Last week Peregrine General Manager, Steve Wroe, imparted some wisdom on what to pack for a Himalaya hike. This week, the Himalaya veteran talks about how to physically prepare for the trek, and how best to tackle it once you've set off.
Before you leave:
- Don’t stress too much about being uber-fit. Obviously, the fitter you are the more you will enjoy it, but at the end of the day you just need to be able to walk for hours on end. There are lots of stairs and hills, so prepare by doing anything to strengthen your glutes and quads. Cross trainers are good, as is any form of general cardio. A few day walks with your boots and packs before you set off will help break in your gear and get you used to it. Some 6+ hour walks will also get you used to being on your feet for long stretches.
On the trek:
- Take your time. It’s not a race. Those who do try and rush to the lodge first miss out on all the good scenery, usually end up getting heli-vacced down and suffer the most from altitude. It’s not a fast walk or power walk. After all, there's nothing to do at the lodges when you get there anyway! Take your time. On Peregrine trips, we have plenty of sherpas so the group can spread out. A good rule is this: If you can’t comfortably hold a conversation as you are going along, slow down!
- Keep hydrated. Water is the key to preventing acute mountain sickness. You should be upping your litres in the months leading up to the trek. If you're not urinating frequently or if your urine is yellow on the trek, you're not drinking enough.
- Diamox – make sure you tell the leader if you take it. Don’t bother until you get over 3500-4000m, unless of course you start feeling symptoms. Panadol and aspirin are handy to take for headaches – but NOTHING with codeine in it as that can be dangerous at altitude.