Anything above 8,000 feet is regarded as high altitude, according to the Cleveland Clinic. It is regarded as being at a very high altitude once elevations reach between 12,000 and 18,000 feet. Few experiences are more satisfying for a hiker than reaching the summit of a high altitude trek. If you’re coming from a region where sea level is your starting point, high altitude trekking is no joke. To ensure a secure and enjoyable ascent, it’s critical to be ready and physically fit for the task at hand. You will want additional preparation for such high altitude excursions, whether they are in the Himalayas or on Mount Kilimanjaro. Given the foregoing, we have compiled a list of 10 crucial guidelines that you must adhere to both before and during high-altitude trekking.
Know the dangers of trekking at high altitudes:
Do some broad research on the distinctions between High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE), Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE). Be aware of the symptoms of an altitude “sick person” and be ready to act if you or others of your team exhibit them.
- Unfortunately, AMS, the mildest form of altitude sickness, has a hangover-like sensation. You might feel tired, queasy, or have a headache. If you have any of these signs, take notice because they may indicate a higher risk of developing HAPE or HACE.
- HAPE happens when liquid seeps into your lungs and you experience the sensation of having your breath taken away. Additionally, if you cough up frothy foam, it’s time to turn back and dive as swiftly as you can.
- HACE results in a lack of focus and coordination. If your speech is slurred and you start to stumble, you need to descend right away since you are in danger of dying.
Pick a hike based on your level of fitness:
It’s crucial to conduct your research and choose a journey that fits your level of fitness before embarking on any hike. There is no shame in starting out on a simple trek if you are a beginner. Easy treks allow you to pace yourself and gain a deeper understanding of the mountains. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise; hiking is supposed to be enjoyable.
Giving your body enough time to adjust to the elevation change is one of the most crucial things you can do to get ready for high elevation hiking. You can adapt to the new, lower level of oxygen available by giving your body three to five days to acclimate to high elevation regions. Acclimatization should take place between 8,000 and 9,000 feet because most hikers opt to do it when ascending at 10,000 feet or higher. One of the greatest ways to adjust to these new conditions is to gradually raise the elevation at which you sleep. The elevation achieved when trekking has a tendency to have less of an impact than the elevation obtained while sleeping. Generally speaking, you shouldn’t raise your sleeping altitude by more than 1,000 feet per day.
It’s crucial to start preparing for your expedition as soon as you’ve chosen it. Squats, calf raises, and lunges are exercises you must incorporate into your fitness routine. Furthermore, it’s crucial to learn how to pace yourself while you walk, run, or swim. It’s also vital to include stair climbing (with or without weights), as it will assist build the muscles needed for uphill climbing. Visualization and research can aid with mental preparation, which is just as crucial as physical preparation.
Avoid distractions and maintain your attention:
The most sensible advice is to avoid complacency, casualness, and overconfidence after recognizing the fundamental threats that await you at high altitude. Maintaining your attention on the trail can help you avoid distractions that could have detrimental effects. Your focus can be diverted from hiking by distractions, which can come from both internal and external factors, such as anxiousness, hurting feet, and weariness; stunning mountain views, fantasizing about a cozy bivy; being pressed for time; or darkness. Try to prevent making poor decisions by remaining vigilant. Using headphones while walking on mountainous terrain is a horrible illustration of this. The main reason for this is that you might not be able to hear if a landslide is approaching, although there are other factors as well. Your first response in such a situation is frequently the most crucial because it can improve or ruin your chances of avoiding a potentially fatal landslide. Tree cracking and rumbling that gets louder are unusual noises that should be taken as warnings and not ignored.
Ensuring that your hiking boots are broken in:
The most crucial piece of gear you own is a good pair of hiking shoes. Ideally, you ought to buy the highest caliber items you can. It is crucial to begin breaking in your new shoes as soon as you buy a pair. By wearing them, the leather, rubber, and Kevlar “break in” and mold to your foot. They will fit better as a result. Additionally, it provides you a chance to adjust to the weight and feel of the shoes. Utilizing shoes as you prepare is the ideal strategy to break them in. Making sure the boot molds properly means walking around the home and in the evening in trekking boots. Blisters, chaffing, and a variety of other foot ailments can be avoided with a “broken-in” shoe.
Less is more when it comes to packing:
This step is less significant because mules or horses will be used to pull your man sack. When preparing for a hike, you should try to pack as lightly as possible. There must be several stages to your packing procedure, with items being removed at each stage after the first. You should leave behind any extra T-shirts, jeans, or toiletries that you are certain you won’t use. You will slow down dramatically with each kilogram of weight, especially at elevations higher than 3500 meters. Any unnecessary items should be left at home or packed in your main luggage, and your day bag should only contain the things you know you will use.
The game includes fear:
Before beginning any expedition, it’s common to feel some anxiety or trepidation. Being a little apprehensive even before beginning the ascent to a mountain pass or a perilous portion of a crossing is typical. Even the very finest people experience some fear. Accepting the fear and moving slowly through it are the best ways to get over it.