All you need to know about Mera Peak climbing

Posted May 9th, 2021 under Blog, Photo Essay, Travel Guide, Trekking & Hiking,

Mera Peak Climbing
If you are thinking of some great Himalayan adventure, Mera Peak climbing can be a wonderful start. Situated in the Makalu Barun Valley next to Khumbu Valley, Mera Peak (6476m) is the highest trekking peak of Nepal. You can see the awe-inspiring views of majestic mountains like Cho Oyu (8201m), Lhotse (8516m), Makalu (8463m), Kanchenjunga (8586m), and Mount Everest (8848m) from the top of Mera Peak. The adventure can be done in relatively shorter period of time and is less strenuous compared to serious mountain climbing as Mera Peak is not a technical mountain. Nevertheless, its 6000m+ Himalayan peak and it comes with some challenges. So, here is some information that will help you if you want to embark on this amazing adventure.

Why climb Mera Peak ?

Climbing Mera Peak doesn’t just come with a sense of achievement but also with the amazing experience of stunning mountain views, picturesque villages, wonderful forests, diverse culture, beautiful landscapes and many more. It’s a full package that offers all aspects of a Himalayan encounter. Although this trip is physically demanding, it requires relatively little climbing technique and can be climbed by beginner who is physically fit.

Is it difficult to climb Mera Peak?

Mera Peak (6476m) is the highest trekking peak of Nepal. But it doesn’t consist of steep technical climb like other expedition peaks. So, even if you are a beginner then climbing this peak isn’t that strenuous for you. But, due to altitude, snowy condition and geographical extremities, it’s not a piece of cake. You still need some basic alpine skills and be able to use gears such as climbing boots, crampons, climbing helmet, ice axe etc. You don’t need to worry about this as you will have enough time at the Base Camp to learn these skills. Just make sure that you hike gradually, hydrate well, and eat healthy food to reach the summit in best physical condition.

What are the trainings required for Mera Peak?

It all depends on how often do you hike and trek in the Himalaya or high altitude conditions. If you are a regular trekker, then climbing Mera Peak isn’t that strenuous for you. However, it doesn’t mean that it is all easy to reach the summit. In order to ascend Mera Peak, you need to build good core and length strength along with endurance power. You have to put in the right training schedule and follow it every day before the trip. Lunges, squats, step aerobics, cardio vascular trainings are some of the physical activity that you can include in your daily practice. It is also equally important to have prior experience of altitudes. And yes! Always remember mental preparation is a must which keeps you focused and confident to achieve whatever your goal is.

Mera Peak Climbing

On the way to Mera Peak

What to eat and where to stay during the trip?

You need comfortable accommodation and healthy food to stay fit and energized during the trip. For that, you can find lodges or teahouses strewn along the trail. Camping can also be a good option for overnight stay if you want to unplug and enjoy the simplicity of nature. But, it is not preferred much nowadays due to the availability of teahouses. You can find many options of  foods like potato dishes, noodle dishes, rice dishes, dal bhat, egg dishes that are perfect for the hungry trekkers who need calorie replenishment.

Clothing and Gears

It is mandatory that you have the required gear and equipment for the trip. You have to seek advice for climbing equipment, boots, harness etc. from the company that’s helping you for the trip. You can either buy or rent them. Not just climbing gears, you also need to have proper clothes for trekking and climbing. You need to have clothes and sleeping bag that can keep you warm in a -30-degree centigrade weather. A comfortable footwear is a must both for climbing and trekking. Make sure that you have worn them both prior to your trip.

Which is the best season to climb Mera Peak?

Well, each trekking season has its own excitement and atmosphere, but if you want to have some assurance about the weather conditions during the trek, be sure to stick to high seasons. Among the four seasons, Spring ( March – May ) and Autumn (Sep – Nov) can be considered as the best seasons to ascend Mera Peak as the skies are clear and temperature is favorable during these months. It is very difficult to climb in summer as the temperature is high and there is a high risk of falling of stones and melting glacier. And you can’t also be able to see the expansive views due to fog and rainfall in this season.  In winter, temperature goes below -15 degree celsius which leads to the heavy snowfall and risk of avalanche in the trip.

 What permits do you need to climb Mera Peak ?

If you want to trek in Nepal, permit is compulsory for you. Following permits are needed in order to climb Mera peak.

  • TIMS ( Trekking Information Management System ): Every trekker trekking in Nepal requires TIMS card. Tims card is for the safety and security of the trekkers.
  • Makalu Barun National Park entry fee: Since Mera peak lies in Makalu Barun National Park, you need to pay park entry fee before trekking in the area.
  • Mera Peak climbing permit: You need to pay certain amount in order to climb Mera Peak. Mera Peak permit is different in each season. Since Spring and Autumn are considered as high trekking seasons, the charge for climbing the peak during is about USD 250 and USD 125 respectively. Whereas in low Season i.e. Summer and Winter, the permit for climbing the peak is around USD 70. Nepal Mountaineering Association issues the permit to ascend Mera Peak.

How to avoid altitude sickness?

It doesn’t matter where you go in the Himalayas of Nepal, you are likely to encounter serious altitude. During Mera Peak climbing also, altitude sickness is a concerning matter due to thin air and less oxygen. So, in this condition if you don’t take the right precautions. it can ruin your trekking experience. Better be prepared than feel sorry! Here are some of the tips to avoid altitude sickness while you climb Mera Peak.

