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Altitude sickness symptoms and how to avoid them

Being young, fit and healthy doesn’t mean you won’t suffer from altitude sickness symptoms. Here’s how to identify, treat and prevent them effectively Gracie is a student at Johns Hopkins, which offers one of the best medical training programs in the world. She is slim, fit and active. She doesn’t smoke, rarely drinks and always watches what she eats. She should have been the last person in our group to get altitude sickness symptoms and yet there she was, wide-eyed and pale-faced at breakfast after a restless night of nausea at the foot of Cotopaxi Volcano (3,500m). Experienced climbers know that altitude sickness doesn’t discriminate. The young, fit and healthy can suffer just as easily as the old, soft and pasty, which is why everyone should be aware of the symptoms before attempti...

Ranked: most peaceful countries in the world 2021

The most peaceful countries in the world have been updated for 2021. Read our insights from the study and browse the rankings below Once again, Iceland is the most peaceful country in the world followed by New Zealand, Denmark, Portugal, and Slovenia. However, the world is a less peaceful place as civil unrest and political instability has increased due to the global pandemic according to the latest Global Peace Index (GPI) report. Afghanistan is the least peaceful country in the world for the fourth year in a row, followed by Yemen, Syria, South Sudan, and Iraq. The GPI report is the only statistical measure of its kind and makes it possible to rank 163 independent states based on how peaceful they are. The 163 states cover over 99% of the world’s population and are assessed&nbs...

How to use a compass and map: a simple guide

This guide on how to use a compass and map should be enough to get you started and give you the confidence to use the skills for yourself in the hills As a schoolboy, I was lucky to learn how to use a compass and map. I then spent the best part of two decades putting these basic skills to use throughout the British countryside, without ever really having them tested. It wasn’t until a white-out on top of Scotland’s Ben Nevis during a winter mountaineering course that I really learnt how critical these skills are. Luckily for us (or rather thanks to the course’s well-planned itinerary), we had spent the previous day refreshing our navigation skills in a less hostile environment. Atop the stony plateau of Britain’s highest mountain, amid terrible weather, unable...

How to choose a sleeping bag: a buying guide

Our comprehensive guide on how to choose a sleeping bag will ensure a cosy night’s sleep whatever the temperature Whether you’re a weekend warrior making a dash for the hills or preparing for a multi-day trek through the Himalayas, choosing the right sleeping bag can make or break a camping trip. It could be the difference between waking up fully recharged and ready for another day on the trail, or utterly exhausted and set to pack it in and head home to the comfort of your own bed. With this in mind, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide on how to choose a sleeping bag. How to choose a sleeping bag We’ve broken down our guide into the following subsections. Where will you use your sleeping bag? The first question to ask is ‘where will I use my sleeping bag?’ I have two sleeping bags. O...

30 most beautiful mountains in the world

The most beautiful mountains in the world have captivated climbers for centuries. Here, we examine their lethal appeal “You are not in the mountains. The mountains are in you,” said John Muir, the renowned naturalist, author and environmental philosopher. If our resident seven-summit hopeful is anything to go by, Muir makes a valid point. Those who spend time in the mountains seem to be driven by a deeper force. These brave men and women will face vertiginous vertical falls, sub-zero temperatures and 8,000m death zones in pursuit of their summit dreams. It’s in ode to them that we present this list. Most beautiful mountains in the world 1. Cuernos del Paine Height: 2,600m (8,530ft) Location: Andes, Chile Emperorcosar/Shutterstock The stunning Cuernos del Paine Los Cuernos del Paine or ‘Pai...

Why I’ve given up eating fish (again)

At the age of 13, Kia turned vegetarian but 15 years later, she started eating fish again. Here she reflects on why that decision was wrong There is an inherent hypocrisy in what I do for a living. On one hand, I write about the state of the planet, call for tourism caps and grapple with extinction tourism, but on the other, I continue to fly when I know that it’s the worst way to travel in terms of carbon emissions.  I console myself with the fact that I don’t eat meat, a worse offender when it comes to emissions, but I do eat fish and dairy. The temptation then is to say “well, fish isn’t as bad as meat” – and that may indeed be the case from an environmental standpoint, but what about the moral one? The environmental issue is knotty and complicated, but the moral one – killing anim...

How to choose a down jacket

A beginner’s guide on how to choose a down jacket that will keep you warm and toasty in the great outdoors A high-quality down jacket is no longer the preserve of the outdoorsy. Politicians, pop stars and even princesses have been pictured in a ‘puffa’. Of course, a down jacket truly comes into its own when used and tested in the great outdoors.  Understanding what to consider before you choose a down jacket can be confusing. To make the decision easy, we’ve put together a simple guide to choosing the jacket that’s best for you.  What is down? Down is the natural insulating layer found on geese and ducks that helps keep their bodies warm in nearly freezing temperatures. It is usually white or grey and looks like small clusters of fluff. These clusters create millions of tiny air ...

20 best hiking apps to download in 2021

We take a look at the best hiking apps currently available and which ones best meet your needs be they trip planning, navigation or first aid. Hiking apps never used to feature in my outdoor adventures, but times have changed. Now, every Ordnance Survey map comes with a digital version available to download onto my smartphone or tablet. When planning an adventure in the wild, my preparations still begin with spreading out my paper maps across the floor and marking out possible trailheads, routes and campsites. However, now that I have more consistent access to reliable phone reception and wifi, along with a host of battery packs and solar chargers, I also make use of an array of hiking apps. Best hiking apps Below, I take a look at some of the best apps for hiking available for outdoo...