Sunday, February 8, 2015

Tips for High Altitude Treks in the Himalayas

Descending from Gorak Shep with Pumori in the background
This year South Col Expeditions has a number of long high altitude treks. There is fourteen days in Mustang, sixteen days around Manaslu and seventeen days in the Everest region crossing Cho La and Rhenjo La passes!

These long treks do make it very difficult as other than the walking there is also the discomfort of high altitude, cold,  basic toilets, repetitive food and lack of creature comforts. So how do you pace yourself for a trek like this so that you are not losing heart half way through?

Here are some tips:
  • Drink plenty of water and stay well hydrated right through the walk - two to three litres a day is mandatory especially at heights above 3000 metres.
  • Sleep at night with your window or tent flap open just a crack- you need fresh oxygen to breathe no matter how cold it is!
  • If you feel breathless, often sleeping in a semi reclining position helps to ease the breathing - prop yourself  up your pillow or rucksack!
  • If you have a past history of altitude sickness you may consider starting with diamox 125 mg twice daily - consult  a physician before starting diamox.
  • Never get cold - it takes a long time to warm up once you are frozen!
  • Carry a water bottle which can take hot water - for those really cold high altitude nights put the water bottle with hot water in the sleeping bag, your toes will warm up instantly!
  • Wear layers so that you can peel on layers and take off layers depending on the weather conditions!
  • You often reach camp or a lodge in the early afternoon - carry  a book to read or music on your phone so that the evenings are not too long and boring!
  • Before a climb eat something like a power bar or chocolates - the extra energy will help you get the to the top with less difficulty!
  • Carry the essentials in your daypack - some food, warm jacket, cap, gloves, water, sun glasses, sun block cream, some essential medicines so that you can be self sufficient during the day.
  • Do not stay wet and sweaty once you reach camp - change into dry clothes immediately!
  • Walk at a speed which you are comfortable with - don't worry too much about the speed hiker ahead of you who always reaches camp first!
  • Carry trekking poles - these are essential while crossing a stream or coming down a steep ridge!
  • If you expect snow at the passes or frozen sections of the trail, a pair of microspikes can prove useful!
  • Put your gloves, socks and cap inside your sleeping bag at night so that they are warm and toasty in the morning!
  • Stop before you are exhausted - it is best to walk for forty five minutes and take  a five minute breather!
For more details on trekking in the Himalaya do visit


  1. Excellent Piece. Thanks for sharing these valuable tips Sujoyda !

  2. "Hi Sujoy…
    Trailing through the enthralling Himalayan Range can be awarding and tricky like going for King Midas’ wish. Your points seem handy to scratch off some basic worries during one’s trip. Some of these tips are really cool I must say."

    1. Thanks for visiting and happy trekking!

  3. You seem to be specialist in high altitude trekking good tips

    1. Thanks Umesh, I do quite a number of them!



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