Hiking vs Trekking vs Mountaineering whats the Difference

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Published at : 24 Jan 2021
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Hiking vs Trekking vs Mountaineering whats the Difference

Hiking
The easiest of the three is hiking. You walk on well-marked trails of easy to moderate difficulty, although this depends on where you’re hiking.

These are usually half-day to one-day tours, like these hikes in the German Alps. The terrain varies from relatively flat to steep. It can be on mountains, along a coastline like hiking the Cinque Terre in Italy, or on a popular trail like the last 100 km of the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Although the latter is a multi-day hike, the hiking is relatively easy with mild inclines.

Hiking is easier than trekking or mountaineering but it can still be challenging.

Trekking
Trekking is between hiking and mountaineering regarding difficulty. Although it’s more similar to hiking. The difference being that treks are longer than hikes.

When I say longer, it doesn’t mean that they take a couple more hours. These trips usually take two or more days.

This means that you will either have to camp (and bring all your food and equipment). A good example of this is the Trilogy. It’s a series of three volcanoes in Guatemala.

Alternatively, when trekking in some locations, you may have the option to stay at small lodges, mountain huts or even bed and breakfasts along the way.

For example, accommodations are available when you trek the Dolomites in Italy, Tour du Mont Blanc, and the Italian Riviera. On other more remote trails like the Jordan Trail, you’ll need someone to set up a camp for you, or be self-sufficient.


Mountaineering
Of the three, mountaineering is by far the most challenging. It’s a more technical variation of trekking that takes you to higher peaks. Often to ones that are over 5000 meters above sea level.

These are also multi-day trips that require a lot of previous physical and technical training. You need more equipment than with hiking or trekking. And you’ll also need to know how to use it properly.

For example, you must know how to climb on ice with crampons. You also need to know how to use an ice axe. And how to safely cross huge cracks on the ice.

Not to mention how to survive snowstorms, and how to walk on glaciers. And if you slip, how to rescue yourself with an ice axe.

In addition, in some locations, you need to be strong enough to be able to endure long hours of ascending with low levels of oxygen.
hikingtrekking vs hikingtrekking

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