It is always fascinating to think what it’s like to be there above the clouds. And in the form of high altitude hiking, people have been acclaiming those mountain tops. Ever since these people have laid their eyes on those mountain tops, it’s been our dream to reach there.
Hiking at high altitudes usually reward you with pleasant views. You feel like you don’t want to turn back.
How High is Actually High Altitude for Hikers?
High altitude simply refers to the height above 2,400 meters (7,874 ft.) from sea level.
West Maroon Creek Trail in Colorado, Precipice Trail in Acadia National Park, Angel’s Landing, Zion National Park in Utah, and John Muir Trail in California are some of the high-altitude hikes in the US. Some part of these trails take you above 2,400 meters.
A normal human body can feel the change in temperature and oxygen level starting from that altitude. The pressure in the air starts to change and the presence of oxygen in the air starts to decline. With the decreased oxygen supply your body won’t function properly.
So, your lifetime memorable hike can end up being a terrifying one that can be a great disappointment causing you a health problem. Prepare enough before you visit any of the high altitude hiking destinations.
How to Train for High Altitude Hiking?
Change in altitude makes it difficult to get properly adjusted in the high altitude. Because of which many people who do the high altitude trekking take a day or two days rest as to acclimate to adopt the changing altitude. The minor thing you do before you go to a high altitude area for hiking or any other purposes is that you take a trail day.
Visit any hills near your locality that will give you a glimpse of how high altitude might affect you. Some preparations that you need to make before doing the high altitude trekking is to make yourself prepared for the hike you will be doing.
You May be interested in Best Energy Bars for High Altitude Hiking.
Dealing with Altitude Sickness and Weather at High Altitudes
The fore and foremost rule of high altitude trekking are to walk high and sleep low. You will be hiking in the upper regions or high altitudes in the day and sleep in a lower area than you hiked at night. This will reduce the chances of suffering from the Acute Mountain Sickness (A.M.S) aka Altitude Sickness.
The other utmost thing you should not ever forget when doing a hike, the trek is staying hydrated. Water in your body is wasted in the form of sweat at a large amount while you trek. And being dehydrated is the worst condition.
So, make sure to drink a lot and a lot of water. Drink about 2 – 3 litres on the day of acclimatization. While the water makes you hydrate the booze and alcohol exactly do the opposite. So, do not even think about having alcohol while you are doing a high altitude trek. Doing so, you can get yourself in a fatal situation along with your hiking team.
The next thing you shall be prepared before doing a high altitude trek is remembering that as you ascend a certain altitude it gets cooler more and more. The winds are extremely fast and cold as well. So, buckle in the warmest clothes you have like down jackets, warm sweaters or anything that makes you feel warm. Staying warm is the main priority.
When you hike at a higher altitude and do not get enough clothes, things might get serious soon. You may suffer from a problem that may ruin you a couple of years or even a life sometimes.
While there are many possible ways of buying high altitude medications, firstly consult with your family doctor and get high altitude medications. That will help you if you feel any symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness.
Training for High Altitude Hiking
Hiking in high altitude is not like walking in the park. With extreme difficulty and dedication, one can go close or beyond the clouds to see what heaven lies there. So before you start your hike aiming for the high altitude there are plenty of things you need to know before.
Your physical fitness: Before you step out for a hike, know how much you can push yourself into. Try to run half an hour at a constant pace and strengthen your leg muscles. If you think you are in shape and have been doing regular exercises then the hike might not be difficult for you.
Know your health condition: Hiking out in the high altitude will involve a lot of exercises and flow of blood pressure. So it would be a good idea if you consult medical personnel before going out for a hiking trip. If you have a cardiovascular problem, blood pressure problem then hiking to high altitude places might not be a suitable choice for you.
Improve your breathing forms, shoulder and leg muscles: As a one-stop solution for all these activities can be obtained with swimming. Try to swim once or twice a week prior to going on a hike. Some strokes of swimming can increase your capacity to hold breath and as we all know swimming is a great exercise to build our whole body. That will do the rest of the things. Again, if you want to improve your leg muscles and make it stronger than you can try climbing up and downstairs for half an hour daily.
Adding a backpack in your back will help you in the hike as you have to hike putting all your supplies in the back. So, it’s a great idea to check how much you can carry and travel. The next thing is to run. Run daily putting a backpack for about half an hour or a complete hour at a constant pace. This will be a great help during your hiking period. If you are planning to do your first hike, then you genuinely need to spend a month or two in the gym that will prepare you for the trek.
Tips for High Altitude Hiking
There are other things that you need to do in order to make the most out of your hike.
These ideas will help you to do your hike with fewer difficulties and minimize the risk of suffering from Altitude Sickness.
- Climb Slowly and Steadily: Don’t rush in order to reach faster. In the end, we all are going to the same place. So don’t rush. Take plenty of rest on the acclimatization day. Mark that you will be walking the next day also, don’t push off your limits during a hike. Remember slow and steadily always reach the place in a fine condition. While most of the people rush in a trek, they suffer from altitude sickness and fall back after reaching a certain altitude.
- Drinking a lot of Water: Even if I have mentioned the importance of water in a hike. I will repeat it again. Drink Water and stay hydrated. That’s nearly an 80% solution for the problems you may face in the hike.
You may also like to know about “best energy bars for high altitude hiking”