June 9, 2017 Samrat Chakraborty

thumb rules of High Altitude trekking

A break for regrouping while moving towords Swargarohini south basecamp

Rules to follow for acclimatization :-

Acclimatization is simply a procedure to improve lung capacity. How efficiently body absorbs oxygen beyond 9000 feet , determines how well the person is acclimatised.

1) Gain altitude gradually, should be no haste.

2) “Walk high, sleep low” – for the best result, hike up during the day, gain altitude , spend some time there, then hike down , camp in a lower altitude and sleep there.

Your system has already been exposed to thinner air and reduced pressure during day, and your body started the adjustment process by producing more red blood cells; while at the same time, because you are sleeping at lower altitude where there is comparatively more oxygen and air pressure, body gets comparatively easier condition to re-energise itself.

3) Consider drinking water as a task. Make hot water so that you can drink with ease. Whenever the colour of your urine seems yellowish , drink more. Not feeling hungry? drink more water. Drink tea,milk,energy drink,juice; anything non-alcoholic liquid is just fine. Dont drink less water before going to bed(i.e sleeping bag) in fear of getting out in the middle of the freezing night – No, Drink a lot… Brave the cold, wake your buddy up…. and go!

4 ) DON’T hide a medical problem.

5) DON’T run/hike fast during acclimatisation.

6) DON’T climb more than 2000 feet in a day, beyond 12000 feet.


Rules for Camping :-

1) Site should be near water source, but not very near. Water level of the river should be checked at 5.00 pm when it is maximum. site should always be above the flood line.

2) Should be naturally protected from heavy wind and should receive sunlight for most of the day. remember sunlight is a natural and powerful disinfectant. Sometimes we find camping areas which lies between two mountains forming wind tunnels – called re-entrants ; these areas should be avoided.

3) Make maximum use of natural shelters and avoid avalanch/rock-fall prone areas.

4) If possible, camp below tree line.  Dead wood can be used in case of emergency.

5) DON’T/Avoid camp in low lying areas.

6) DON’T/Avoid camp near a crevasse or ice fall.

7) DON’T lit fire in snow shelter.


Rules for Walking in mountain :-

1) Keep together. The slowest should never be the last.

2) A good member should be detained to bring up the rear and warn the leader if one is struggling.

3) Team’s pace should be that of the slowest.


Rules for walking in snow conditions :-

1) Avoid ascending slopes of hard-snow/ice. If necessary, wear crampon , rope up and climb during early hours.

2) Cross flowing water through the rock, not through frozen sheet of ice. Probe before walking.

3) Avoid descending through steep snow slopes in soft slushy snow.

4) During a thaw, avoid snow slopes and gullies altogether ; Risk of Avalanch.


Rules for climbing rocky patch :-

1) At any point in time , 3 of four (2 hands, 2 legs) points must be in touch with rock.

2) Check the route and plan it before climbing.

3) Avoid the route if it is wet.

4) Never make a move which you cant down climb.

5) DON’T stick too close to the rock, you may not see the holds above you.

6) DON’T lean out of the rock face, you may lose body balance.

7) DON’T try to attract the attention of the climbers on a pitch. (A ‘pitch’ is the distance between two pitons)

8) DON’T take chances, be deliberate in each move.

9) DON’T dislodge any stone.

10) DON’T jump. DON’T hurry.

11) DON’T use your knees.


Rules for health and hygiene :-

1) Consume maximum hot water. (Yes, ‘Water’ is so essential that this point gets repeated)

2) Avoid/reduce sweating by walking in a controlled pace.

3) Protect eyes from UV.

4) Wear loose clothing for circulation of air.

5) Give movement to muscles to avoid cold-injuries for better blood circulation.

6) Keep head covered.

7) Keep body warm and dry.

8) Wear dry clothes/gloves/socks.

Hazards in mountain and snow bound areas
Arunachal, Gorichen basecamp

About the Author

Samrat Chakraborty
Samrat Chakraborty Mountain climber, blogger. Been trekking and climbing in Indian Himalayas for the last 13 years. Special interests - Wildlife , Geography Believes in - Conservation of natural flora and fauna

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