  • Climb slowly: Always remember, climb slowly while you ascend Mera Peak. Climbing slowly can help you adjust the level of oxygen in your body and there is a less chance that you gain altitude sickness.
  • Acclimatize properly: You should consider rest for 1 or 2 days if you are trekking in high altitude areas. Acclimatization helps you to adapt to the high altitude environment and assist you to avoid altitude sickness.
  • Drink enough water: If you stay hydrated, it may prevent you from altitude sickness. But don’t drink too much water as it dilutes your body’s sodium level that may lead to weakness or nausea which is similar to AMS.
  • Be psychologically prepared: If you are too worried that you might get altitude sickness while trekking in high altitude then sometimes the psychological factor may lead you to get altitude sickness. Always stay positive and enjoy the great views during the trip.

Mera Peak Climbing

Mera Peak Trek Distance, Time and Elevation

Day 01: Kathmandu to Lukla

Distance       Flight Hours Elevation Gain

138 km         30 mins      1400m – 2860m

Day 02 : Lukla to Chutanga

Distance    Walking Hours    Elevation Gain

4.5 km             4 hours             2860m – 3050m

Day 03: Chutanga (Rest Day)

Distance    Walking hours    Elevation Gain

4 km                2-3 hours         3050m – 4000m

Day 04: Chutanga to Thuli Kharka

Distance                Walking Hours    Elevation Gain

8 km – 10.5 km         7 hours           3050m – 4300m

Day 05: Thuli Kharka to Mosum Kharka

Distance    Walking Hours    Elevation Loss

6 km         5-6 hours              4300m – 3700m

Day 06: Mosum Kharka to Tangnag

Distance    Walking Hours    Elevation Gain

5 km              4-6 hours           3700m – 4350m

Day 07: Tangnag (Rest Day)

Distance    Walking Hours    Elevation Gain

2 km                2 hours          4350m – 4500m

Day 08: Tangnag to Khare

Distance    Walking Hours    Elevation Gain

5.3 Km             4 hours          4500m – 5000m

Day 09: Khare to Upper Khare end

Distance    Walking Hours    Elevation Gain

2.5 Km         3 hours                5000m – 5350m

Day 10: Upper Khare end to Campsite

Distance    Walking Hours    Elevation Gain

4.6 Km          3  hours         5350m – 5400m

Day 11: Campsite (Rest Day)

Distance    Walking Hours    Elevation Gain

3 Km           3 hours               5400m – 5800m

Day 12: The Ascent

Distance    Walking Hours    Elevation Gain

6 km                6 hours               5800m – 6476m

Day 13: Contingency Day

Day 14: Campsite – Kothe

Distance    Walking Hours    Elevation Loss

5 km            5 hours                5800 m – 3619m

Day 15: Kothe – Thuli Kharka

Distance    Walking Hours    Elevation Gain

4 km                6 hours              3619 m – 4300 m

Day 16: Thuli Kharka – Lukla

Distance    Walking Hours    Elevation Loss

5 km           6 hours            4300 m – 2860 m

Day 17: Lukla – Kathmandu

Distance   Flight Hours     Elevation loss

138 km         30 mins        2860m – 1400m

Mera Peak Climbing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annapurna Circuit Trek – The oldest and the best trek in Nepal

Posted Apr 30th, 2021 under Blog, Photo Essay, Travel Guide, Trekking & Hiking, Trip Report,
Ghayru Village Annapurna Circuit Trek

Ghayru Village

As our operations were closed this Spring, a small team of office staffs decided to do Annapurna Circuit Trek crossing Thorong La at 5416 meters in April. The motive of the trek was to assess the route, check the services, make pictures & videos and also to break the monotony of being shut down for so long.

Annapurna Circuit Trek was one of the most popular treks in Nepal and is still among the favorites of many international trekkers visiting Nepal. It is a beautiful trek that passes through the Marshyangdi Valley and offers great scenery and cultural diversity. The hike up is very scenic with amazing mountain views of Himalayan giants like Annapurna, Gangapurna, Tilicho Peak, Pisang Peak and the Chulu range. Besides the natural beauty, the area is also very culturally rich with ancient traditions of the Gurungs and the Manange people, beautiful and old monasteries and quaint settlements of the locals. For the wildlife, Himalayan Thars, Monals, Musk Deer and even the elusive Snow leopard can be spotted while on the trek.

Lower Pisang Village

Lower Pisang Village

In terms of difficulty, the trek is a fairly challenging trek and the major highlight of this trek is crossing the Thorong La Pass at an altitude of 5416 meters and arriving in Muktinath, a religious town following the Kali Gandaki Valley. Overall, Annapurna Circuit trek is a classic trek and one of the most diverse treks in Nepal. The extensions of the roads have cut the trek short but the trek is without doubt one of the most fantastic trekking experiences in the world. If you are planning to embark on this beautiful journey, the following tips might come in handy to you.

Annapurna Circuit Trek Itinerary:

The main logic behind a standard itinerary for a Himalayan trek is not to miss a single highlight and yet get well acclimatized at the same time for a successful trip. The development in Nepal has resulted in road construction even in the remotest parts of the country and affected many treks in Nepal. Similar is the case in Annapurna Circuit trek as well. The trek which used to take 22 days in the past can now be done in half the time with an extension to Tilicho lake, one of the highest glacial lakes in the world.  To skip the roads, not miss any major highlights and get well acclimatized while trekking up, we suggest you the below itinerary and tips:

Day 1: Drive to Chame (Approx. 2650m) via Besisahar

Drive time: 10 – 11 hours (4 -5 hrs black topped road and 5 hrs off road)

Lunch: Besisahar

Lodge: Hotel New Shangrila

Tip: It is always good if you leave Kathmandu early after breakfast. Though local transportation is available, it is good to hire a private vehicle, especially for the off-road section.

