Hiking up a mountain that is thousands of feet above sea level can be exhilarating but dangerous at the same time.
The wild climate on top of the world can be daunting even to the most seasoned hikers.
It takes the right kind of preparation and tools to survive an adventure of such nature.
Conditions change at high altitudes since there are fewer air molecules in the same volume humans inhale.
As a result, hypoxia ensues, which is a deficiency in the amount of oxygen reaching the tissues. Oxygen molecules are further apart because there is less pressure to press them together.
Although the body eventually acclimatizes to low oxygen conditions, new hikers may have a tough time with the thinner air above.
Aside from low oxygen levels, the extreme cold and desolation up the mountains are detrimental as well.
Camping at high altitudes requires more strategy and planning than camping at sea level, and the following are some tips for you to survive and enjoy the challenge:
- Know your limits.
Before braving the elements above, you have to go on a visit to your doctor. Try to confirm if your health is in tip-top condition and that you have no illnesses or undiscovered ailments that may hinder you from your trek.
You don’t want to get the surprise of your life when these diseases suddenly manifest while you are above.
You have to check your physical health as you ascend and be prepared to go back if you suddenly feel ill.
Headaches and chest pains may be underlying manifestations of something worse.
You don’t want to test your body’s limits when you are in the middle of nowhere and help is not readily available.
- Bring your first aid kit.
If you are climbing high altitudes for the first time, your body will not yet be acclimated to the conditions up there.
Ensure your safety and your health by bringing an altitude aid kit. Bring an altitude medication like Diamox, which is good for treks that span several thousands of feet above sea level.
You should also bring other kinds of medicines, like Ibuprofen for pain relief, as well as cough drops and pills for stomach ache.
- Bring gear that will protect you from the elements.
You will encounter the harshness of the weather at the peak. If you are prone to sunburns and have sensitive skin, put on some SPF.
Bring the necessary gear and have enough protection for your face to shield it from the sun, and wear wind-resistant and waterproof clothing as well.
You should also bring some extra hand warmers since the cold can get harsh and bitter.
Have thermal gloves and woollen socks to protect your body from the severe mountain weather.
- Consume large amounts of calories to fuel your body.
The body functions differently at high altitudes, and you should get enough fuel so you will survive the challenges of high-altitude trekking.
Your muscles are burning energy at a faster rate, and your body will need more food and water to function properly.
The environment at the top is no place for diets. Load up on the carbohydrates, protein, and sugar. Eat snacks like jerky, chocolate, and candy.
- Choose a tent for high altitude conditions.
Choose a tent that can withstand the rigours of high altitude. Get expedition and mountaineering varieties.
The tent should have sturdy stakes and guy lines to keep it anchored and firm even against strong gusts of wind.
However, the challenge with this kind of tent is that it’s quite heavy to carry since it’s made out of thick fabric. It can also get easily hot during the day.
There is also an inflatable camping tent that has solid beams. It has mechanical vents on the side and rear and can withstand strong winds.
However, when you are on top where there is the potential to get freezing cold at night, you have to choose a warm tent to tide you over the subzero temperatures.
If it gets too warm any time during the day, you can always open the tent or remove a layer of clothing.
- Get a cooking stove fit for high altitude camping.
If you are going to cook your food at high altitudes, the normal canister camp stove may not work.
It would be best if you have liquid and multi-fuel stoves to cook your food.
However, the downside to these kinds of stoves is they are heavier and emit a high-pitched sound when running. If you don’t mind your peace being disturbed, multi-fuel stoves aren’t too shabby.
Camping at high altitudes can be extremely challenging, but it can be the adventure of a lifetime.
Knowing that you’re able to survive harsh conditions can give you a lot of pride. Before embarking on high altitude camping, however, you have to get your body prepared.
You should also bring the necessary tools and gadgets. You should be ready for any event or accident, thus you need to have some basic knowledge of survival skills.