Today’s edition of my “Himalayan High” series over at Gadling focuses on physically preparing for the trek to Everest Base Camp. It is my philosophy that in order to get the most out of a trip of this kind, you need to be as prepared as possible ahead of time. I don’t want to not enjoy myself while on the journey because I’m miserable and struggling to make the hike. With that in mind, I put together some ideas on how to prepare if you want to make the journey for yourself.
As I stated in the Gadling post, I’m an avid runner. Most weeks I run at least five to six times, averaging in the neighborhood of five miles a run. That gave me a good base from which to start my preparation, as I felt that I already had a good level of cardio. But, in order to get even more prepared, I added some hills to my workout. Living in Austin, Texas, I’m not very far above sea level, and can’t train at altitude. But we do have plenty of hills, so I came up with a six mile route that was intense to say the least. When I arrived in the Himalaya though, I was happy for all the work I did ahead of time.
Of course, you don’t have to be a runner to enjoy the trek, and in fact, you probably don’t have to prepare at all if you don’t want to. But the preparation will probably save you a lot of pain and suffering on the trail and help you to enjoy your experience there that much more. Other suggestions I had for physically preparing were to take good, long, brisk walks, preferably wearing a pack with a similar load that you’ll be carrying. Cycling and swimming are also great alternatives too, as is just about anything that gets your cardio working.
I would also say that there are certain things that you can never prepare for, no matter what you do. For example, altitude. It is a concern on some levels for nearly everyone, and unless you already live at altitude, you’ll likely have to deal with it on some level. On my trek, we all had our issues to some degree or another, with a number of people having to use Diamox to stay healthy. Most of us suffered from headaches that ranged form a minor irritation all the way up to a pounding thud that stuck with the person all day long. Fortunately for myself, I really didn’t have too many problems, although I did have issues sleeping, which after 12 days on the trail can really take its toll on you. The best you can do when it comes to altitude is to go slow, take your time, rest often, and drink plenty of water. Even doing that however, we still had two people in our group that couldn’t complete the trek to BC.
A trip to Everest is an expensive one, even if you’re just making the trek, and I’d hate to see someone go and not be able to reach their planned destination. By working a little harder before you go, you can make sure that it’s a more enjoyable and successful trip when you get there. It might allow you to enjoy the scenery a bit more too, when you’re not hunched over gasping for air. 😉
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