Himalayas advice

Discussion in 'General Fitness' started by Toby Jug, Mar 6, 2004.

  1. Toby Jug

    Toby Jug Guest

    Hi all,

    Myself and some friends perhaps 3 or 4 of us in total are planning to go the
    Himalayas next year.

    For some of us it's a once in a lifetime chance to go and I would very much
    appreciate some advice.

    We've never been before and are probably going on an organised trip so any
    pointers here I would be grateful for too.

    We're all reasonably fit and very keen walkers but I know I need to prepare well
    in advance by doing a lot more hill walking and some sort of fitness routine -
    any help here please ?

    I've got lots and lots of questions but any tips or pointers this early on would
    be helpful.

    Anticipated trek will be around March next year so its a year away. Who's who
    regarding booking agents and any recommendations ?

    Things like clothing, boots, any do's and don'ts, AMS, illness, insurance, the
    list gets longer ....... There's lots more but please feel free to contribute.

    Having already seen people's accounts of going on the web I'm most interested in
    the Annapurna Circuit, however, the others prefer to go to Everest Base Camp - So
    anyone like to add anything to sway the decision either way ?

    I've done aquite a few searches on the net and have found the Yetizone
    very helpful.

    Regards & Thank You
     
    Tags:


  2. Sandy Murray

    Sandy Murray Guest

    Hiya.

    I would certainly recommend the Annapurna Circuit having
    completed it both in the monsoon and post-monsoon.. The
    views are stunning, you pass through a variety of landscapes
    and cultures and you don't have to retrace your steps. Ok,
    you don't get to see Everest but the other hills, including
    Annapurna & Dhulagiri, more than make up for it.

    It's a fairly starightforward trip which, with a bit of
    research, you can fully organise yourself. There are plenty
    of lodges to stay in and food and drink can be found
    anywhere. Bear in mind that March might be a little early in
    the season (may still be quite cold) but OK if you can only
    make it at that time.

    A good book on the subject is 'Trekking in Nepal' by Stephen
    Bezruchka (or something like that). It's the only book
    you'll need and covers everything.

    Feel free to get in touch with any more queries.

    Sandy Murray

    "
     
  3. Toby Jug

    Toby Jug Guest

    "Sandy Murray" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Hiya.
    >
    > I would certainly recommend the Annapurna Circuit having
    > completed it both in the monsoon and post-monsoon.. The
    > views are stunning, you pass through a variety of
    > landscapes and cultures and you don't have to retrace
    > your steps. Ok, you don't get to see Everest but the
    > other hills, including Annapurna & Dhulagiri, more than
    > make up for it.
    >
    > It's a fairly starightforward trip which, with a bit of
    > research, you can fully organise yourself. There are
    > plenty of lodges to stay in and food and drink can be
    > found anywhere. Bear in mind that March might be a little
    > early in the season (may still be quite cold) but OK if
    > you can only make it at that time.
    >
    > A good book on the subject is 'Trekking in Nepal' by
    > Stephen Bezruchka (or something like that). It's the only
    > book you'll need and covers everything.
    >
    > Feel free to get in touch with any more queries.
    >
    > Sandy Murray
    >

    Thanks for the reply Sandy - one of my mates wants to go in
    November. I feel though I need a little more preparation cos
    he's much fitter than me
    !
     
  4. Carl

    Carl Guest

    You will get fit as you go, you may start at a crawl but by
    the end you'll be running up the paths. Walking fitness isnt
    that hard to get, as an example, when I was 38, 3 years ago,
    I got a job after being a student for a few years so had the
    money to get me to the hills, and a holiday planned to
    Peru/Bolivia, so my first trip, after years of NO exercise,
    stuck in front of a PC all day, was up Snowdon on the PYG
    track, 4 1/2 hours just to get up. next week I went again
    and 3 1/2 up, next week 2 1/2, the fourth week was 2 1/4
    hours up; after that I thought I needed a change of scenery,
    so couldnt compare any fitness gain. Point is no special
    training just doing what you will be doing anyway, and a
    month or two should be enough. I was still stuck in front of
    the PC Mon-Fri; but was getting mountain walking fit by
    mountain walking.

