So the things is, I live at sea level and had never ventured to crazy heights before! i
In fact, when I took the tiny plane in Nepal from Kathmandu Lukla where I began the Everest Base Camp trek, I was already standing above the highest mountain in Australia, my home country!
Altitude Sickness is very common and everyone is susceptible to it – even the most experienced mountaineers. My wise Nepali guide had decades of experience and was adamant that if I followed these three rules I would be ok! I survived to share them with you!
1. GO SLOW!
From the very beginning my guide would set the days walking pace and I would have to slow down and follow, whether I was buzzing with energy or it was a particularly easy stretch. You know the old saying; slow and steady wins the race!
2. DRINK FIVE LITRES OF WATER EVERY DAY!
This was a challenge to complete day after day and the higher the altitude the less interest you have in drinking (and eating) as well as the sheer daily exertion you do you need to stay well hydrated.
so this is when you need to encourage yourself and fellow trekkers and make it a goal for each day.
To avoid altitude sickness and
Our guide told us that once you are above 4000 metres (16,040 ft) you lose one litre (33oz) of water from you body simply from breathing in your sleep!
We did as we were told and each drank five litres (170 oz) a day, which we can all agree is a lot of water!
we used cordial/squash/crush/tang to help us. We would try to have a big canister of hot tea at breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as the warm water was absorbed faster.
TIP – Make sure you bring your own tea bags up the mountain and simply order canisters of hot water. This is a much cheaper option as the tea itself was very expensive.
In Australia, we call it cordial, in the US I believe they say squash, the Nepalese call it Tang, what you are looking for is the powdered fruit crystals that dissolve and flavour drinking water.
I bought these tang sachets in Thamel (Kathmandu) and we used these once we were a few days into the trek.
After a while the last thing you feel like drinking is water so the tang sachets helped us a lot. Mix up the flavours each day and get drinking!!!
3. SLEEP WITH YOUR HEAD COVERED
This was very important to our guide so we slept with beanies/tuque/knitted cap every night. Even in summer the temperature drops at night and the common room of the tea house is the only heated room.
Most trekking companies will also take your vitals daily and monitor you.
Listen to the Nepali guides, they have generations of wisdom and knowledge, if they say you need to go down the mountain for the night I would listen.
Fortunately my dad and I had no dizzy spells or experienced any altitude sickness symptoms. We could hear people vomiting at night in the tea houses and tried to help a few people who were stumbling and dizzy on the path and urged them to go back down for a while.
It can be fatal, don’t risk it.
Make sure your water canister is full when you head out and big 2.5 litre bottles are available from the tiny shops you pass on your way up. This is heavy in your day pack but essential and of course the faster you drink the lighter it will become.
INTERESTED IN BUYING PRINTS?
I have been on the road for ten years accumulating an absurd number of images that I would love to share.
Head over to my photography site, IndiaParishPhotography.com to browse prints from across the globe.