Acclimitisation for Trekking in the Himalayas

Acclimitisation for Trekking in the Himalayas. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting the Himalayas on 2 occasions.  There is 5 years between my 2 trips to Nepal and both were very different experiences.  Different in my own training and abilities but also in the organisation I traveled with, the support I received in the preparation and then also in the programme and acclimitisation of the trek when I got there.

The 2nd trip was back in September/October 2017 and I traveled over with Ian Taylor Trekking to complete the Everest Base Camp trek and on to climb Island Peak.

Acclimitisation for Trekking in the Himalayas

Acclimitisation for Trekking in the Himalayas

The small differences in the approach of the trek up to Base Camp actually made a huge difference to the whole experience. This time around we set off slow and remained at that pace through the whole trek.  It had a very positive effect on my body.  I’ve experienced the effects of going faster at altitude and it really pushes your body more than is needed.  It ads on unnecessary stress and fatigue, things you want to avoid at altitude.

The main areas of focus were:

  • Training
  • Pace
  • Distance
  • Nights spent acclimatising
  • Water/Hydration

Acclimitisation for Trekking in the Himalayas

Acclimitisation for Trekking in the Himalayas

Train:

I applied the recommended training in the run up to the trip.  Regular hiking with weight in bag from 10kg to 15kg.  A mix of cardio and weight training was incorporated into my weekly routines along with some 2 day hikes in the weekend.

Pace:

We took on a slow and steady pace. Probably the slowest pace I have ever done on a hike.  Slow, methodical steps one after the other all the way.  It made a world of difference in tiredness, energy levels and acclimitisation.

My advice is keep the steps like this and it will be a lot more of an enjoyable experience.  Ignore people rushing past you, they will probably feel the pain later on when they get higher.  Trust me on that!! Their bodies may find it harder and longer to adjust.  Don’t unnecessarily put your body under strain.  It helps that you are surrounded by the most amazing views.

Namche Bazaar

We spent 3 nights in the Namache which is generally a 2 night stop.  This gave us extra time to rest, acclimitise more and adjust to the altitude.

Water

The first time I went to the Himalayas, I drank about 2-3 litres per day.   This time around it was 5-6 litres per day. It really contributed again the acclimitisation, hydration and energy levels.

People experience altitude differently and the effects can be the same. My first time at high altitude I had loss of appetite, low energy at times, sleep interruption and a dodgy stomach.  From the adjustments of pace, hydration and an improved acclimitisation programme the 2nd time around, I had my appetite for the whole trip. I still had some symptoms of an elevated pulse and the odd dodgy stomach but it was worlds apart from the symptoms from the last time.  I really put it down to the change in acclimation on this trip.

Embrace the training, hydration and pace tips to give yourself the best possible chance to experience one of the most amazing places in the world.

Emma Hickey, Everest Base Camp and Island peak 2017.

One thought on “Acclimitisation for Trekking in the Himalayas

  1. Thanks Emma. I appreciate you sharing your first hand experience. Very helpful for me as I prepare for trek in 11/19. I’m more concerned with hydration as in accessibility to water etc

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