How to prepare for a High Altitude trek?
Trekking is a long arduous journey, typically on foot with the purpose of exploring and enjoying the scenery. It is an exciting outdoor activity to get lost in nature, enjoy the majestic mountains and landscape. That is why you need to prepare for a High Altitude Trek.
As we know trekking is mostly done at higher elevation i.e., above 2,500m where the oxygen level significantly decreases and as the difficulty level increase there are many things to be considered before doing the high-altitude trek. While trekking on the higher elevation, you have to be extra careful and cautious because anything can happen at any time. Especially you have to wary about altitude sickness and acute mountain sickness which can be deadly if treated lightly.
So here in this blog, I will share tips on “How to prepare for a high altitude trek?”
As I have been to the trekking field for about more than 15 years and I know exactly what makes the difference for you.
High altitude trek preparations tips:
- Be Physically Fit: Be it at a lower altitude or higher altitude you have to be always physically fit for doing any kind of trek as it requires a great deal of energy. Especially, while trekking on Nepal Himalayas you have to walk up to 10km-15km per day on average on a rugged trail which is no joke. Also, the difficulty level increase as you gain altitude and consumes more energy.
- So, make sure you do regular exercises daily. Activities such as running, biking, and swimming will greatly improve your physical endurance. And, don’t miss your leg workout day.
- Be Mentally Prepared: Have a positive mindset. Yes, you have to be mentally prepared while trekking in high elevations. There are many trekkers who get scared of altitude sickness even before they start the trek. So, stay calm. Understand that at a higher altitude even a small activity will get you breathless & you shouldn’t panic at such time. It is a normal process. Overcoming the fear is the only way to successfully complete the journey.
I suggest you meditate and do yoga daily.
- Walk Slowly: This is the key point you should keep in mind. Don’t rush, just walk slowly. At higher elevation, the amount of oxygen level gradually decreases and will be hard to trek at a fast pace. So, take your time and walk slowly taking a rest at an interval.
- Also, walking slowly will keep you away from potential altitude threats and you can enjoy nature more closely. “Slow and steady wins the race.”
- Eat Enough Healthy Foods: Trekking requires a lot of energy and you cannot keep going if your stomach is empty. You need a proper diet and supplements for a week-long journey to stay fit and fine and also to prevent altitude sickness.
- You can enjoy the typical Nepalese food at the lodge and teahouse in most of the trekking regions. And, I would highly recommend you to take chocolates and snacks to eat on the way. It will help to boost your energy.
- Drink enough fluids: At high altitude, your body requires a lot of fluids. Because of low oxygen levels at higher altitudes, your body quickly loses water in the form of sweat and breathing. So, make sure your body is hydrated well. You can always find bottled water at the hotel, lodge, or teahouses though they are a bit costlier. Or, if you are on a budget you can always get water from taps and filter it.
Try to drink hot or warm water rather than cold water.
- Sleep well: Hiking at high altitude will be very tiring. After a long day hike, your body needs proper rest to continue the journey further. It might be difficult to fall asleep at high altitudes but even a few hours of sound sleep should be enough. But sleeping tablets are not recommended.
And, try to avoid sleeping in the daytime. It will make your body sluggish and can get altitude sickness.
- Stay warm: Generally, the trekking regions get very cold in the morning and night time which is why you have to come fully prepared. Wear enough clothes to keep your body warm and safe. You will get headaches and other problems if you catch a cold. And of course, you don’t want any of them, right?
However, day time is generally warm and you can enjoy the beautiful nature. But remember the wind will give you trouble all the time. So, get prepared accordingly.
- Carry light weights: Try to make your backpack as light as possible. Because walking at a high altitude is already hard enough and on top of that, you cannot carry heavy bags. It will affect your journey as a whole. So, just pack the necessary items. Or else, you can always get porters to carry your bags.
- Regularly check oxygen level and heart rate: You should regularly check your health conditions in whichever region you are trekking to. Even though you look fit and fine from the outside who knows what’s going on inside of your body. So, you can bring an oximeter to check your oxygen level and heart rate. A must-have device to include in your bag.
If you feel any difficulty then immediately inform your guide or anyone who is near to you.
- Wear a comfortable dress: It might shock you to see this point but trust me the dress you wear matters. A little discomfort can easily ruin your trekking experiences. So, wear something that is light but warm at the same time. During the daytime, the wind blows very hard at a higher altitude and the temperature at night and morning goes to minus degrees Celsius. So, brace yourself.
- Avoid unnecessary moments: Don’t budge too much. Keep in mind that you should stay as calm as possible and enjoy what’s in around you. It will definitely save a lot of energy and stamina.
- I have seen many trekkers especially hardcore and experienced trekkers wandering here and there unnecessarily. It looks fine until something gets worsen in a matter of seconds. Be careful. But if you feel uncomfortable while sitting then you should move or do a light warm-up.
- Acclimatization: Acclimatization is very important for your body. It helps to adapt your body to the environment. Since your body lacks the proper amount of oxygen, it is the only way to counterattack this deficit. It is the only way to increase the flow of oxygen in the blood.
How to prepare for a High altitude trek in Nepal?
Nepal is a Himalayan country with the world’s highest Mt. Everest residing here. In fact, Nepal is home to 8 out of 10 world’s highest mountains including Annapurna I, Manaslu, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Lhotse, Dhaulagiri, Kanchenjunga, and Everest itself.
Because of this, Nepal has been always a favorite trekking and mountaineering destination to all adventure seekers throughout the world. No wonder thousands of trekkers and hikers visit Nepal every year.
As we all know most of the treks in Nepal revolve around the high elevations i.e., above 3,000m+. And, walking steadily for multiple days at such elevations is sure to be agonizing. So, without proper knowledge and guidance, it will be extremely hard to successfully complete the trek. Especially, while trekking on the higher elevation you have to be extra careful and cautious. Anything can happen anytime.
Take a guide and porters: I highly recommend hiring a proper guide and porters while trekking in Nepal. But if you are on a budget that’s a different story. Otherwise, get one. Nothing feels more secure in the high Himalayas than having an experienced guide to lead a way and to rely on. There are many cases of trekkers missing every year.