Trekking and Tour Preparation Tips
We at Summit to Sea Tours take great care of you, our customer, and give you the right advice during the trip planning stage. Here, we have summarized some of the important points that you may need to be taken into consideration in planning your trek or tour of India.
The three broad areas requiring preparation are as follows:
Choosing the right trek for you, and the associated acclimatization.
Essential trekking gear:
1) A warm jacket with a rating of -5 degree C. A down feather jacket or one with good insulating material such as Holofil will do.
2) A raincoat.
3) Woolen full-sleeved shirts
4) A pair of sweatshirts.
5) A pair of T-shirts that can be worn during the daytime trek in sunny weather.
6) Long johns.
7) A pair of good gloves.
8) Comfortable trekking shoes that are light and have stiff soles and firm grip, and which can be used in light snow.
9) Good woolen cap that can cover the ears, and a scarf.
10) Warm socks.
11) Warm pants (you may also want to carry a pair of insulating (e.g., Holofil) trouser for an unexpected temperature drop).
12) A good-quality backpack for carrying a few of your personal stuff during the trek.
13) Sunscreen to prevent sunburn.
Choosing a Trek and Acclimatization to High Altitudes:
Decide what you want to participate in: is it a high-altitude trek or simply a nature walk? Look for the level of difficulty involved in the program and whether your physical fitness is up to the level of competence required. While the treks routes span the range of easy, moderate and strenuous grades, the starting altitude of most Himalayan treks tend to be in the range of 7000 to 8000 feet, i.e., over a mile above sea level. However, there are a few short day hikes below these altitudes.
Your body needs to adapt to high altitudes, as the higher you go, the air becomes increasingly rarified and the oxygen available for you to breathe decreases. Even though your body is capable of adapting to 'thin air', you need to give it time to do so, especially above an altitude of 10,000 feet. This process is called acclimatization.
The rule-of-thumb for acclimatization is to "work high and sleep low". This means that one may trek up to a height of, say 11,000 feet but should come down to a height of, say 10,500 feet to sleep for the night as it helps the body to acclimatize better. While this approach may be impractical for some schedules, an alternative is to gain altitude at a slower pace, e.g., not more than a 1500-2000 ft per day at altitudes above 10,000 ft.
When there is insufficient acclimatization, one may experience altitude sickness characterized by persistent headaches, nausea and loss of appetite. We always try to ensure that our customers do not face this problem by acclimatizing properly during the ascent. In case you do come down with altitude sickness, we spend some time at the current altitude, e.g., by calling it a day early. Often the symptoms disappear after a night's rest, and you may resume climbing the next day at a reduced speed. If the symptoms do not go away, we make arrangements to descend with the help of a guide or porter.
Some general advice on high-altitude trekking:
1) The chances of developing high altitude sickness are more for those physically fit people who tend to push their bodies to the limit – you might have the strength but this is an area where you should not take any chances.
2) Keep a steady pace because, if you go up too fast you are asking for trouble, no matter how physically fit you may be or feel.
3) Altitude affects each person differently; do not expect that everyone in the party will be able to go at the same speed or even to the same altitude. You should not be embarrassed if you need more time to acclimatize.
4) If you have allowed one extra day of rest for acclimatization, in no case try to make up for what you (wrongly) consider lost time.
5) Always be alert for symptoms of altitude sickness: the early symptoms are persistent headache, nausea, loss of appetite and sleeplessness.
For more details on types of trek, best time to trek in the Himalayas and trek leaders, please click here.
Personal Belongings and Other Considerations:
1) Please carry important addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses with you and distribute the important contact information among the group members.
2) Please bring any personal medicines that you may need during the trek or tour. We provide some of the standard over-the-counter drugs such as anti-inflammatory, anti-diarrhoeal drugs, etc.
3) You may want to purchase travel insurance for the duration of the trek or tour.
4) We adopt environmentally sound practices and do not leave behind garbage on the trails. Hence, we request that you do not bring an excessive amount highly packaged disposable items.
5) Finally, we request that you inform us of your individual dietary needs well in advance.