High Altitude Trekking is one of the best ways to get in touch with nature and enjoy the beautiful world around you.
Here are some life threatening dangers you need to be aware of on your next trek.
Dehydration during High Altitude Trekking
This may be the biggest danger on the trail especially high altitude trekking in the Himalayas. Many people underestimate the amount of water they need when engaged in a vigorous activity. At an altitude one looses more water than then at lower altitudes while breathing because of the dry air. Due to the lower temperatures people don’t feel like drinking water and end up being dehydrated. Signs of dehydration include thirst, sticky and dry mouth, reduced urine output, headache, dizziness and fatigue. Drink at least 3 liters of water for 4-5 Hours of hike, you can drink more than that but not less.
In addition to drinking plenty of water, you must protect yourself from the sun during high altitude trekking. Due to the thin atmosphere, UV rays can cause extreme sun damage which can lead to infection, shock, and even death. Sun damage can also cause mutations in the skin that may result in skin cancer. Use sunscreen and reapply often, wear a wide-brimmed hat and wear clothing to protect your skin from the sun if possible. Bandanas and protective clothing are more effective than sunscreens.
Whether you are talking about plants, insects or other animals are aware that poisonous living things lurk on the trail. Know how to recognize poisonous trees, plants, shrubs etc. The simplest way in the Himalayas is to ask a shepherd or villager you find en route.
Just as dangerous are the parasites/leeches you may encounter on the trail,especially during the rainy season in the Himalayas. Don’t ever drink or swim in stagnant water, which can be the home of worms, bacteria and even deadly amoebas.
The weather during high altitude trekking can be extremely dangerous for a hiker. You should take care to track the weather before you hit the trail, and have a plan in case of inclement weather erupts when you are in the middle of your hike. I had a very bad experience while we were trekking in Sikkim,India. During an overnight camp in Dzongri,a storm with gale force winds blew our tents away during the night. The lack of sleep meant a lot of my friends the following day had AMS(Acute Mountain Sickness).
During high altitude trekking carry a weather radio if possible so that you can get updates on any storms heading your way.Also make sure someone knows where you are in case the worst case scenario comes your way.
You can read our tip for High Altitude Trekking Here