Top Tips for Trekking at Altitude
Tips for Training & Preparing for Altitude
- Be as fit, strong, lean and balanced as possible using a variety of cross training modalities such as Trek Training, High Intensity Interval Training on stairs and soft sand, bike riding, swimming, yoga, Pilates, and remedial massage.
- Rest hard and eat nutritious food to ensure recovery time and optimal health
- Focus on anaerobic interval training where you push the body to 8 -9 out of 10 breathlessness, recover and repeat
- Include some breath control activities such as yoga and swimming
- Practice mental tuffness by doing boring repetitive challenging activities such as stair, sand or hill repeats
- Ensure you choose an itinerary that includes a couple of days acclimatisation prior to your trek to altitude as well as a trek high, sleep low program
- Consult your doctor to get advice on use of Diamox and practice at home if you decide to use it to monitor side effects such as tingling
- If you have access to an Altitude Chamber or tent, this has been shown to produce some benefits, including confidence building first timers. However this is not essential for success at altitudes up to 6,000m.
- Read How to Prepare for World Class Treks available as an e-book here and everything else you can find online about trekking at altitude well BEFORE departure.
Tips for Preventing Altitude Sickness on your World Class Trek
- Avoid over-exertion and avoid getting out of breath while acclimatising. Relaaaaxxxxxxxx ….
- Drink enough liquid to keep your urine pale and plentiful.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, excess salt.
- Use the buddy system to keep an eye on each other for symptoms of AMS.
- Use technical walking during the ascent, focusing on “The Brigitte or Pause” technique of locking the back knee and pausing momentarily with each step. (See Chapter 1 How to Prepare For World Class Treks)
- Gain altitude slowly: above 2,500m the maximum height gain between sleeping altitudes should not exceed 300m per day, with a rest day for every 1000m of ascent or every third day.
- Only ascend when there are no symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness. (Acute Mountain Sickness, or AMS is not life threatening and is very common).
- Make your bed on an upwardly sloping angle and use a blow up pillow, or pillow case stuffed with soft clothes to elevate your head and reduce those ugly eyes that come from sleeping at altitude.
- Use Diamox, if advised by your doctor or guide. (See Chapter 7 How to Prepare For World Class Treks)
- Avoid medications that depress respiration (eg sleeping tablets, sedatives, strong pain killers and antihistamines) as these increase the risk of AMS. If you must take any of these, consider using Diamox as well, and consult your doctor before you go.