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5 tips for hiking in the high country

As the snow continues to melt in the high country, it's time to start planning your high altitude hikes, if you haven't already. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you are preparing for your adventures. 1. Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! Drink water and electrolytes throughout your duration on the mountain. As you learn more about what hydration practices work for you, it's still always safer to bring too much than not enough. You can learn more about my general hydration recommendations in my free Fueling Guide for the Trails. 2. Wear sun protection. The closer you are to the sun, the more intense the rays. Please wear sunscreen, lip balm with SPF, a hat, and/or UPF clothing. REI has some great options for UPF apparel, as well as hats for the trails. 3. Weather considerations. If you're a local Coloradoan or Denverite, you know how quickly summer storms brew up and come through the city. Summer thunderstorms come in even faster and stronger in the mountains and higher elevations, which creates a high risk of lightning and/or wind. If a storm comes through, you want to be below treeline for your own safety. It's recommended to be off the mountain by 11am/12pm/1pm at the latest. This is why 3am, 4am, and 5am starts are highly recommended out here. I like to use the app OpenSummit to learn about the potential lightning, rain, and wind risk in the high country. It's also helpful to be aware of the weather for planning your gear -- do you need a rain jacket? puffy coat? microspikes? poles? 4. Altitude sickness. Altitude sickness is no joke and it does not discriminate. Regardless if you have had it before or have been in the mountains several times and never had it, it is still possible for you to get altitude sickness. Symptoms of altitude sickness include: nausea, headache, vomiting, and shortness of breath. Altitude sickness is serious and should not be taken lightly. If you begin experiencing these symptoms, get down to lower elevation immediately. 5. Know your limits. The mountains aren't going anywhere. It's okay if you're not feeling it, your mind isn't quite in it, or your legs just aren't moving the way you want them to. If you're not feeling confident in your abilities, the circumstances, the weather, or anything else, it's okay to turn around. It is always the safer choice. Happy hiking!


Katharine Moustakes
Hey, friend!

I'm Katharine.

I'm a personal trainer, running coaching, and nutrition coach who's stoked about lifting, the outdoors, summit snacks, and my dog.


I understand that fitness is not your whole life. Fitness is a PART of your life. I approach training in a way that adds value to your life and longevity, so you can enjoy being active whether you're romping around in the mountains, playing with your kids, or signing up for your first 10K race.

I'm here to meet you where you are, so you can train safely and effectively, and gain strength and confidence both in the gym and on the trails.

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