Day 2: Trek to Upper Pisang (Approx. 3300m)

Walk time: 5-6 hours

Lunch: Dhikur Pokhari

Lodge: Hotel Manang Marshyangdi

Day 3: Trek to Ngawal (Approx. 3650m)

Walk time: 5-6 hours

Lunch: Ghyaru

Lodge: Hotel Mountain View

Tip: Ghyaru and Ngawal are both beautiful old settlements of the local people. To enjoy these villages, take the upper trail via Ghyaru and get inside the village to explore more.

Day 4: Trek to Manang (Approx. 3519m)

Walk time: 5 hours

Lunch: Bhraka

Hotel: Hotel Tilcho

 Tip: After your lunch, take a visit to one of the oldest and the most beautiful monasteries in the region. The monastery is more than 600 years old with large number of Buddha statues and offers a great view from the top.

 Day 4: Acclimatization day at Manang (Approx. 3519m)

Walk time: 4 hours

Lunch: Manang

Hotel: Hotel Tilcho

Tip: Go for walk to the Gangapurna Lake and follow the trial up to the top of the hill at 4300 meters, a perfect acclimatization day. If you want a longer day, one can also go for an excursion to the Ice Lake.

 Day 5: Trek to Tilicho Base Camp (Approx. 4200m)

Walk time: 4 hours

Lunch: Sri Kharka

Hotel: Hotel New Himalaya

Tip: Watch out for landslide and rockfall sections after Sri Kharka and hour before reaching the Base Camp.

 Day 6: Trek to Tilicho Lake and back to Sri Kharka (Approx. 4080m)

Walk time: 8 hours

Lunch: Tilicho Base Camp

Lodge: Himalayan Hotel

Tip: Start the day pretty early before sunrise with a light meal. After getting back from Tilicho Lake, rest at the Base Camp while enjoying your breakfast.

Tilicho Lake

Tilicho Lake (4919m)

Day 7: Trek to Yak Kharka (Approx. 4018m)

Walk time: 5 hours

Lunch: Yak Kharka

Lodge: Hotel Dream Home

Day 8: Trek to Thorong Phedi (Approx. 4533m)

Walk time: 5 hours

Lunch: Thorong Phedi

Hotel: Thorong Basecamp Lodge

Tip: Watch out for rock fall section about 30 mins before reaching Thorong Phedi.

Day 9: Cross Thorong La (5416 m) and trek to Muktinath and drive to Jomsom (Approx. 2743m)

Walk time: 9 hours, drive 1 hr

Lunch: Packed Lunch

Lodge: Tilicho Lodge

Tip: Make an early start so that you are at the top of the Pass before noon. Get yourself a packed lunch from the hotel to enjoy at the top of the Pass. Keep you crampons ready and trekking poles handy for the descent.

 Also, coordinate with your Agent/Guide to have a vehicle standby at Muktinath to drive to Jomsom.

On the way to the top of Thorong La Pas

On the way to the top of Thorong La Pass

Thorong La Pass (5416m)

Thorong La Pass (5416m)

Day 10: Fly to Pokhara (Approx. 822m)

Tip: If you have a day or two to spare, spend it in Pokhara basking in the beauty of this amazing lakeside city – you won’t regret!

Day 12: Fly to Kathmandu (Approx. 1400m)

Things to Know

 Accommodation

As Annapurna Circuit Trek is one of the oldest and well-connected trekking areas of Nepal, finding accommodations is not a problem during this trek. There are abundant lodges in all the stops with price ranging from USD 10 to USD 120 depending on the level and standard of the services provided. It is only in Thorong Phedi and Thorong High Camp, the two small settlements before the Thorong La pass, accommodations might get a bit tight due to limited availability and the high number of trekkers visiting the area. Just make sure you carry a sleeping bag (-20 Celsius) for a cozy sleep and double check with your agent if they have confirmed the rooms for you.

Fooding

Like accommodation in the Annapurna Circuit Trek, the food availability during the trek is also not a problem. All the lodges will have full menu with food ranging from Nepali, Indian, Italian and continental. We suggest you to be an eggetarian during the trek though meat is available through out. Talk to your guide for the best food to eat as he will have access to the Kitchen. As the popular trekking saying goes, “Dal Bhat Power 24 hour, noodle power only half an hour”, go for local foods especially Dal Bhat, a good mix of carb and protein.

Water

Water can be refilled pretty easily in all the lodges and there are water sources/taps along the trail. We discourage the purchase of bottled water (as it contributes to plastic waste) and therefore suggest to use purification tablets or water filtration systems. One can also buy hot water in the lodges from USD 5-10 depending on how high you are.

Electricity and Charging

Compared to other trekking areas in Nepal, electricity is not a problem in the area. There are good charging facilities in all the lodges and the charges for it is also nominal. It is only at Tilicho Base Camp, Thorong Phedi and Thorong High Camp, there might be some issues with charging as the settlements are on solar back up. Make sure you have a good power bank especially for the nights in these places.

Communication

Annapurna area is well connected in terms of telecommunications and internet facility. You can find mobile network easily to Khangsar and internet connection throughout the trek.  There will be a charge for the usage of internet, which will also be higher as you trek higher.

Equipment

One needs regular trekking gears like boots, hiking pants, good base layers, Dri Fit t shirts, down jackets, Poncho and wind cheater. Sunscreen, sunglass and hats are also very important for the trek. On the technical side, it will be a safe bet to carry ins step crampons and trekking poles which come in very handy for snowy trail and descent after Thorong la pass.