    I did Annarpurna over 10 years ago, but assume that the
    basics will be the same if not improved. No route finding
    problems. Himalaya is easier to navigate than hills back
    home. walking routes like Annarpurna are on trade routes
    they are the local M6; with service stations at semi-regular
    intervals, in the form of tea-houses; which will feed and
    sleep you. no tents, stoves needed just clothing and a
    sleeping bag. There are even ledges built for porters to
    rest there loads (and for you to rest your lighter load)
    without taking it off. Many of the organised trips use
    tents, it just seems nuts to sleep in a tent when there are
    perfectly good places to stay with a proper roof, and your
    money is going directly to locals.

    Apart from the pass, I think the longest between tea houses
    was about 2 hours, so you dont even need a flask, as you can
    get cups of tea from the tea houses.

    I did it December and into January and it was cold, but a
    localy bought wool sweater and down jacket were more than
    adequete (though for a couple of nights these were worn in
    the sleeping bag at night) I wish I had brought gaiters for
    the snow, how much there will be in March I dont know, in
    November probably none (except maybe on the pass)
     
  5. Carl

    Carl Guest

    You will get fit as you go, you may start at a crawl but by
    the end you'll be running up the paths. Walking fitness isnt
    that hard to get, as an example, when I was 38, 3 years ago,
    I got a job after being a student for a few years so had the
    money to get me to the hills, and a holiday planned to
    Peru/Bolivia, so my first trip, after years of NO exercise,
    stuck in front of a PC all day, was up Snowdon on the PYG
    track, 4 1/2 hours just to get up. next week I went again
    and 3 1/2 up, next week 2 1/2, the fourth week was 2 1/4
    hours up; after that I thought I needed a change of scenery,
    so couldnt compare any fitness gain. Point is no special
    training just doing what you will be doing anyway, and a
    month or two should be enough. I was still stuck in front of
    the PC Mon-Fri; but was getting mountain walking fit by
    mountain walking.

    I did Annarpurna over 10 years ago, but assume that the
    basics will be the same if not improved. No route finding
    problems. Himalaya is easier to navigate than hills back
    home. walking routes like Annarpurna are on trade routes
    they are the local M6; with service stations at semi-regular
    intervals, in the form of tea-houses; which will feed and
    sleep you. no tents, stoves needed just clothing and a
    sleeping bag. There are even ledges built for porters to
    rest there loads (and for you to rest your lighter load)
    without taking it off. Many of the organised trips use
    tents, it just seems nuts to sleep in a tent when there are
    perfectly good places to stay with a proper roof, and your
    money is going directly to locals.

    Apart from the pass, I think the longest between tea houses
    was about 2 hours, so you dont even need a flask, as you can
    get cups of tea from the tea houses.

    I did it December and into January and it was cold, but a
    localy bought wool sweater and down jacket were more than
    adequete (though for a couple of nights these were worn in
    the sleeping bag at night) I wish I had brought gaiters for
    the snow, how much there will be in March I dont know, in
    November probably none (except maybe on the pass)
     
  6. Ken

    Ken Guest

    "carl" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > You will get fit as you go, you may start at a crawl but
    > by the end you'll be running up the paths.
    >
    > I did it December and into January and it was cold, but a
    > localy bought wool sweater and down jacket were more than
    > adequete (though for a couple of nights these were worn in
    > the sleeping bag at night) I wish I had brought gaiters
    > for the snow, how much there will be in March I dont know,
    > in November probably none (except maybe on the pass)

    I did the half from Pohkara (sp?) to Muktinath in
    August/September 1994, then back to Pokhara by plane from
    Jomsom. We caught the end of the monsoon which meant lots of
    clouds (not *that* many mountain views), and lots of
    leeches, but not many people. It was an utterly fabulous
    walk, going from dense forest (a family of apes swinging
    through the trees one morning), to wide river valley (a
    stunning waterfall every mile or so), to high barren plateau
    (when the mountains really came out), in 10 days. We also
    noticed the changes in faces and dress of people, and the
    increasing prevelance of stupas/prayer flags/wheels the
    higher we went. From what I hear, the Everest trek is far
    less varied.

