Mountain Climbing 101

Categories: Mountain Hiking 101

If you have never climbed a major mountain the following information is very important to ensure that you are prepared for your climb.


Physical Conditioning

Good physical health is a must when involved in a Soul Excursion trip. Endurance and stamina are imperative for the success of the team. If you do not currently have a physical fitness program for yourself you should check with your doctor and following his guidelines begin immediately to get in shape. We recommend an intense cardio vascular workout as well as work with weights for lower body strength at least 2-3 times per week (after approval from your doctor). Do not procrastinate when it comes to physical fitness or you will jeopardize your safety and likelihood of a successful trip.


Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)

Altitude sickness (AMS) is a very real thing and no one is immune to it. Physical fitness will help reduce your chances of getting AMS but ultimately the best way to beat AMS is through slow acclimatization. Summit Leaders expedition guides will climb at a very slow pace in an effort to ensure a successful climb for the entire team however, as every person is different, it is difficult to predict how each individual’s body will react to the altitude.
The following are several preemptive measures to help you reduce your chances of sickness.
1. Drink lots of water prior to departure. In general, the average person doesn’t drink enough water. Flying also increases dehydration rates in your body. You should double or triple your intake of water two weeks prior to departure. While climbing it is imperative that you drink water all the time. You should never allow yourself to become thirsty. Four to five liters of water are a minimum amount that should be consumed per day while climbing. We will provide sufficient water for the climb while on the mountain.
2. With your doctor’s approval begin taking one or two aspirin a day two weeks prior to your departure. This will begin to thin your blood and help your adjustment to the altitude.
3. Acetazolamide (Diamox) is an anti-altitude sickness medication that can be acquired through a doctor’s prescription. The medication must be taken prior to climbing. Taking Diamox after contracting AMS symptoms will not help the situation. You must decide prior to the climb if you are going to take the medication. Diamox has its problems, one of the most annoying is a tingling sensation in your extremities that can become very uncomfortable and annoying while climbing. Other side effects are ringing in the ears, nausea, frequent urination, and changes in sense of taste. Individuals with sulfa allergies must not take it. Soul Excursions discourages the use of Diamox and prefers natural forms of avoiding AMS.
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