Permits

You will need two governmental permits to complete the trek – Annapurna Area Conservation Project fees (ACAP) and Trekkers Information System Management System ( TIMS).  Your Travel Agent will easily sort both these permits for you.

Getting there

You can hire a jeep straight to Chame from Kathmandu. Options of local transport to Besishar is available and you have to change another vehicle for Chame.

For Muktinath-Jomsom section , local jeep options, both sharing and private hire are available. You can also take a 20 minutes’ flight to Pokhara or take local transport to Pokhara, both available on full hire or individual basis.

Best Time to Travel

Spring season from March till May and the Autumn season from September till December is the best time to visit the region.  During Spring, the sky is clear, days are warm and the views open up really good. Autumn season also has clearer days, good views but is slightly drier and colder compared to Spring.

Winters are also okay to trek if you can cope with the cold.  Just make sure you have enough warm clothes.

The area receives slightly lesser rain compared to other areas due to its topography, especially Manang and upper areas. Hence, once can also trek the area during monsoon.

Khangsar Village Annapurna Circuit Trek

Khangsar Village

(This is a personal account of Anuj Pandey, General Manager of Explore Himalaya Travel and Adventure. For more details on this trek, please go to https://www.explorehimalaya.com/packages/annapurna-circuit-trekking/ .  For any enquiries, contact us at sales@explorehimalaya.com)

 

 

Acute Mountain Sickness: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Posted Apr 25th, 2021 under Blog, Travel Guide,

Everest Trek
No matter where you are, if you go in high altitude without acclimatization then you may face headache, nausea and shortness of breath which is called AMS – Acute Mountain Sickness. Also known as Altitude sickness, Acute Mountain Sickness not only stops people from enjoying high altitude treks, but also make people suffer from HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema ) and HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Edema)  both of which are life threatening. HAPE is a condition which causes fluid to enter the lungs and affect the lungs function whereas HACE is a state in which the brain accumulates extra fluid, swells and stops working properly.

Acute Mountain Sickness has the potential to affect all trekkers from 2500m and higher. At higher altitudes, the pressure of the air decreases which leads to less oxygen in surrounding air. At higher altitudes the air pressure is approximately half that of sea level. AMS is caused by going up high too fast and can be fatal if all the warning signals are ignored. Note that it is not the actual altitude, but the speed at which you reach higher altitudes which causes the problems.

Altitude sickness is preventable. Go up slowly, giving your body enough time to adjust. The ‘safe’ rates for the majority of trekkers is to spend 2-3 nights between 2000m and 3000m before going higher. From 3000m sleep an average of 300m higher each night with a rest day every 900-1000m. It is up to you to recognize the symptoms, and only ascend if you are relatively symptom-free. But if you catch the symptoms in the higher altitude, descend down as soon as possible before the symptoms get worse.

  1. Normal Symptoms
    Don’t expect to feel perfect at altitudes of more than 3000m. There are some normal altitude symptoms that you should expect but not to worry about. Every trekker will experience some or all of these, no matter how slowly they ascend. Some of the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness are:
  • Periods of sleeplessness.
  • Need for more sleep than normal, often 10 hours or more.
  • Occasional loss of appetite.
  • Vivid, wild dreams at around 2500-3800m in altitude.
  • Unexpected momentary shortness of breath, day and night.
  • Periodic breathing that wakes you occasionally – consider taking Diamox.
  • The need to rest/catch your breath frequently while trekking, especially above 4000m.
  • Your nose turning into a full-time snot factory.
  • Increased urination – many trekkers have to go once during the night. (a good sign that your body is acclimatizing)
  1. Mild Symptoms
    You only need to get one of the symptoms to be getting altitude sickness, not all of them. Some of the mild symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness that occurs in high altitude are:
  • Headache

Headache is the symptom of pain in the face, head, or neck which can occur as a migraine, tension-type headache, or cluster headache.  Often a headache comes during the evenings and nearly always worsens during the nights. If you experience headache during high altitude treks then always consider raising your head and shoulders while trying to sleep which sometimes offers partial relief. Never take sleeping tablets.

  • Nausea (feeling sick)

Nausea can occur without other symptoms, but often nausea will develop with a bad headache. If you are better in the morning take a rest day, or if you still feel bad then its better to descend.

  • Dizziness (mild)

If dizziness occurs while walking, stop out of the sun and have a rest and drink. Stay at the closest teahouse.

  • Lack of appetite

One of the major symptoms of altitude sickness is lack of appetite. If you experience loss in appetite which includes not wanting to eat and the idea of food makes you nauseated even if you haven’t eaten for a long time then it might be the symptom of altitude sickness.

In other words, anything other than diarrhea or a sore throat could be altitude sickness. If you have a headache from dehydration, ascending further is not dangerous, but if it’s due to AMS, the consequences could be very serious. You cannot tell the difference, so caution is the safest course. Do not try to deceive yourself and accept that you body needs more time to adapt.

Basic rule: NEVER GO HIGHER WITH MILD SYMPTOMS
If you find mild symptoms developing while walking, stop and relax with your head out of the sun and drink some fluids. If the symptoms do not go away completely then it’s better to stay in same altitude. Or if symptoms get worse, descend down as soon as possible. A small loss of elevation can make a big difference to how you feel and how you sleep. If symptoms develop at night then, unless they rapidly get worse, wait them out and see how you feel in the morning. If the symptoms have not gone after breakfast then have a rest day or descend. If they have gone, consider having a rest day or an easy day walk.
Altitude sickness should be reacted to, when symptoms are mild – going higher will definitely make it worse. You trek to enjoy, not to feel sick.