    We got a guide - ISTR about $5 per day, and ended up getting
    a porter for some of it (similar price) - which I'd
    recommend, simply for the local knowledge and because it
    means you don't have to worry about finding the
    route/food/bed when you are tired. Training is a good idea,
    but be prepared for some very hard days whatever you do.

    Cost - most of these organised trips seem phenomenally
    expensive, and I reckon if you can dare to do it yourself,
    you can halve the price. During the trek, I guess I spent
    about £100-£150, including a £40 flight from Jomsom; and
    though we stayed with a friend in Kathmandu, in the whole 5
    weeks I spent in Nepal, I *couldn't* spend the £300 money I
    took with me (including a trip Chitwan safari park, beer &
    as many gifts as I could cram into my rucksack).

    Ken.
     
  7. Ken

    Ken Guest

    "carl" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > You will get fit as you go, you may start at a crawl but
    > by the end you'll be running up the paths.
    >
    > I did it December and into January and it was cold, but a
    > localy bought wool sweater and down jacket were more than
    > adequete (though for a couple of nights these were worn in
    > the sleeping bag at night) I wish I had brought gaiters
    > for the snow, how much there will be in March I dont know,
    > in November probably none (except maybe on the pass)

    I did the half from Pohkara (sp?) to Muktinath in
    August/September 1994, then back to Pokhara by plane from
    Jomsom. We caught the end of the monsoon which meant lots of
    clouds (not *that* many mountain views), and lots of
    leeches, but not many people. It was an utterly fabulous
    walk, going from dense forest (a family of apes swinging
    through the trees one morning), to wide river valley (a
    stunning waterfall every mile or so), to high barren plateau
    (when the mountains really came out), in 10 days. We also
    noticed the changes in faces and dress of people, and the
    increasing prevelance of stupas/prayer flags/wheels the
    higher we went. From what I hear, the Everest trek is far
    less varied.

    We got a guide - ISTR about $5 per day, and ended up getting
    a porter for some of it (similar price) - which I'd
    recommend, simply for the local knowledge and because it
    means you don't have to worry about finding the
    route/food/bed when you are tired. Training is a good idea,
    but be prepared for some very hard days whatever you do.

    Cost - most of these organised trips seem phenomenally
    expensive, and I reckon if you can dare to do it yourself,
    you can halve the price. During the trek, I guess I spent
    about £100-£150, including a £40 flight from Jomsom; and
    though we stayed with a friend in Kathmandu, in the whole 5
    weeks I spent in Nepal, I *couldn't* spend the £300 money I
    took with me (including a trip Chitwan safari park, beer &
    as many gifts as I could cram into my rucksack).

    Ken.
     
  8. On 12 Mar 2004 02:03:06 -0800, [email protected] (carl) wrote:

    >You will get fit as you go, you may start at a crawl but by
    >the end you'll be running up the paths.

    I'd definitely agree with the "get fit as you go" but I'm
    not convinced by the "running up the paths"! Just returned
    from Everest Basecamp trek - highlights/points:

    The 1st day was the most difficult! (Flew to Luckla, so
    started at 2,500m). It's getting used to breathing deeper
    and controlling the breathing in order to extract every
    molecule of oxygen, that's the trick! Even walking quickly
    makes you short of breath

    Got AMS and so missed the "final ascent" to Kala Pathar -
    despite taking Diamox. Slept for 48hrs instead and only
    recovered when we went down!

