Himalayas will call you if you are an adventurous soul. No matter how many times you are in the Himalayas, the first time remains the most indelible one. The snow capped mountains, the huge and long erect pine trees, the unpredictable and evolving weather, the running streams of water, the sound of the birds. Probably one of the the best way to connect to the nature is taking a trip to the Himalayas, if you have been you will agree. If you have not, but thinking, then there is going to be a first time pretty soon.
The Himalayan treks are usually atleast for a week or more. So be prepared for the physical struggle on your part if you are not a regular trekker. I have heard many people talking to start running or walking few weeks before the treks to be able to survive the treks, but actually there is no need to practice such work outs specially for Himalayan treks. If you have done treks earlier, you know your stamina. I went to my first Himalayan trek without doing a single trek earlier.
Read here My experience from First Himalayan Trek
Below I have tried to put the 10 important things you need to keep a check about on or before you start for your first Himalayan trek.
1. Fitness : Make sure you go fit and healthy to the trek. Like I said, the treks are minimum of 7 days to maximum 10 days, you should avoid any health related negligence on your part before the trek.
2. Packing your Backpack : Your backpack should only have the things you need during the trek. The more weight, the bad. Some trek organizers will provide you Sleeping Bags and other equipments. Check with your organizers and pack only the things required. This is one of the most important point of the trek as it directly effects the weight you are going to carry all throughout the trek. If you are going solo check the below article which gives an idea on how to pack your backpack and which equipments to carry.
3. Weather : The weather of the Himalayas is mostly unsteady. It might rain today and other day it might be sunny. Be ready for the same and enjoy the fullest. Ensure that you carry necessary woolens and clothes that helps you to survive from the rains, snow or sometimes even storms and hailstones.
4. Water – Drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated. You can also carry flavored energy drinks sachets as per your choice. Dehydration might make you weak, hence it is necessary to stop and take regular water breaks. Also note that you may not get filtered water easily on the treks. You can carry water purification tables for the same or use the water from the running streams whichever suits you best.
5. Acclimatization : What is that?
Altitude acclimatization is the process of adjusting to decreasing oxygen levels at higher elevations, in order to avoid altitude sickness. – Source Wiki
Once you are at a height you need some time to adjust to the weather, that is the reason most of the treks will keep a day or two at the base camp before moving to higher camps. To acclimatize you are also suggested to sleep at the height you climb every day so that your body is adjusted to the height.
Read the article here on wiki How which guides on how to prevent Altitude sickness
6. Respect Mother Nature : Be a responsible traveler by keeping the environment clean. Don’t throw waste, plastic bottles, food leftover when you are on to any such expeditions.Remember mother nature can live without us, but we cannot live without nature. We are already experiencing the rage of mother nature in the form of Tsunami, floods, forests fires, avalanche, earthquakes etc. Respect nature not for the world, not for the society, but for your own sake.
7. Food : Food items like maggi, chocolates, cold drinks that are available on the way during treks are very costly. If you are with some organizers check with them about the food arrangements. Most of the times the food provided is simple food as cooking facilities are very difficult at such height. Once you reach the remote villages, you have to depend on the locals completely.Solo travelers can carry eatables like chocolates, dates, almonds but remember to keep your bag light. Be cautious with the food habits during treks so that it doesn’t turn out to be bad for your health. Eat less but eat good.
8. Avoid smoking and Alcohol : Smoking is not considered healthy at high altitude. Alcohol further dehydrates your body. Try to avoid both as much as possible. Better find some other alternatives for both.
9. Use Guides : Make sure to be calm and not be over confident. On such treks when its our first experience we are usually very excited as we are not aware of the consequences of any mishap or negligence. On mountains we must always trust the guides and take their help when required. They act like saviour.
10. Be good to the Locals : Everything you do at such heights is because of the locals. The cooks, the guides, the sherpas are all the locals who live a difficult life to serve us and they do not get hefty salaries like us. Respect the locals and they will give you back lots of love.