Hiking at altitudes higher than (1,828m) is more difficult than hiking at low altitudes. This is because, at this point, the air contains less oxygen than it does at lower altitudes. Therefore, if you want to do a high-altitude hike, you will need to spend time training for your hike, you will need to pack the right equipment for your hike, and you will want to take precautions during your hike to ensure that you have a safe, enjoyable high-altitude hiking experience.
Planning a high altitude hike soon? Learn how to prepare for a high altitude trek.
Training for your hike
A. Start training in advance
Plan the amount of training you do based on the difficulty of your hike, and your current fitness level. This is one of the main important aspects when preparing yourself for a high altitude trek. If you’re reasonably fit, and attempting a challenging hike, you’ll probably want to schedule at least 3 months of training before your hike is scheduled. If you are really out of shape, you will need to train for a very, very long time.
Remember that you can never start training too early, but you can start too late. Have a talk with your doctor to make sure that you will not be endangering yourself by taking on this challenge.
B. Train for your hike to altitude
If possible, train for your hike at an elevation of 5,000 feet (1,524 meters) or higher. This will create ideal training conditions, as your body will get used to performing in low oxygen conditions. If this is not an option for you, don’t worry. There are several other steps you can take to train yourself for your hike.
C. Use biking as a way to improve your cardiovascular endurance
Cycling is a great way to improve your cardiovascular fitness. If you’re not training at high altitude, you can still improve your fitness by biking up hills whenever possible.
Be sure to wear protective gear when riding a bike. Helmets should not be optional. You may not be able to enjoy your hike if you seriously injure yourself because you chose not to wear protective gear during training.
D. Swim to improve cardiovascular endurance
Another great way to improve your cardiovascular fitness is swimming. An added benefit of swimming is that it forces you to control your breathing (because you have to hold your breath during certain strokes).
Stick to strokes such as the crawl stroke (also known as freestyle), which will require you to keep your face in the water for a few strokes before you turn your head to breathe. Practice holding your breath for up to 5 or 6 strokes before taking a breath if you can.
E. Run to improve cardiovascular fitness
Another great way to train for your hike is to go for a run. Next, in actual climbing, running would be the most similar type of training in terms of movement, so it would be a great way to prepare your legs for what lies ahead.
If you have never run before, you will have to start out slow, but eventually, you will want to work your way up to 3 to 5 days of training for 30 minutes to an hour each training session. During each session, you will want to train at a pace that keeps your heart rate at 70% to 85% of your maximum heart rate.
You can calculate what your maximum heart rate should be by subtracting your age from 220. Therefore, if you are 20 years old, your maximum heart rate would be 200. Meaning that you should try not to ever let your heart beat faster than that. 70% of your maximum heart rate would then be 140, and 85% of your maximum heart rate would be 170. Thus, during your training, you will want to keep your heart beating between 140 and 170 beats per minute (BPM)
A heart rate monitor is perfect for this. Typically, a heart rate monitor is a strap you can purchase at online or at sports supply stores. The strap wraps around your rib cage, just below your chest. The strap then, typically, reports your BPM to a watch that you wear on your wrist.
F. Climb stairs to strengthen leg muscles and lungs
This is another great way to do something that will be like your hike. You find a tall building, put on your pack, and start walking up the stairs. Try to do something like this at least one day a week.
If you can’t find a tall building, look for a local high school football stadium. Here, you can repeatedly walk up and down each flight of stairs. Aim for 30 minutes to an hour of training.
G.TRAIN with your pack on
When you’re hiking, you’ll likely carry all the stuff you need for your entire trip in a large backpack, which means it can be quite heavy. Pack everything you want to take on your trip and wear it when you train (or at least the weight of the plant you pack), that way you’ll know what to expect, and whether or not you can manage the weight. You packed.
If you are struggling to carry the weight at a low altitude, then you need to reduce the weight significantly, as you definitely won’t be able to manage it at a higher altitude. Obviously, you can’t wear the pack when swimming, but you can wear it on the bike, while running, or even while out for a walk.
During the trek
1. Stay hydrated
Before your hike begins, you should be well hydrated. During your acclimation stay, you should drink 2 to 3 liters of water each day to prepare your body for the hike.
During the hike, keep a 1-liter water bottle in your pack, and drink often to keep yourself hydrated. If there are stops along the way, refill your bottle, if you think you won’t need it.
2. Eat snacks to keep your energy levels consistent
At high altitude, your body will burn energy faster, so eat some snacks like dried fruit and nuts, fresh fruit, or a bag of chips as a snack.
You want the snack to be high in carbohydrates, so you can quickly replenish your lost energy. Beef jerky, chocolate, and hard candies offer good, light snack solutions.
3. Climb slowly to avoid burns
This is especially important if your growth starts at a low height and continues to grow. You’ll notice that you get tired easily while hiking, and you may find it hard to breathe. Take frequent breaks to recover, and go more slowly.
Once you reach altitudes above 6,000 feet (1,828 meters), consider resting for a day or two to allow your body to acclimate.
4. Be aware of your physical condition
On a long walk, it can be easy to slip into a position where you don’t really pay much attention to how you’re feeling physically. However, when you are hiking at high altitude, you need to be aware of what is happening to your body, especially when you are climbing higher and higher.
If you begin to experience nausea, loss of appetite, lack of thirst, or if you notice a headache, dizziness, trouble breathing, or loss of control of your coordination, stop. Tell another member of your hiking group. Do not ignore these symptoms, as they can be early signs of altitude sickness.
Do not try to tighten it. These symptoms may subside quickly with a little rest, but they can turn into something more deadly if you’re not careful.
5. Focus on deep, even breathing
If and when you start noticing shortness of breath, be alert. Focus on breathing deeply in and out, and make sure the breath is even. This will help you avoid overworking yourself. If you feel that you are pushing yourself too hard, stop and take a break for a few minutes to control your breathing.
6. Stop and rest every 1,000 feet above your normal altitude
Every time you climb another 1,000 feet above your normal altitude, you must stop and rest for 2 hours. This will give your body a chance to adapt and help you avoid the dangerous consequences of climbing too soon. This may mean taking longer than you expect, and may mean camping overnight, so be prepared for this reality.
7. Be prepared to travel
With high-altitude hiking, it’s important to be prepared to turn around and leave if any of your hiking group starts experiencing symptoms of altitude sickness.
It may feel disappointing, but it is better to be safe than stuck on the top of a mountain with a person who is suffering from severe symptoms of altitude sickness.
Trekking are the we hope this will help you in understanding how to prepare for a high altitude trek.