    Upon returning, "discovered" I had Guardia (nasty little
    microscopic parasite); became intimately acquainted with
    every toilet from Kathmandu to Cardiff! Reckoned I picked it
    up on day 1 as I had a Lassi drink (it takes a while to
    develop - it was the airline food that kicked it into
    "action"). I'd recommend trying to get hold of the
    antibiotics beforehand, if you can. We came across one poor
    soul who contracted it on-trek and he was really suffering

    One of the "highlights" was returning to the "airport" at
    Luckla (a short strip of tarmac that perches on the
    mountainside), being held up for a day 'cos of snow and
    clearing the runway ourselves (that is, the Westerners).
    This without *any* equipment (no shovels or anything) - I'm
    now an expert at spotting which baggage cart, when turned
    upside down, makes the best runway scraper!

    >4 1/2 hours just to get up. next week I went again and 3
    >1/2 up, next week 2 1/2, the fourth week was 2 1/4 hours
    >up; after that I thought I needed a change of scenery, so
    >couldnt compare any fitness gain. Point is no special
    >training just doing what you will be doing anyway, and a
    >month or two should be enough. I was still stuck in front
    >of the PC Mon-Fri; but was getting mountain walking fit by
    >mountain walking.

    Agreed - we had a few in our group who'd done very little
    beforehand and it didn't cause probs

    >Many of the organised trips use tents, it just seems nuts
    >to sleep in a tent when there are perfectly good places to
    >stay with a proper roof, and your money is going directly
    >to locals.

    Especially as you stay the night in a lodge for free, or
    very little, providing you eat there (and the food's cheap)

    >Apart from the pass, I think the longest between tea houses
    >was about 2 hours, so you dont even need a flask, as you
    >can get cups of tea from the tea houses.

    But I'd say it was *essential* that you had water -
    dehydration at altitude is rapid! Best is a Platypus type
    system: little and often. I also had a Sigg flask: filled
    with boiling water as a hot-water bottle and drinking
    water for the following day. Others used their Siggs for
    other purposes; suffice to say they didn't need to get up
    in the night!

    >I did it December and into January and it was cold, but a
    >localy bought wool sweater and down jacket were more than
    >adequete (though for a couple of nights these were worn in
    >the sleeping bag at night) I wish I had brought gaiters for
    >the snow, how much there will be in March I dont know, in
    >November probably none (except maybe on the pass)

    Yeah, we got down to -15C but everyone had a good sleeping
    bag and down jacket (and gaiters). Best course of action:
    wear your baselayer for the following day and put your
    fleece in the bottom of the bag (it'll keep warm and is
    fills the space nicely)

    Tho' you might expect that I would be disappointed/upset
    with the trek, I *really* enjoyed it and the above were
    nuisances, rather than disasters! Very pleased we went out
    of season as it gets very crowded and we only met a few
    others - and so appreciated them, rather than being
    irritated!