Also note that there is a time lag between arriving at altitude and the onset of symptoms. In fact it is common to suffer mild symptoms on the second night at a set altitude rather than the first night.

3. Serious Symptoms

  • Persistent severe headache
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Ataxia – loss of co-ordination, cannot walk in a straight line, looks drunk
  • Losing consciousness – cannot stay awake or understand things very well
  • Liquid sounds in the lungs
  • Very persistent cough
  • Real difficulty breathing
  • Rapid breathing or feeling breathless at rest
  • Coughing blood or pink goo or lots of clear fluid
  • Marked blueness of face and lips
  • High resting heart beat – over 120 beats per minute
  • Severe lethargy and drowsiness

Mild symptoms rapidly getting worse
Ataxia is the single most important sign for recognizing the progression from mild to severe. This is easily tested by trying to walking a straight line, heel to toe. Compare with somebody who has no symptoms. 24 hours after the onset of ataxia a coma is possible, followed by death, unless you descend.

Basic rule: Immediate and fast descent

  1. Severe Medical Conditions
  • High Altitude Cerebral Oedema (HACE)

This is a build-up of fluid around the brain. It causes the first 4 symptoms of the mild, and the severe symptom lists.

  • High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema (HAPE)

This is an accumulation of fluid in the lungs, and since you are not a fish, this is serious. It is responsible for all the other mild and serious symptoms.

  • Periodic breathing

The altitude affects the body’s breathing mechanism. While at rest or sleeping your body feels the need to breathe less and less, to the point where suddenly you require some deep breaths to recover. This cycle can be a few breaths long, where after a couple of breaths you miss a breath completely, to being a gradual cycle over a few minutes, appearing as if the breathing rate simply goes up and down regularly. It is experienced by most trekkers at 5000m, although many people are unaware of it while sleeping.

  • Altitude immune suppression

At base camp altitudes, cuts and infections heal very slowly. So, for serious infections descend as soon as possible.

Drugs you can take – Diamox (Acetazolamide)
This is a mild diuretic (makes you pee a lot) that acidifies the blood which stimulates breathing. Previously it was not recommended to take it as a prophylactic (ie to prevent it, before you get it) unless you ascend rapidly, unavoidably, or have experienced undue altitude problems previously.

However, now some doctors are coming around to the idea that many people trekking above 3500m should take it using the logic that it has the potential to reduce the number of serious cases of Acute Mountain Sickness as the benefits may outweigh the risks. This topic still requires in depth research. Diamox is a sulfa drug derivative, and people allergic to this class of drugs should not take Diamox. People with renal (kidney) problems should avoid it too. The side effects are peeing a lot, tingling lips, fingers or toes but these symptoms are not an indication to stop the drug.

The older accepted recommendations are to carry it and consider using it if you experience mild but annoying symptoms, especially periodic breathing that continually wakes you up. The dosage is 125 to 250 mg (half to a whole tablet) every 12 hours. Diamox actually helps the root of the problem; so if you feel better, you are better. It does not simply hide the problem. However this does not mean that you can ascend at a faster rate than normal, or ignore altitude sickness symptoms – it is still possible to develop Acute Mountain Sickness while taking it. Note that it was recommended to start taking the drug before ascending for it to be most effective. This is not necessary, but it does help.

Doctors Notes

HACE – can occur in 12 hours but normally within 1-3 days. At first sign of ataxia, begin descent. If it is developed try 4mg of dexamethazone 6 hourly, Diamox 250mg 12 hourly and 2-4l/min O2 or a Gamow bag (if available).
HAPE – descend, Diamox 250mg 12 hourly, Nifed orally, 10mg 8 hourly and 2-4l/min O2 or a Gamow bag.
Oxygen – supplementary O2 does not immediately reverse all the symptoms although it does help significantly. Descent in conjunction with O2 is more effective.
Gamow bag/PAC bag/CERTEC bag – The latest devices to assist with severe Acute Mountain Sickness. Basically, it is a plastic tube that the patient is zipped into. A pump is used to raise the pressure inside the bag simulating going to a lower altitude. It is very effective.
HAF – High altitude farts – slang for HAFE.
HAFE – High altitude flatulence emission. The cure – let it rip! You’re not a balloon that needs blowing up.

AMS Practicals
Rates of acclimatization
Individual rates of acclimatization vary enormously but ascending very rapidly and staying there always result in problems. Even Sherpas who live in Kathmandu upon returning to Khumbu occasionally get Acute Mountain Sickness. Studies have shown that people who live at moderate altitudes (1000m-2000m) are acclimatized to those altitudes. They are much less susceptible to AMS when ascending to around 3000m (ie going to Namche).

However, the benefits decrease once higher and they should follow the same acclimatization program as others. This has implications for people who have spent a week or two in Kathmandu (at an altitude of 1400m/4593ft): they are becoming acclimatized to that altitude. For trekkers that fly from sea level to Kathmandu then almost immediately walk to Namche, they have no advantage and are more likely to suffer AMS. Unfortunately, it is usually these people who are in a hurry to go higher. This is perhaps why it appears that group trekkers are initially more susceptible to troublesome AMS than individual trekkers, who often walk from Jiri or spend time in Kathmandu beforehand.

