Tips for successful travel in high altitude

No matter how exciting the travel is to the high altitude, it is always challenging and is never free of troubles. We have hundreds of stories of people loosing lives in mountains due to lack of preparation and making very minor and stupid mistakes in high altitude.

The summit/trek success depends on few very important things which should be followed properly and I recommend you to follow these as a standard set of checklist before you start your high altitude travel.


Pre-planning:

              Well organized pre-planned trip is the backbone of a successful trip to the high altitude and this is applicable from beginners to technical mountain summiteer. Pre-planning includes the following sets of planning:

  1. Appropriateness  of travel destination:
    1. First and the foremost, make sure if the destination you choose is appropriate based on your physical fitness, past medical history and previous experience. If you are planning you first high altitude trek then it is better to have a short hikes in high altitude (2,500 meters -3,500 meters) to experience how it feels like to be in thin air.
  • Planning of itinerary:
    • A slow and gradual ascent profile is the key to successful acclimatization. Never ascent more than 500 meters of sleeping altitude per day and take a rest day after ascent of >1000 meters.
  • Health insurance plan:
    • Make sure the insurance plan covers all possible events during the travel. Check with your insurance company in advance and talk to them to make sure the policy covers altitude illnesses and other travel related illnesses.
  • Check weather forecast:
    • These days it is possible to check in advance the weather forecast. Prepare for the possible unexpected environmental changes and pack accordingly. Unexpected snow, rain, snowstorm, lightning, etc causes unexpected consequences if you are unprepared so, preparation for possible unexpected events is vital for trouble free travel.
  • Medical Kit:
    • Make sure you have enough medical supplies for basic first aid. You can costumize your kit based on your expertise and experience/training. However, I recommend you to have following medications/items before you embark on your trip:
      •  Crepe bandages
      •  Gauze pieces/pads and band aids
      •  Betadine/antiseptics
      •  Ointments for burn, allergies and antimicrobials
      •  Painkillers (paracetamol, ibuprofen, aspirin, etc)
      •  Anti-emetics
      •  Acetazolamide

We can prepare you the first aid kit based on your need/demand and get it delivered at your doorsteps.


Get checked out:

              Before you start your trip to high altitude please get yourself checked up with your GP/Physician. In fact, it is compulsory for people with pre-existing medical problems and follow doctors recommendations.

              You can book an appointment for pre-travel consultation here.


Get Fit:

              Physical fitness is not the predictor of altitude illness but it is important to be fit to endure in the high altitude. If you are physically fit then you have better chances of being more resilient and not get other injuries and illness.

              You can prepare physically by doing regular physical exercises like running, walking long distances, swimming, biking, weight training, etc.


Get Educated:              

Proper knowledge about altitude illnesses & its prevention, terrain, weather & topography, local culture, food, religion, clothing, foot wares and basic first aid is very important in making the trip successful. Experts agree that knowledgeable travelers are more likely to be safe and healthy.

Safe travels and stay safe!

Dr. Santosh Baniya, MD (June, 2022)