    Mark
     
  9. "Mark Cavendish" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > On 12 Mar 2004 02:03:06 -0800, [email protected]
    > (carl) wrote:
    >
    > >You will get fit as you go, you may start at a crawl but
    > >by the end you'll be running up the paths.
    >
    > I'd definitely agree with the "get fit as you go" but I'm
    > not convinced by the "running up the paths"! Just returned
    > from Everest Basecamp trek - highlights/points:
    >
    > The 1st day was the most difficult! (Flew to Luckla, so
    > started at 2,500m). It's getting used to breathing deeper
    > and controlling the breathing in order to extract every
    > molecule of oxygen, that's the trick! Even walking quickly
    > makes you short of breath
    >
    > Got AMS and so missed the "final ascent" to Kala Pathar -
    > despite taking Diamox. Slept for 48hrs instead and only
    > recovered when we went down!
    >
    > Upon returning, "discovered" I had Guardia (nasty little
    > microscopic parasite); became intimately acquainted with
    > every toilet from Kathmandu to Cardiff! Reckoned I picked
    > it up on day 1 as I had a Lassi drink (it takes a while to
    > develop - it was the airline food that kicked it into
    > "action"). I'd recommend trying to get hold of the
    > antibiotics beforehand, if you can. We came across one
    > poor soul who contracted it on-trek and he was really
    > suffering
    >
    > One of the "highlights" was returning to the "airport" at
    > Luckla (a short strip of tarmac that perches on the
    > mountainside), being held up for a day 'cos of snow and
    > clearing the runway ourselves (that is, the Westerners).
    > This without *any* equipment (no shovels or anything) -
    > I'm now an expert at spotting which baggage cart, when
    > turned upside down, makes the best runway scraper!
    >
    > >4 1/2 hours just to get up. next week I went again and 3
    > >1/2 up, next week 2 1/2, the fourth week was 2 1/4 hours
    > >up; after that I thought I needed a change of scenery, so
    > >couldnt compare any fitness gain. Point is no special
    > >training just doing what you will be doing anyway, and a
    > >month or two should be enough. I was still stuck in front
    > >of the PC Mon-Fri; but was getting mountain walking fit
    > >by mountain walking.
    >
    > Agreed - we had a few in our group who'd done very little
    > beforehand and it didn't cause probs
    >
    > >Many of the organised trips use tents, it just seems nuts
    > >to sleep in a tent when there are perfectly good places
    > >to stay with a proper roof, and your money is going
    > >directly to locals.
    >
    > Especially as you stay the night in a lodge for free,
    > or very little, providing you eat there (and the
    > food's cheap)
    >
    > >Apart from the pass, I think the longest between tea
    > >houses was about 2 hours, so you dont even need a flask,
    > >as you can get cups of tea from the tea houses.
    >
    > But I'd say it was *essential* that you had water -
    > dehydration at altitude is rapid! Best is a Platypus type
    > system: little and often. I also had a Sigg flask: filled
    > with boiling water as a hot-water bottle and drinking
    > water for the following day. Others used their Siggs for
    > other purposes; suffice to say they didn't need to get up
    > in the night!
    >
    > >I did it December and into January and it was cold, but
    > >a localy bought wool sweater and down jacket were more
    > >than adequete (though for a couple of nights these were
    > >worn in the sleeping bag at night) I wish I had brought
    > >gaiters for the snow, how much there will be in March I
    > >dont know, in November probably none (except maybe on
    > >the pass)
    >
    > Yeah, we got down to -15C but everyone had a good sleeping
    > bag and down jacket (and gaiters). Best course of action:
    > wear your baselayer for the following day and put your
    > fleece in the bottom of the bag (it'll keep warm and is
    > fills the space nicely)
    >
    > Tho' you might expect that I would be disappointed/upset
    > with the trek, I *really* enjoyed it and the above were
    > nuisances, rather than disasters! Very pleased we went out
    > of season as it gets very crowded and we only met a few
    > others - and so appreciated them, rather than being
    > irritated!
    >
    > Mark

    Agree with most comments in the thread.

    I spent 6 plus months living and working in Nepal and did
    two Annapurna treks - highly recommended.

    Don't worry too much about conditioning - it will come
    as you trek - slow to begin and this reduces the
    chances of AMS.

    November is a better choice as that is before the snows and
    the Thorong La pass should be snow free - In March, the pass
    may still be snowed in. Many years the snow doesn't clear
    from the pass until mid April.

    Take a look at the CIWEC clinic web site in Kathmandu at http://www.ciwec-
    clinic.com for good local trekking medical advice

    A lot of information should be in this group from past years
    - try about two years ago via google - if you need some
    additional info, you could contact me by e-mail.

    Bill Brabender
     
  10. Sandy Murray

    Sandy Murray Guest

    Just in case you do decide to go with a group, the company I
    work for will be running an Annapurna Circuit trek in April
    /May next year. Using the lodges on the trail, the trek will
    be fully supported including a comprehensive medical kit
    including the antibiotics people have mentioned are so
    important. Its a new company called Osprey Adventures and,
    since its trying to get established, will be considerably
    less expensive than any of the other organisers. You can
    contact them on (01463) 237900.

    Hope this is useful if you decide to go with a group, but it
    is quite straightforward to do on your own.
     
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