Training for that high altitude hike or climb.

A great sense of achievement is attained by successfully squaring high altitude grounds. This is accomplished by overcoming challenges and huddles. The first thing is to understand what to expect and have a mindset to overcome the odds. Set the goal at conquering the heights, this will be the sole motivation to push you just a little harder.

Training for the challenges is vital. The more gain in altitude the more it lowers the atmospheric pressure and concentration of oxygen. In some cases, the moisture content in the air also decreases. Aerobic approach – You need to train the body to be able to use little oxygen while keeping performance high. The blood absorbs and distributes oxygen all over the body. The capability of absorbing oxygen in low concentration environs is the key to success. Introduce gradual exposure to the elevation. Always monitor your breathing rate; if you have short breaths it means you are too fast. Reduce your speed. If you are unable to talk or sing and maintain the hiking pace, you are too fast. Always keep in mind that you are not in a contest, keep to your own speed that your body can handle. Never be intimidated by fast-moving hikers, take your time. Always try to climb higher but sleep at a lower camp. Never ever be in hurry to reach the summit. Always plan to have enough time.

Water and fluids are essential for successful coping with high altitude. The best procedure is to start drinking while training. Our bodies tend to lose a lot of water at high altitude due to sweat, urinating and due air getting dry, moisture is absorbed from our body. The water intake should be double the normal. Always cover the head. Sipping water throughout is better than drinking large amounts at once. The golden rule is “Drink before you are thirsty, and thirst will never come.”

Plan and carry the right gear. However prepared you are, without the right gear you are doomed. Pack light clothes for the day, warmer clothes for the evening, pairs of socks, comfortable hiking shoe, rain clothes, a good rated sleeping bag, water container preferable a camel pack (Hydrant bladder), walking poles and sunglasses.   Due to air getting thinner, sun rays get stronger on our skins. Sometimes the wind becomes fiercer and lotions, Jerry and sun-creams become handy. If planning for self-cooking, opt for liquid fuel over pressurized gas. At low atmospheric pressure zones, the pressure of the canisters decreases. Always remember to pack a survival kit. This should include extra dried food and fruits, knife, matchbox or lighter, a torch, mirror, whistle, first aid kit, pen and paper,

Always be keen on overall health. As we gain elevation, digestion becomes slow. Many a time, we lose appetite; one should try to eat regardless. The foods we eat are the fuel that propels us to the next level. Signs and symptoms that need monitoring include; a headache, nausea, fatigue, dizziness and insomnia. More serious effects include fever, dry cough, short rapid breaths, blurred vision, hallucinations, among other complications.

By checking on these few points, your excursion will be safe, enjoyable and memorable.