How to use a map and compass in the mountains

There are many people who, when they pick up a map, have no idea how to interpret it to be able to orient themselves, and much more than if they have to guide themselves with a compass it is likely that they will never be able to reach their destination. Of course, that is not a bad thing, but it is advisable to know how to use both, especially the maps since no matter how much there are new technologies, whenever you go on a trip you will have to review one.

A map is a symbolic representation of the terrain that it shows, be it a big city, a small town, a mountain, or even an amusement park. A sheet of paper on which any place will appear perfectly captured.

How to read a map

Its reading is very simple and you only need to have a couple of knowledge on the subject to be able to orient yourself with any map without any problem. Now terms such as latitude and longitude may sound like Chinese to you, but as soon as you know what it is and how to interpret them, you will have mastered it, and they are two essential notions to be able to interpret a map, especially if it is a mountain one since it is not you will find no one to ask.

Latitude and longitude are the main geographic coordinates of any place, regardless of whether it is a big city or a forest in the middle of nowhere. Both data give you the exact position of a point, and all topographic maps bring that data so that you can locate yourself at any point on the planet. All maps are to scale, and the basic ones used are 1: 25,000 and 1: 50,000, especially those for orientation in the mountains.

The scale 1: 25,000 is equal to 4 centimeters of map representing one kilometer of terrain. To orient yourself with it, the first thing to do will be to know where the destination is , and then put the map in the same situation as the terrain to know the route you must follow, matching the elements on the same trajectory (for example, a source).


How to use a compass

Its use is very simple, and it is an element that will make the interpretation of the map much easier since it will indicate where each cardinal point is, with which you will know much better where to go. Currently there are many compasses with all kinds of information that practically lead you to your destination by themselves, while the simplest only have a needle that shows you the way. In any case, the classic ones are still the most used.

Although all compasses are intended to guide you , it must be said that depending on the activity you are going to do, it will be better to buy one or the other. If it is for excursions in the mountains in your leisure time, a light compass will suffice, while the most innovative ones are already for the use of professionals or people who spend many hours in the mountains.