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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.
Published in Adventure, Travel Tips & Hacks
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6 Comments
  1. Rashmi Bothra 2 years ago

    Nice post

  2. Alice Teacake 2 years ago

    Ha never knew about the garlic trick! Thanks for that 🙂 I’m currently in Dali China and the altitude here is 2000m above sea level. I’ll be going hiking soon which will reach nearly 5000m above sea level. So far so good, but I’m doing yoga everyday to help with my lungs. Useful post!

  3. IamVagabond 2 years ago

    Great tips and very useful information. Thanks for the post.

  4. Corinne 2 years ago

    I just want to take garlic now, because it sounds like a good idea. Will I stink, though? Ok, seriously. I think this is an extremely interesting post. I personally have no plans or even an inclination to hike at altitude. However, just going to high places, like Cusco or Tibet, you should be doing the same things. Acclimating is very important. Good info.

  5. Dean 2 years ago

    I have never done any really high altitude stuff before but some good tips for when I finally do Machu Picchu. I have experienced some of the effects while climbing the Sun Pyramid at Teotihuacan in Mexico. It literally took my breath away.

  6. Long Nguyen 2 years ago

    Wow, now I know one more valueable function of galic. In Vietnam we think galic can be made into medecine that make you ten years younger than you are.

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