How to Approach High Altitude Treks

  • Altitude v:s ocygen
  • Altitude Gain 1

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High Altitude Trek

What is Altitude – It is the measurement of height gained vertically from the MSL (Mean Sea Level). MSL   is a marker situated in israel used to mark the level of sea. While your height gain from your current levels the Altitude gain is calculcated based on the MSL.

Altitude Gain 1


Why is Altitude important

With the rise in Altitude following are the changes to the climate (For a common man)

  • Reduction in vegetation
  • Colder temperature
  • Thinner Air – This is the biggest cause. With thinner air thinner are your chances of availability
  • High exposure to atmosphere daily

There is 21% of oxygen molecules in the Air which is considered at 100% for comparison in the table below. % of oxygen in the air remain the same. Its the air that keeps getting thinner & thinner as you go higher. Following is a table explaining the availability of Oxygen in the Air with the gain of altitude

With the increase in altitude the air gets thinner & colder making it difficult. what are those difficulties you face

  • Shortness of breath / deep breathing
  • Headache
  • Nausea / Vomitting
  • Dehydration
  • Cold / cough / chest congestion
  • Sleep disturbance

So what are the Do’s & Dont’s of  trekking in high altitude

Before the trek

  • Get Fit –  Make sure you are in good health. Exercise 5 days a week for atleast 60 to minutes. Get your body in shape . Loose the excessive fat
  • Hydrate – Most critical component acclimatisation with altitude is to hydrate your body. Start having 3 to 4 litres of water everyday for 15 days prior
  • LUNGS – Most critical work in any high altitude trek is of the LUNGS. They are at over work as they get very less oxygen & any physical exertion will push them harder. If you start pushing your lungs harder for 1 month prior to the trek your ability to adopt to higher altitude becomes that much more easier
  • Garlic – Garlic is one of the indian spices that has magical results on human body. For anyone going to higher altitude a course of 4/5 slices of raw Garlic daily for 1 month will do greater good. It is believed that Garlic helps your blood to consume more oxygen from within the available oxygen & also to flush out toxins from your body.

How to Acclimatise

  1. Increase the intake of water & start having warm/ hot water regularly as you will be doing the same once you reach Leh, Minimum 3 Litres to 5 Litres a day
  2. Start taking the “Diamox” tablet along with 1 Sachet of Electorol/ORS as per the schedule below
    • 1 day prior to travel         Dosage 1-0-1
    • Arrival Date                      Dosage 1-0-1
    • 1 Day post Arrival            Dosage 1-0-1
    • During the trek daily       Dosage 0-0-1 if the ascent is more than 2000ft every day
  3. Start taking 1 Electrol / ORS along with Diamox. DO NOT TAKE Electrol / ORS in one gulp. Put the ORS in 1 liter of water & consume the same in 2/3 hours period.
  4. Do not over exert & sleep well

After Reaching

  • Rest for 1 Day – Once you land in Leh, take complete rest for 1 full day. While you will feel absolutely normal & feel bored at Hotel keep in mind you are there for a bigger cause
  • Head & Chest – At any cost  DO NOT EXPOSE your Head + Chest to the wind / cold weather. Keeping these 2 covered will ensure you do not get affected.
  • No Smoking – STRICTLY no smoking
  • No Alchohol – Alcohol “Dehydrates” a human body & can lead to high impact

During the trek

  • Keep Head & Chest fully covered
  • Do not block your ear with cotton. cover it with a cap
  • Walk slowly, this is not a race
  • Do not strain yourself, walk / trek in your comfort zone
  • Take breaks to get breath & let your body absorb the atmospheric pressure
  • Breath through your nose only
  • Make sure you are dry & do not sweat
  • Your clothing should be good enough to keep you warm. Do not over dress
  • Keep sipping water regularly

Once you complete your Trek for the day

  • Change your socks quickly
  • Add minimum 1 additional layer
  • If you are carrying separate clothing for camp – change
  • Do not stay in the tent all the time, take a small stroll.
  • It is always advised to sleep at a lower altitude compared to the highest altitude you have been
  • walk up atleast 50ft above your camp site  before going to bed.

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