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<< Altitude Sickness
A l t i t u d e S i c k n e
No other mountains deserve the
kind of respect the Himalaya do in terms of altitude. As the Himalayan Rescue
Association likes to point out : 'The Himalaya start where other mountains leave
off.' Remember it is the sleeping altitude that is critical. Acclimatization
susceptibility to altitude sickness. Men and women are equally susceptible and
children more so.
The way to prevent altitude
sickness is to give the body enough time to get used to the rarefied air. A slow
and steady ascent is vital. Adequate hydration is also helpful. The body is
constantly losing fluid from the lungs and the skin in the high, dry
environment. Drink enough to maintain a clear and abundant urine output. Other
measures include eating a high carbohydrate diet, climbing high during the day
and coming lower down to sleep, and to mild to moderate activity during the
rather than just lie around.
The drug of choice for altitude
is Acetazolamide (Diamox), a sulpha drug. It hastens acclimatization, increases
breathing, reduces alkalinity and diuretic fluids. The usual regimen is 125 to
250 mg twice a day, starting 24 hours before ascent, and continuing through the
first 24 hours at altitude. Almost all altitude problems can be avoided if
symptoms are recognized and acted upon. The warning signs are headache, lack of
appetite, nausea, feeling of tiredness, and sometimes vomiting. This stage of
mild mountain sickness can be treated with aspirin or Diamox for headache and
something mild for the nasea and vomiting.
The Trekkers Medical
The Trekker Medical Kit - The
suggested list includes prescription items, so consultation with a physician is
If crossing malarial areas: Malarial prophylactics
and mosquito repellent.
Wound disinfectant: Moleskin, second skin or cloth
Adhesive strips: Band-aids in different sizes.
Gauze pads and rolls: elastic bandage.
Analgesics: Aspirin or Tylenol, Tylenol with
Ciprofloxacin, Bactrim DS or
Septra DS, Erythromycin, Gentamycin eyedrops, any skin antibiotic.
Anti-diarrholes: Lomotil, Pepto-Bismol, Imodium.
Anti-nausea drug: Pheregan, Compazine
For High altitude: Diomax
Altitude & Distances
Maps of survey of India and
state gazetteers have been as reference for the altitude and distances of the
peaks passes and other prominent destinations. The altitude of lesser known
places is based on the personal approximations comparisons and consultation with
maps and judgments by other traveler. Distances in most trails are also result
of personal approximations and confirmation by fellow trekkers.
The maps of survey of India
also have been consulted as references to get the exact distances between two
It is important to note that
while trekking the distances that appear to the eye may not be correct besides
the individual judgment about the length of the trek depends upon fatigue mood
weather and state of fitness. Moreover one person will give different distances
between two different places at different times.
There is difference in
assessment of the same trek by the locals and trekkers visiting from outside.
Terms like very near far steep difficult easy are subjective. Therefore general
description can be different depending upon the person concerned.
Golden rule is to start early
in the morning . one must start at the day break no matter what the distance is
this is more important when one is ascending the pass as a rule last leg of the
journey from the base of pass to the camping ground across the pass must be
started at about 5 am in many cases trekkers have to start even earlier the rule
applies to almost all passes except low lying passes like Jalsu and Baleni. But
in these also one shouldn't delay the start.
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