The acclimatization Process
In a matter of hours your body quickly realizes that there is less oxygen available and it’s first reaction is to breathe more – hyperventilate. This means more oxygen (O2) in but also more carbon dioxide (CO2) is breathed out and with the O2-CO2 balance upset the pH of the blood is altered.

Your body determines how deeply to breathe by the pH level (mainly the dissolved CO2 in your blood) – at sea level a high level of exertion means your muscles produce a lot of CO2 so you breathe hard and fast. While resting, your body is using little energy so little CO2 is produced, demonstrating that you only need to breathe shallowly.
The problem is at altitude this balance is upset and your body often believes that it can breathe less than its real requirements. Over several days your body tries to correct this imbalance by disposing of bicarbonate (CO2 in water) in the urine to compensate, hence the need to drink a lot because it is not very soluble. Diamox assists by allowing the kidneys to do this more efficiently therefore enhancing some peoples’ ability to acclimatize. In addition, after a day or two, the body moves some fluid out of the blood effectively increasing the hemoglobin concentration. After 4-5 days more new red blood cells are released than normal.

Individual rates of acclimatization are essentially dependent on how fast your body reacts to compensate the altered pH level of the blood. For slow starters Diamox can provide a kick-start but for people already adapting well the effect is often less noticeable.
If you stay at altitude for several weeks then there are more changes, your muscles’ mitochondria (the energy converters in the muscle) multiply, a denser network of capillaries develop and your maximum work rate increases slowly with these changes. Expeditions have often run medical programs with some interesting results.
Climbers who experience periodic breathing (the majority) at base camp never shake it off and have great difficulty maintaining their normal body weight. Muscles will strengthen and stamina is increased but not the muscle bulk. Interestingly Sherpas who have always lived at altitude, never experience periodic breathing and can actually put on weight with enough food.

How long does acclimatization last?
It varies, but if you were at altitude for a month or more your improved work rates can persist for weeks meaning you still feel fit upon returning to altitude. You still should not ascend faster than normal if you return to sea level for a few days, otherwise you are susceptible to HAPE.
If you have been to 5000m/16,404ft then go down to 3500m for a few days, returning rapidly to 5000m should cause no problems, ie having been to Lobuche and Kala Pattar, then rested for two days in Namche you should be able to ascend to Gokyo quickly without problems.

Sleeping at altitude
Many people have trouble sleeping in a new environment, especially if it changes every day. Altitude adds to the problems. The decrease of oxygen means that some people experience wild dreams with this often happening at around 3000m. Compound this with a few people suffering from headaches or nausea, a couple of toilet visits, a few snorers and periodic breathers, and it takes someone who sleeps like the proverbial log (or very tired trekker) to ignore all the goings on at night in a large dormitory. Smaller rooms are a definite improvement, and tents, although not soundproof still manage to be relatively peaceful.

Appetite
Some people lose appetite and do not enjoy eating. Sometimes equally worrying, although it is a good sign, is a huge appetite. Your energy consumption, even at rest is significantly higher than normal because your body is generating heat to combat the constant cold, especially while sleeping. Energetic trekkers, no matter how much they eat often be unable to replace the huge quantities of energy used.

Day trips and what to do if…
The normal accepted recommendations are to go high during the day and sleep low at night, the sleeping altitude being the most important. This is fine for trekkers experiencing no AMS symptoms whatsoever, and will probably aid the acclimatization process, for example in the Everest region, going up to Chhukhung from Dingboche or Pheriche, or visiting Thame from Namche. However if you are experiencing mild or even very mild AMS then this is not the best advice. Instead your body is already having trouble coping so it doesn’t need the additional stress of more altitude. Instead stay at the same elevation. Mild exercise is considered beneficial, rather than being a total sloth but take it as a rest day.
If you have troublesome mild symptoms then descent for a few hours may be more beneficial.  

 

 

Popular Trekking in Annapurna Region

Posted Apr 12th, 2021 under Blog, Travel Guide, Trekking & Hiking,

Annapurna Base Camp
One of the most popular trekking areas, Annapurna region is situated in Central Himalaya of Nepal. Annapurna region is the home of amazing mountains of the world, beautiful landscapes, variety of floras and faunas, diverse culture and ethnic communities of Nepal. Some of the gigantic mountains include Annapurna I, Annapurna II, Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchhre and many more. Trekking in Annapurna region gives you the opportunity to experience all these in the most memorable way. We can guarantee that the astonishing scenery along the trek will not only blow your mind away but will also let you have the sense of accomplishment that you will treasure for your whole life.  So, if you want to have some life changing adventures in this amazing region, here is the list of some of the popular treks of the region.

  • Annapurna Base Camp Trek

Trekking in Annapurna

Annapurna Base Camp Trek, one of the most famous and loved trekking in Annapurna region, is an ideal adventure for cultural insight and astonishing views of tallest mountains like Annapurna II (7937 m), Annapurna III (7555 m), Gangapurna (7455 m), Machhapuchhre (6993 m) etc. You can experience the kaleidoscopic beauty of the villages, terrace farmlands, beautiful rhododendron forests and meet friendly local people throughout the trek. The maximum duration of this trek is around 7 days and the maximum elevation is 4130 m (Annapurna Base Camp). If you want to trek in this beautiful place, then autumn and spring are the best seasons as weather is nice during this time and you can experience the most beautiful panoramic views of mountains and glaciers.

