Adjusting to high altitudes is all about adaptation, though your body takes days or weeks to be fully acclimatised at a higher elevation. If your body is not familiar with this, you can easily get sick, and the solution to this issue is getting back to the normal lower altitude. However, any high altitude climbing is an endeavour, which is physically and mentally taxing, hence it requires a lot of preparation, from physical fitness to mental readiness to endurance, as well as a good sense of teamwork and independence too.
How to Prepare For a High Altitude Climb
Below are some of the most crucial factors to be considered when getting ready for High Altitude Mountaineering.
1. Understanding High- Altitude Climbing
For those who have never pushed themselves to the heights of 6000 feet, you must attain more preparation to fully understand what is to come. At these altitudes, your body can be affected, because the air pressure constantly changes depending on the level of elevation. Being above sea level decreases air pressure the higher you go. Therefore the reduced air pressure means decreased oxygen in the air to breathe which in turn causes your body to perform less efficiently.
If an altitude change is done gradually, the body can adapt, but if the changes come fast, there can be severe problems, hence the reason to understand higher altitude and its effect on the body before starting the activity.
2. Prepare Physically and Mentally (Fitness)
If you can easily access a mountain range, it’s good to use it to help your body build up to higher elevations slowly. Also, switch your workouts by adding as much elevation as you can, for example, do sprints in staircases or steep hills and get as high as possible. Also doing your training with a weighted pack will give you more endurance once you hit the higher altitude. Participating in this interval training prepares your body by training your cardiovascular system to deal with limited levels of oxygen; hence it’s very critical. Also keeping a positive mind set in regards to the target will get you going to the peak.
3. Fuel Your Body with Food and Water
It’s crucial to bear in mind that food and water are very essential at high altitudes because your muscles are burning more energy at a higher rate and the body needs water and calories to function properly. This environment doesn’t need people on diets rather needs carbohydrate-loaded foods as well as sugar to help provide energy for the overall mountain climbing experience. Because your body becomes dehydrated more often, drinking a lot of water will keep you hydrated, keep your skin better, and your body functioning better.
4. Prepare First Aid Kit
It’s not possible to tell how your body will react to the high altitudes, especially before starting. If it’s your first time, carry along a first aid kit with medications to help your body assimilate to the increasing altitudes. You are mostly likely to suffer from altitude-related conditions, thus you need to carry with you the proper medication to prevent and treat these diseases. It’s also important to carry painkillers and antibiotics along with you.
5. Get Checked
Visiting your doctor before embarking on climbing is very significantly important. It helps eliminate any chance of lingering ailments that may stop you from reaching the top of a high mountain. If you are unwell, visit the doctor often for advice or medication to avoid any annoying sickness/symptoms from reappearing during your extreme adventure.
6. Prepare For Harsh Elements
If you are naturally prone to sunburns, carrying sunscreens and SPF is also crucial. The high altitudes comprise of extreme wind, sunshine and temperatures, so carry the right items and be prepared for total skin protection against the sun, bring waterproof and wind resistant clothing, thermal gloves, extra hand warmers as well as soaks make of wool to protect your body from the harsh mountain environment.