You've only been joining events so far? Why don't you try to organise your own hike? Here are the basics! Organising hikes is not really hard, and it makes a lot of people happy, which is quite fulfilling. If you haven't organized anything yet, it might be because you're scared that something could go wrong. Here are a few tips to help you go for it!
One good thing about being the organiser is that you're free to choose where to go. You have two choices - either you choose an existing route, or you create one with our route planner. Since our database already contains hundreds of routes, I would advise you to pick an existing one. For that, you should take into account different criteria.
Do I want a technical route?
As you might have experienced, many routes in the Alps are composed of technical parts such as Klettersteig, via ferratas, or exposed parts which sometimes require a specific gear (climbing set, rope, helmet, etc). You can easily check if a route contains any technical part with the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC) Scale. To know how it works, you can read our blog.
Hiking is extremely weather dependant. If you choose to go hiking on a rainy day, do not go on technical terrain (T3 could already be dangerous). Of course, never go hiking if thunderstorms are forecasted. If you happen to be in the mountains at that moment, there are safety tips you should have in mind (read our blog). Here are reliable weather forecasts for Bavaria and Tyrol:
In winter you always need to keep an eye on the avalanche risk, rated from 0 to 5 (5 being the higher risk). It's not recommended to go hiking with a risk higher than 2. To know how high the risk is, take a look at the avalanche reports (Lawinenlagebericht):
Protected areas (winter only)
Germany contains many protected area that you can't cross during winter. Most of the time there are no sign and no one will be there to prevent you from entering, which is why it is your responsability to figure out whether or not your route is crossing such areas. If so, you will have to find another route. You can easily see where the protected areas are with the Outdooractive route planner, and by choosing the winter maps. A protected area will appear in orange (see below). In this example, you see that Heimgarten can't be reached from the South in winter.
No GPS device? Your smartphone is enough!
You successfully chose a route? Now is time to save the track into your smartphone. A GPS track is a .gpx file or a .kmz file. Those are special text file containing coordinate points. First, you will have to download that .gpx file by cliking on the button "Download GPX file" which is on every route page.
As for the GPS app, there are plenty. I once asked on HBM Facebook group which app people are using. It appears that Outdooractive is the most popular one. I have personally been using Backcountry Navigator for years, and will keep it (8€ for a life time license).
After uploading the .gpx file into the app you chose, you need to download the maps so that you can see them even offline. It is very likely that you won't have any internet connexion in the mountains. The GPS being highly energy consuming, I would really advice you to bring a portable battery.
Most of the organisers use the public transports because. Bavaria has a very efficient transportation network with interesting group offers. To know more about it, have a look on our blog Group Tickets in Bavaria. Always check when the last return train is.
Our website has also a carpool feature, which is an interesting solution for places not reachable by train. To know more about this feature, read our blog Hiking Event with Carpool.
Publishing the event
Describing correctly your hike is very important for people to know what to expect. Here are a few things you can / should mention:
- Exact meeting point and time
- Possible technical sections
- Is it for beginners / experienced hikers?
- What do people have to bring?
- What will be the pace you want to keep up?
- How much does the train (/ bus) ticket costs?
- In case of border crossing, tell people to bring their passport / ID card
Feel free to use a description of a previous event, like this one.
Keep an eye on who is joining
This applies if you do technical hikes, or if you want the group to have a fast pace. Each person has a profile with reviews from other participants / organisers. If you intend to keep a fast pace, and if that a person is considered as relatively slow, you should tell him / her to join a easier / slower hike. Same for a technical route - if a person is afraid of heights, it is really not safe for him / her to join a T4 hike.
II) Leading the group
Time to meet!
This is the day, and you've set up the meeting point, like "Hauptbahnof, Platform 27". The meeting point has to be precise so that you don't get many questions about it. If you have a big group (>10 people), you should set the meeting time at least 20 minutes before the train departure so that you have enough time to buy the tickets. Oh, and the best organisers are the ones who don't forget a pen to be able to write down the names on the tickets before the control!
When you buy the tickets:
- Buy them at the machines, ortherwise you will pay an extra fee if you buy them from a salesperson
- Red machines are for DB tickets (Werdenfels & Bayern Ticket). For those ones, you can cumulate points with a Bahnbonus card. You can get the card online for free, and points give you fancy rewards.
- Blue machines are for Meridian tickets and BOB tickets
Consult the group before taking a decision
During your hike, you might come up with an alternative route, because you saw on your map for example a nice waterfall, or a place where they cook Kaiserschmarrn. It's gonna be tempting, but before changing the initial route, you should ask everyone if they're fine with it, especially if the new route is longer / with more elevation gain. Some people might not agree and in that case my advice would be to stick to the initial route.
Try to keep the group together
Ideally, a group hike means that the whole group sticks together during the whole day. If some people are slow, you should do breaks on a regular basis. If people are too fast, you can choose to let them go and meet later, or ask them to wait for the group. Having people far at the front can be annoying, especially if they didn't see that they had to turn at some point...
Publish your photos
It has now become a tradition. It's always nice to see what happened during the weekend on other hikes, so feel free to create an album on the Facebook group where all participants will add their photos. Also, it's very important for you to publish a group photo on the Hiking Buddies website (on the event page), otherwise no one will get points (to avoid fake hikes).
Review the participants
After the hike, you'll be able to see a button "Write reviews" on your event page. Every participant will be able to review any other participant. This is actually helpful to know about someone's level. As mentioned before, if someone had problem with a steep part, that person shoudn't go on a T4 hike. Mentioning it on their profile can prevent accidents from happening on future hikes.
Something went wrong? Keep it in mind for next time :)
Try to get better at organising hikes. It's hard to organise a "perfect" hike, and you can't really plan everything. Try to do your best. It doesn't really matter if something wrong happens. And if you get lost, just tell everyone you know what you're doing, it works all the time... ;)
I hope those tips will encourage some of you to go for it! If Hiking Buddies has become such an active community, it is mainly thanks to the organisers. Organising a hike is the best way to contribute to the group!