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"How to Prepare for High Altitude Hiking: A Comprehensive Training Guide"

Mountains are calling and I must go - Be well prepared while you go

Everest Base Camp (EBC) Nepal
High Altitude - Himalayas

The higher you climb the mountains are untouched and beautiful, unreachable at times and dangerou sometimes. Yes those mountains at high altitude can be dangerous, therefore it is important to prepare well mentally and physically while attempting high altitude expeditions. High altitude hiking involves trekking or hiking at elevations where the air pressure and oxygen levels are lower than at sea level. Typically, altitudes above 8,000 feet (2,400 meters) are considered high altitude, while altitudes above 12,000 feet (3,600 meters) are classified as very high altitude.

Having done multiple hikes at altitude, this list is comprehensive and will guide on how to prepare for the challenge:

Acclimatization - Given there can be less than 50% of oxygen the body is used to, its absolutely essential to acclimatize, so the body can adapt to less oxygen. Headache that does not go away, nausea and fatigue could all be signs of lesser oxygen levels in body. Adapting to this requires acclimatization! Best way to acclimatize is to hike to higher elevation and sleep at lower, repeating this process as you go higher.

  • Garlic as supplement has been shown to improve blood circulation and vasodilation, which could be helpful at high altitudes where oxygen levels are lower.

  • Chlorophyll Supplement - chlorophyll's molecular structure may facilitate oxygen transport in the bloodstream, potentially aiding in oxygen utilization at high altitudes.

While these have worked for us, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian. They can provide personalized guidance based on your specific needs, health status, and the demands of your high-altitude activities

Nutrition - Forgotten most times, but critical always. Pre, during and post nutrition should be planned with a balanced diet - rich in carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Start preparing body 2-3 months ahead of a big trip.

  • Incorporate iron-rich foods like lean red meat, poultry, fish, fortified cereals, beans, lentils, spinach, and tofu into your meals

  • Good fat sources such as avocados, nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios), seeds (chia seeds, flaxseeds), and olive oil are great to all to your intake

  • Whole grains like rice, oats, wheat, barley will surely be energy sources in addition to potatoes, carrots, beets.

Hydration - Essential at high altitudes to prevent dehydration, which can be exacerbated by dry air and increased respiratory water loss

  • Drink plenty of fluids, including water and electrolyte-rich beverages, to maintain hydration levels. Sipping herbal teas or hot water or soups are a good way to intake extra fluid

  • Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption, as they can contribute to dehydration.

  • As a practice try drinking 12-16 oz of fluid before the day starts and through the day 3-4 L. If you experience excessive sweating, increase your electrolytes and water consumption

Endurance and Strength - By combining endurance and strength training in your preparation for a high-altitude hike, you'll build the physical fitness and resilience needed to tackle the challenges of hiking at altitude effectively and possibly long days. Focus on building endurance and getting accustomed to sustained physical activity.

  • Long-Distance Hikes: Include long-distance hikes in your training regimen, gradually increasing the duration and elevation gain to mimic the demands of hiking at high altitudes.

  • Altitude Simulation: If possible, train at higher altitudes or use altitude simulation methods such as hypoxic training masks to acclimate your body to reduced oxygen levels and improve your tolerance to high altitudes.

  • Cardiovascular : Such as running, cycling, swimming, or hiking at lower altitudes to build cardiovascular endurance, will go a long way. Aim for at least 3-5 sessions per week, gradually increasing duration and intensity over time. Stair master at the gym is. a great exercise for preparation.

  • Strength : Focus on exercises that target the muscles used during hiking, such as quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. Include squats, lunges, step-ups, deadlifts, and calf raises in your strength training routine.

Small steps, deep breaths -  As the altitude increases, you will realize that the pace of movement tends to slow done. Go with the flow, do not be in a rush. It's most important to pick a pace that works for you, without exhaustion of the body. Small steps, deep breaths have always worked for the tribe. Realize it's not a race, it's about getting to the summit and returning safel

Weather -  Always have your base, mid and outer layer with you. Mountain weather has a mood of its own and it is critical to be prepared the layers as weather can change at any time, without notice. Tribe has had experiences of all 4 seasons in a matter of hours on the mountain.

  • Always wear protective sunglasses and hat during the day.

  • Sunscreen is an essential, apply daily and protect your exposed areas of the skin

  • To stay warm at night, always carry warm socks and a good sleeping bag

Learning's from the tribe - Nature has its ways of showing its power and humbling us in return, high altitude is certainly something like that. Go experience it!

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