How to select an Adventure Travel Operator
Adventure comes with its own thrill and also risk, Adventure not necessarily means putting oneself through uncalculated risks, hence choosing the right adventure travel operator or service provider is very important to have a good adventure outing in the safest way
When one is planning to take up any adventure activity, getting information on the operator should be a priority. Here is an operator checklist for your reference that you should ask the operator of your choice:
What to carry individually
What to carry for the group
Preparing for High Altitude Trek
There is a huge difference between hiking on flat terrain and trekking uphill and downhill or higher altitude. You need to keep in mind that walking for consecutive days is very different from single day walks/treks. Before any big trek, it is always good to increase physical fitness levels, the key to training lies in slow but steady progress.
Suggested plan to prepare for High Altitude Treks:
General Health in Outdoors
Stomach: Loss of appetite is very common during long trips, and especially at higher altitudes, but one must take small quantities of food at regular intervals if you do not feel too hungry at all.
Before you go:
Ears & Nose: Ascending to higher altitude can increase problems to ears and nose, you could have blockage, sunburn and also in very low temperature they are venerable to cold injuries/frost bites.
Rest/Sleep: Good rest is very necessary when one is on any adventure trip, even though at higher altitudes there could be disturbed sleep in the first few nights getting good rest is a must. Better acclimatization process usually improves sleep.
Skin: Skin is under constant strain during outdoor activities, exposure to sun and cold weather can lead to excess tanning, dryness and skin problems. Skin needs intense protection and nourishment.
Eyes: Outdoor activities come with the challenge sun light and UV radiation and at higher altitude it can burn the eyes if they are not protected. Good pair of sunglasses is necessary even when it is cloudy, as UV rays can get through clouds. On glaciers or snow covered mountain goggles are mandatory as exposure to reflection may cause temporary blindness.
Feet: It makes all the difference; as your feet are subjected to a lot of pressure across all type of terrain. Duration of the trek, footwear and weight of the back-pack all impact the feet to an extent of 1.5-2 times the body weight. Sore feet, blisters, sprain, fungal infection can easily cripple even the best of the trekker, hence:
Heart: Trekking in higher altitude/steep trails/long duration can have several affects on your heart. Blood pressure levels may go up during treks/hikes even in lower altitudes. It higher altitude due to the increase in red blood cells (produced to carry more oxygen), it may result in blood thickening, making the circulation slower, hence drinking plenty of fluids is very critical.
Heart patients, people with BP complains (both high & low) should consult a doctor and take mandatory medical check-up and medicines before taking up any strenuous trekking activity.
High Altitude Management
Mountain Sickness or Altitude Sickness occurs in low atmospheric pressure conditions and not necessarily in low oxygen conditions at sea level pressure.
Although treatable to some extent by the administration of oxygen, most of the symptoms do not appear to be caused by low oxygen, but rather by the low CO2 levels causing a rise in blood pH. The percentage of oxygen in air remains essentially constant with altitude at 21% up until 21330 Ft. Air pressure (and therefore the number of oxygen molecules) drops as altitude increases - consequently, the available amount of oxygen to sustain mental and physical alertness decreases above 3050 meters.
Altitude sickness usually does not affect persons traveling in aircraft because modern aircraft passenger compartments are pressurized at an air pressure equivalent to an altitude of 2440 meters.
High altitude can be defined as an altitude where there is an increase in atmospheric pressure leading to lower oxygen molecules in air.
Types of High Altitude Illness
AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness)
The condition indicates that your body is not being acclimatized to its current altitude. An ‘ideal’ altitude where your body is in balance will most likely be the last elevation at which you slept.
Headache is a primary symptom of altitude sickness, but headache can also be due to dehydration
Headache occurring at an altitude above 2400 meters combined with one or more of the following symptoms, can indicate altitude sickness
HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema)
This is another form of severe altitude that results in fluid in the lungs. It often occurs with AMS, it is not felt to be related and the classic signs of AMS may be absent.
HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Edema)
Mountain sickness can be from mild to life-threatening. At the "severely ill" end is a condition called HACE; this is when the brain swells and ceases to function properly.
HACE can progress rapidly, and can be fatal in a matter of a few hours to one or two days.
Persons with this illness are often confused, and may not recognize that they are ill.
HADE (High Altitude Dumb Edema)
HADE causes temporary intelligence loss due to reduced oxygen in the blood supplying the brain. Unlike HACE and HAPE, HADE often occurs at modest altitudes and can be artificially induced even at sea level by drinking too much beer.
Hypothermia is a result of low body temperature caused by cold ambient temperature; the most common cause of death in the wilderness.