Hikes at the highest parking

Starting hikes at the highest parking lot

Hikes at the highest parking

The habit of starting hikes at the highest parking lot rather than in the valley has spread.

International Mountain Day focuses on restoring mountain ecosystems and preserving nature.

On International Mountain Day, the Mountaineering Association of Slovenia highlights the restoration of mountain ecosystems. They remind people to approach mountains for the dual purpose of experiencing mountain adventures while preserving mountain nature.

Mountains, or mountain ecosystems, cover about a quarter of the Earth’s land and are home to more than half of all species on the planet, emphasized Martin Šolar, Vice President of the Mountaineering Association of Slovenia, in his message. Some mountains serve as water sources, provide food, and are home to people.
“Mountain ecosystems have shown two faces, fragility and harshness, during natural disasters this year,” Šolar emphasized. In his opinion, responsible mountain behaviour and considerate visits can help reduce pressures on nature in the mountain world.

“Mountains are burdened by the impacts of climate change and a lack of sustainable development, increasing risks for people and the planet,” he stressed. Climate change threatens water flow, and rapidly rising temperatures force species to adapt or migrate. Meanwhile, steep slopes in the mountain world mean that deforestation for agriculture, settlements, or infrastructure can cause soil erosion and loss of habitat. He explained that erosion and pollution harm water quality, which ultimately affects what ends up in our glasses.

Hikes at the highest parking

Hikes at the highest parking

International Mountain Day 2023 is an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of mountain ecosystems and call for nature-based solutions, best practices, and investments that build resilience, reduce vulnerability, and increase the ability of mountains to adapt to daily threats and extreme climate events.

Šolar calls on those who love to hike to approach mountains with the dual purpose of a mountain experience and preserving mountain nature. “Our mountain visits should be respectful and responsible; let’s behave considerately toward nature, help the animal world survive the winter, and let mountaineers and ski tourers be a connected part of mountain nature,” Šolar added.

Hikes at the highest parking

In a recent interview, Jože Rovan, President of the Mountaineering Association of Slovenia, highlighted the importance of preparation for mountain visits, appropriate equipment use, and choosing suitable routes. He emphasized the importance of recognizing when it is too dangerous to continue a tour, stating, “This is not fear; it is the only sensible decision.”

Regarding what individuals can do to protect mountains, Rovan primarily mentions transportation: “Let’s be honest; among us, the habit of starting a tour at the highest parking lot, not in the valley, has spread. We are slowly trying to change this mindset. It won’t happen tomorrow; it’s a process. If we internalize this in 20 years, it will be a success. And one more thing: if possible, use public transportation.”

“Mountaineering has a considerable carbon footprint because we usually drive quite far to the summit,” Rovan concluded.

Erjavčeva mountain hut is the only mountain hut open the whole year at Vršič pass.

Source: RTVSLO