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 : Drive to Ghandruk (2012m)

Day 2 : Trek to Upper Sinuwa (2360m)

Day 3 : Trek to Deurali (3200m)

Day 4 : Trek to Annapurna Base Camp (4130m) and return to Machhapuchhre Base Camp (3712m)

Day 5 : Trek to Jhinu (1736m)

Day 6 : Drive to Pokhara (822m)

Day 7 : Return drive to Kathmandu

  • Annapurna Circuit Trek

Tilicho Lake

Annapurna Circuit Trek, known as one of the most diverse treks in Nepal, is a classic trek which takes you all the way from subtropical jungle to high-altitude plateau, reaching to Thorung La pass at 5,419 m. It offers one of the most exciting journey and beautiful life changing experience. This Circuit is often considered to be the best trek not only in Nepal, but also in the world. The reason for this is the stunning vistas and constant views of Annapurna summits as well as the cultural variety from Hindu villages at the low foothills to the Tibetan culture of Manang Valley and lower Mustang in higher elevations. This circuit takes you through terraced paddy fields, sub-tropical forests, rural farmland, high lands and glacial zones. One can also see the majestic views of some of the world’s giant mountains including Annapurna I, Annapurna Massif (I-IV), Manaslu (8,156 meters) and Dhaulagiri (8,176 meters). 

The minimum duration of this challenging and difficult trek is around 15 to 20 days and total distance of this trek varies between 160 and 230 kilometers (100-145 miles), depending on the options one chooses to trek. The periods for trekking Annapurna Circuit are October – early December, and late Feb – March. This trek starts in Besisahar and ends in Tatopani, but road construction has opened up a number of options at both the beginning and end of the trek.

Brief Itinerary

Day 01 – Drive to Besisahar, and Trek to Bulbule

Day 02 – Trek to Chamje (1410m) 

Day 03 – Trek to Bagarchhap (2160m) 

Day 04 – Trek to Chame (2710m) 

Day 05 – Trek to Pisang (3240m) 

Day 06 – Trek to Manang (3540m) 

Day 07 – Acclimatization in Manang 

Day 08 – Trek to Yak Kharka (4120m) 

Day 09 – Trek to Thorung Phedi (4560m) 

Day 10 – reaching Thorung La (5416m), Trek to Muktinath (3802m)  

Day 11 – Trek to Jomsom (2750m)

Day 12 – Drive to Tatopani (1190)

Day 13 – Trek to Ghorepani (2750m) 

Day 14 – Trek to Nayapul, and Drive to Pokhara  

Day 15 – Return drive to Kathmandu

  • Poonhill Trek

Annapurna trek

Poonhill Trek not only gives you the access to classic viewpoints of Annapurna ranges, but also gives you the chance to experience the culture of Gurung communities. You will get to know the ancient trails which connect local communities, pass through beautiful rhododendron forests and paddy terraces, and also get to enjoy the views of fascinating snow covered mountains. It is Nepal’s one of the shortest and easiest trek where you can enjoy the sight of fields and mountains including Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri, Machhapuchhre, Annapurna I and Annapurna South at once.

The maximum duration of this trek is 5 days and maximum elevation you reach is 3210 m (Poonhill). The best season for Poonhill trek is September – November and  March – May. But if you are fond of rhododendrons and beautiful green landscapes, then it’s better to visit Poonhill in April as the whole region will be in full bloom during this time.

Brief Itinerary

Day 1: Drive to Pokhara

Day 2: Drive to Nayapul and start trek to Ulleri (1500m)

Day 3: Trek to Ghorepani (2874m)

Day 4: Trek to Poonhill and return back to Ulleri (1500m)

Day 5: Drive to Pokhara and return back to Kathmandu

  • Tilicho Lake Trek

A trek to world’s highest altitude lake Tilicho lake is a rewarding trek in Nepal that leads you to the magnificent routes along with traditional Manangi villages, beautiful landscapes of gorgeous Himalayan ranges, monasteries, waterfalls and fresh water lakes along the trail. This challenging Trek offers you the astonishing views of gigantic mountains like Annapurna II, Annapurna III, Annapurna IV, Gangapurna, Lamjung Himal, Tilicho Peak, Chulu East and West and many other mountains around the trails. The maximum duration of this trek is about 10 days and the maximum elevation is 4919 m ( Tilicho Lake ). As other treks in Annapurna region, Tilicho Lake Trek is also ideal during March – May and September – February.

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 : Drive to Chame (2650m)

Day 2 : Trek to Pisang (3250m)

Day 3 : Trek to Manang (3540m)

Day 4 : Manang ( Acclimitization )

Day 5 : Trek to Khangsar village (3756m)

Day 6 : Trek to Tilicho Base Camp (4200m)

Day 7 : Trek to Tilicho lake (4919m) and return to Tilicho Base Camp

Day 8 : Trek to Manang (3540m)

Day 9 : Trek to Chame (2650m)

Day 10 : Drive to Pokhara and Return back to Kathmandu

 

Popular Everest Treks

Posted Apr 6th, 2021 under Blog, Travel Guide,

Everest Base Camp Gokyo Trek Are you fond of beautiful landscapes of stunning highest mountains of the world? Do you like to experience highland culture of Sherpas, the brave mountaineers? If yes, trekking in the land of Everest is just for you. The region offers you one of the most life changing experiences and once in a lifetime memory you will never forget. Everest region has world’s famous trekking routes where you will get to witness the world’s highest peak, Everest (8,848m) which is locally known as ‘Sagarmatha’ and several other mountains over 8000m, like- Lhotse, Cho Oyu and Makalu. Apart from the gigantic snow-white mountains, you can experience the culture of local Sherpa community, mountain ecosystem, highest glaciers, and observe wide varieties of plants and animal life in the region. Some of the major attractions of Everest Treks are Namche Bazar and its Sherpa Museum, monasteries at Tengboche, Khumjung and Pangboche, Everest Base Camp, Kalapatthar, Gokyo Lake, three passes that include Cho-La (5300m), Kongma-La (5500m), and Renjo-La (5400m) and many more.

