As the high season looms for hikers, the Swiss Council for Accident Prevention (CAP) has issued a safety warning. The bureau reminds walkers they should not underestimate the dangers in the mountains at this time of year.
Around 5,500 hikers are involved in accidents every year according to the CAP. More than a dozen hikers have died in the Swiss Alps this year.
Good preparation and equipment could help avoid many accidents, says the bureau. Planning one's route carefully, as well as getting information about the state of paths and the weather are an important part of the preparation.
"The end of summer is a critical time," says Catherine Strasser of the CAP's Geneva office. "The weather can change quickly and hikers' carelessness increases the risk of having an accident."
These risks increase further in autumn, when many walkers become lost in fog or after nightfall. Strasser recommends carrying enough food and water, warm and waterproof clothing as well as a good map and a compass.
Many accidents are blamed on people slipping on wet grass or rocks, so hikers are advised to wear proper walking shoes.
"But people should remember one thing above all: always stick to marked paths," says Strasser.
swissinfo with agencies
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