A few years ago most people who came to visit the Himalayan already had a lot of experience hiking in their home countries. These people needed to be warned of the subtle hazard of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), but in general, they were aware of mountain safety. This fact is no longer true, as many people start into the high mountains of Nepal with very little thought for the difficulties they might encounter.
This document is intended to serve as a brief reminder of several important points you should think about before you go trekking.
The Himalayas begins where other mountain ranges leave off. Everest Base Camp is at the foot of the huge mountains, yet it is 1000 meters higher than the highest point in Europe. Your body can adjust to these altitudes, but only if given enough time. Being in a hurry in the mountains of Nepal can be deadly! It also seems that excessive extortion altitude (e.g. carrying a heavy pack) may predispose some people to altitude illness. So it may be advisable to carry a light pack and use a porter (they are not expensive).
Acclimatization is the word used to describe the adjustments your body makes as it ascends. You should adjust your schedule so that after 3000 meters your sleeping altitude is no more than 300 meters to 400 meters higher than the previous day’s sleeping altitude.
If you fail to allow time for acclimatization, you may develop symptoms of AMS. The AMS may be mild enough to go away with a day’s rest of if ignored may lead to death. All that is required to ensure a safe trek is a basic awareness of AMS, and a willingness to rest or DESCEND if symptoms worsen. As a result of the growing awareness of altitude problems there is only one death from in Nepal out of every 30,000 trekkers. Even these deaths would be avoidable if everyone knew how to respond to AMS. There are no reliable figures for casualties among porters.