Not just the natural and cultural wonders, the region also has well-developed trails, comfortable teahouses and lodges, and other necessary amenities. So, anyone visiting the region should not have to worry about comfort despite its remoteness. If you ever wish to visit this amazing place, here is a list of some of the popular Everest treks you can pick from.

  • Everest Base Camp Trek:

Namche

Everest is more than a mountain and the journey to its base camp is more than just a trek. Considered as “The Steps To Heaven”, Everest Base Camp Trek, is a spectacular high altitude trek in the mountains of Nepal. One of the most popular Everest Treks in the world where one can experience the jaw-dropping scenery and unique cultural experience, the trek takes us through challenging routes towards the base of the highest mountain. The picturesque views of the world’s highest mountain such as Mt. Everest (8848 m), Mt. Lhotse (8516 m), Mt Makalu (8485 m), Mt. Amadablam (6812 m), Mt Cho Oyu (8201 m) etc. can be experienced during this trek.

You can begin the trek from Lukla at an elevation of 2840 m. Over the course of the first 8 days, you will slowly make your way further into Sagarmatha National Park as you hike during the day and sleep in local teahouses at night. During the trek, teahouses provide modest selection of foods from typical Nepali dal-bhat, soups, snacks, momos, fried rice to Chinese and continental dishes like noodles, spaghetti, and spring rolls etc.

EBC Trek Overview:

Difficulty: Moderate to hard

Trek duration: 12 days+

Max. elevation: 5,545m

Accommodation: Trekking lodges or tea houses

Starting point: Lukla

EBC Trek Itinerary Overview :

Day 1: Kathmandu – Lukla – Phakding

Day 2: Phakding – Namche bazaar

Day 3: Namche (acclimatization)

Day 4: Namche – Tengboche

Day 5: Tengboche – Dingboche

Day 6: Dingboche (acclimatization)

Day 7: Dingboche – Lobuche

Day 8: Lobuche – Gorak Shep – Everest Base Camp – Gorak Shep

Day 9: Gorakshep – Kalapatthar – Pheriche

Day 10: Pheriche – Namche

Day 11: Namche – Lukla

Day 13: Lukla – Kathmandu

  • Gokyo Trek

Gokyo Lake

Gokyo Trek, one of the adventurous trek in Nepal is trip in which one traverses through delightful valleys, crystal clear turquoise lakes and world’s biggest ice glacier called Ngozumpa glacier dominated by the nearest mountain of Everest Himalayan range. The main attraction of this trek is Gokyo lake. The glacial Gokyo Lake is a holy pilgrimage place for both Hindu and Buddhist. Gokyo Ri is nearby Gokyo Lake. From the top, you can have one of the most stunning views of Everest, Lhotse, Amadablam and Cho Oyu. The majestic Gokyo region is inhabited by Sherpa people following Tibetan- Buddhism. They still practice ancient way of life dating back to centuries old time. This trek is less travelled and has peaceful route.

Gokyo Trek Overview:

Difficulty: Moderate to hard

Trek duration: 12-14 days

Max. elevation: 5360m

Accommodation: Trekking lodges or tea houses

Starting point: Lukla

Gokyo Itinerary Overview:

Day 1: Kathmandu – Lukla – Phakding

Day 2 : Phakding – Namche

Day 3 : Namche (acclimatization)

Day 4 : Namche – Khumjung via Syangboche

Day 6 : Khumjung – Dole

Day 7 : Dole – Machermo

Day 8 : Machermo – Gokyo Lake

Day 9 : Gokyo Lake and Glacier Excursion

Day 10 : Gokyo Lake – Machermo

Day 11: Machermo – Namche

Day 12 : Namche – Lukla

Day 13 : Lukla – Kathmandu

  • Three Passes Trek

Kalapatthar best mountain viewpoints of Nepal

One of the most challenging and thrilling trek, Three Passes Trek offers an amazingly scenic circular route with crossing challenging passes Renjo La, Cho La and Kongma La. This trek route not only proffers the stunning view of mountains and glaciers but also encourages you to experience the local Sherpa culture in the region. If you are planning to do this trek and other treks in Everest region, March – May and October – November can be the best months as weather is clear during this time and beautiful landscapes can be seen in these months. There are adequate number of lodges and teahouses serving good meals and accommodation during the trek.  

Three Passes Trek Overview :

Difficulty : Moderate to Challenging

Trek Duration : 15 Days

Maximum elevation : 5545 m ( Kalapatthar )

Accomodation : Tea houses

Trek starting Point : Lukla

Three Passes Trek Itinerary Overview:

Day 1 : Kathmandu – Lukla – Phakding

Day 2 : Phakding – Namche

Day 3 : Namche (Acclimitization)

Day 4 : Namche – Thame

Day 5 : Thame – Lungden

Day 6 : Lungden – Renjo La Pass – Gokyo

Day 7 : Gokyo ( Acclimatization)

Day 8 : Gokyo  – Thagnak

Day 9 : Thagnak – Cho La Pass – Dzongla

Day 10 : Dzongla – Lobuche

Day 11 : Lobuche – Kongma La- Chhukung

Day 12 : Chhukung – Tengboche

Day 13 : Tengboche – Namche

Day 14 :  Namche  – Lukla

Day 15 : Lukla – Kathmandu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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