way back later on, but be sure to destroy them on your return, says Gore Tex.

Always keep an eye out for landmarks that are easily identifiable. Make it a challenge among your teammates and see who can spot the most on your way back.

Or even take a few photos. Not only do they make for fun memories, but these pictures will help you remember the trail if you can’t find your way back.

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