For more than a month now, I’ve been chronicling my Everest Base Camp adventure over at Gadling, and today’s entry is the final one in my “Himalayan High” series. In this piece I wanted to spot light some of the dangers of making the trek, and while hiking in the Himalaya isn’t inherently more dangerous than visiting a lot of other adventure travel destinations, there are a few issues to be aware of before you go.
Most of these won’t be a huge surprise for regular readers here. Altitude is the most prevalent danger, and it has an impact on just about every aspect of the trek, including your schedule, appetite, sleep patterns, energy levels, and so on. Altitude is one of those odd things that is difficult to prepare for no matter what you do. That is, unless you live in or near the mountains and can train above 8000 feet before you go. I wasn’t so lucky, nor were any of the other members of my trekking group, and while we all suffered some side effects from the thin air, most of us made it to Base Camp and survived the experience little worse for wear. When it comes to altitude, the best advice is go slow, stay hydrated, and use Diamox if needed.
Another issue that trekkers have to deal with is the dreaded Khumbu Cough, which can be painful and difficult to shake. The dry air, combined with the dust in the Khumbu Valley, and exertion you’re putting on your lungs, can irritate the bronchi in your respiratory system, bring on this awful, hacking cough. Pretty much all of us had it to some degree or another as well, with mine getting particularly bad after I came home.
Aside from that, you have the normal health related problems that come with travel to just about any third world country. GI issues brought on by the food and water are prevalent, although I thankfully escaped without any problems there. Hiking those uneven trails can also result in twisted ankles, or worse, but that wasn’t an issue for any of my fellow trekkers, although there were a couple of times that people stumbled and fell, resulting in minor bruising. Injuries like these become more likely when you’re tired, but regular breaks on the trail, plus going at a reasonable pace, help to keep them at a minimum.
So, this wraps up my series of Everest Trek reports. I’m sure I’ll be referencing it from time to time in future articles I write, but for now, I’m putting the trek behind me and looking ahead to future adventures. That said however, if you have questions about the trek, feel free to drop me a note. I’m happy to share my thoughts and experiences and offer any advice I can. I can be reached at KungFuJedi@gmail.com.
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