High Altitude Trekking
It is not so much the height of the destination or the highest point along the trail that presents potential altitude challenges, it is more the RATE OF ASCENT.
This is why we at Global Immersion have structured our expeditions to incorporate the safest procedures possible to avoid our trekkers from suffering Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). Our strategies are …
To structure our adventure journeys, so that the rate of ascent in any one day is not so much that it puts the body under altitude stress.
Incumbent in our registration process for any of our expeditions is the participant’s agreement that they will seek advice and education from their doctor or medical expert so that they have full understanding of the effects of High Altitude before commencing their adventure.
Our Golden Rule at all times is “Safety before Summit”.
To have participants focused on enjoying the journey, and not being obsessed by the destination.
To always include Acclimitisation days in our itineraries.
To embrace the proper use of Diamox or Herbal Alternatives if prescribed by your doctor.
We have satellite phone access to helicopter rescue if necessary.
All of our guides must carry oxygen cylinders with them at all times on the trek.
To offer fun incentives to our trekkers to drink the right amount of water per day (usually 3-4 litres) and walk at the appropriate slow and steady pace.
Global Immersion only selects reputable and proven local guides, who have had more than 10 years experience on the mountain or the trail.
In 90 % of our expeditions, we will have travelling with us a registered nurse, 4th year medical student or fully qualified GP.
We prefer to advise participants to stop and descend rather than encourage them to proceed, when they are displaying obvious symptoms of AMS.
On Kilimanjaro, we have almost twice as many guides, assistant guides, and porters looking after us then is the number of our group. So for example if there are 15 participants in your group, then there will be approximately 22 – 25 locals looking after our welfare.
Your head guide will always meet with you and the group at least 36 hours prior to commencement to give you local advice on the challenges of the trek.
This is why Global Immersion has never had a participant suffer serious consequences of Altitude Mountain Sickness. Certainly, some of our participants have experienced mild AMS effects. That is part of the risk inherent in an adventure like trekking Kilimanjaro, but in all cases they have been guided to safety before the situation became a serious medical problem.
Now remember, I have been responsible for organising over 600 students to take on Kilimanjaro or walk the trail to Everest Base Camp. So far, the slate is clean, because we manage the issue before it becomes a problem !!
Of course there are other issues to address when hiking to ‘The Roof of Africa’ or trekking the trail to Everest Base Camp, the most obvious of which is very cold conditions. This is why we do whatever we can to meet with participants personally, or at the least have a very long chat over the phone with them to ensure they have the following gear and equipment before commencing their adventure.
- Sleeping bag with liner for below zero freezing conditions – please check the rating.
- Thermal underwear – top and bottoms – thermal socks are also handy.
- 2 x Fleecy-lined ‘tracksuit-style’ pants and 2 x warm sweaters for cool nights.
- Waterproof pants and waterproof / windproof ski Jacket – Outer Layer.
- Raincoat/poncho long enough to also cover and protect your small daypack.
- Gloves/mittens with liners or inners ** Must be waterproof.
- Very warm balaclava plus beanie and neck warmer such as a woolen scarf.
- Head lamp or small Maglight torch with spare batteries for night visits to the toilet.
- Pair of thongs, flip flops or slip-ons for night visits and general wear.
- Hiking boots – they must be comfortable, light weight, well worn, and waterproof.
- 3 pairs of hiking socks, and 1 pair of hiking gators to ensure that no rain water seeps into feet.
- Pair of joggers for easy walking days. Ones that you are happy to leave behind.
- Waterproof cover** for large backpack, which can be hired for $ 5 US as of Jan 2011.
- UV protective sunglasses or snow goggles
- Thick garbage bag liners in which to put tomorrow’s clothes, or the dirty ones!
- Bring some snack food for between meals on the Kilimanjaro trek ?
- ‘Deep Heat’ for sore muscles,
- Diamox for altitude sickness prevention & for ladies extra supply of hygienic products given possible effect of high altitude on menstrual cycle.
Furthermore, we are very proud of our strong relationship with Kathmandu stores here in Australia from whom we are recognized as a Global Community Partner, allowing our participants to acquire this sometimes costly gear at prices closer to cost than they are to normal retail. Should the cost still feel prohibitive to your participation, then the opportunity to hire gear in Nepal, Tanzania or Peru is always offered.