The allure of magnificent mountains has inspired the traveller in many of us. The sheer size of these mountains, the opportunity to witness clear blue skies and breathtaking views of the surrounding region, and the challenge to conquer such great heights are some key motivations to plan a trekking or adventure in the mountains.
However, it is important to note that there’s a big difference between an ordinary mountain trek and a high altitude trek. When we are talking about altitudes in excess of 6,000 feet (1,828 m), it is known as high altitude trekking. This is no easy task, since the atmosphere is rarefied at these high altitudes, which means there is less oxygen to breathe. Here are some important tips and suggestions that will prepareyou for your high altitude trek or adventure and help you make the most of it.
Ensure you are physically fit – Visit a doctor and share your planned high altitude trek details. The doctor may carry out a physical examination, take readings and order a few tests. Preferably, this should be done 3-5 months prior to your trek or adventure. Once you are certified fit by the doctor, you can begin your physical endurance training. You will have to visit the doctor once again just before the start of your trip.
Building endurance – There are several ways you can build the level of endurance you will need for high altitude treks and adventures. You can try hiking, cycling, swimming, jogging, and running. Climbing stairs is a good way to power up your lungs and strengthen your leg muscles. Climbing the stairs with a backpack filled with some weights will get you even closer to the real thing. It will not be exactly the same experience, but it will certainly help when you hit the rarefied atmosphere at high altitudes.
Carry some supplements – There are supplements that can help you perform better in a low-oxygen environment. Although medical evidence may be inconclusive, many mountaineers use and recommend these supplements. Take advice from an expert, who will let you know the type of supplements to pack.
Packing & checklist– While you pack your bags, make a checklist to ensure you don’t forget any of the essential items. You will likely be in a remote place, so forgetting something essential can easily ruin your trip. Some key things for high altitude trekking or adventure include appropriate clothing, sunglasses, sunscreen, sturdy trekking boots, sleeping bags, tents, food supplies, water, insect repellant, maps, and a first aid kit. You may need other things as well depending on your destination and other factors.
During your high altitude trek or adventure, keep yourself hydrated and don’t overexert yourself. Have snacks at regular intervals and climb slowly to avoid getting exhausted. Be aware of your mental and physical health and practice deep breathing when needed. Last but not least, always be ready to turn back if the conditions overwhelm you. Being safe is more important than anything else. You can give it another try some other time.