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  The Chatter Box : Travel
Preperation for the Himalayas by reilly_521 on 12 July 2008 3:25pm
I have 13 months, (September 2009), before i embark on my own Himalayan adventure. I start, very comfortably, on a flight from London to Bahrain before connecting and finally arriving in Kathmandu before a grueling trek over the Tibetan Plateu to Everest Basecamp. Along the way i will take in several awe inspiring sights such as the Potala Palace in Lhasa, a visit and stay with Nomadic people at Tashi Do on the shores of Lake Namtso before driving over Largen La to Yangpachen to visit the Gompa Monastery and onto Dorjeling! Sounds nice...HOWEVER.. amidst such remarkable scenery and a cultural experiance beyond my wildest dreams i then climb to over 5000mts above sea level and start a seperate journey on foot treking over harsh terrain and in extreme weather conditions to Dza Rongphu and Everest Base Camp. Trecking 17km a day for 4 consecutive days before a days rest followed by 4 more consecutive days repeated 3 times.

This is the first time i will have ever attempted anything like this especially at that altitude where the oxygen is deprived of more than 50% that of my usual sea level intake i'm used to. I would certinly appreciate the experiances of other climbers and walkers who have traveled to the Tibetan Platau, knowledge of the risks and how i can prepare myself for such an epic journey. I followed all of Michael's travels in both his literature and documentary, i've stayed with Buddhist monks in Thailand and have shared the Dalai Lama's awe inspiring story through Thomas Laird's interviews with his Holiness and have much appreciation for the landscape, history and beauty of Tibet and it's people. Becoming mentally and physically prepared with the help of others knowledge and experiances of travels will greatly benefit myself and boost my self confidence!

Thanks, Simon Reilly
[email protected]
Re: Preperation for the Himalayas by peripatetically on 13 July 2008 1:23am
It being your first time trying such an adventure, be sure to get a thorough physical exam from your physician. And be prepared for alternatives if you find the trek too painstakingly difficult. Have you ever climbed before? It sounds like a very difficult trip, at best. Do you have a party of friends to act as supporters going along with you?

Be careful and have fun and be sure to report back afterwards.

Re: Preperation for the Himalayas by reilly_521 on 13 July 2008 3:28pm
A party of friends are accompanying me and the trip itself is booked through a company that ensures fully qualified guides as well as sherpers. Having just got back from rock climbing and running i can tell you i'm not in best shape but if i keep it up i shall soon be in healthy stead (fingers crossed) to tackle higher peaks. I shall be seeing my GP tomorrow for a health exam and just yesterday my friends and i discussed a trip next month to Wales and Scotland to climb the popular mountains. With a rigourous workout to follow i should be fit enough and perhaps in easter i'll travel to Switzerland to challenge the Eiger!
Still a tad aprehensive as to what to expect with the altitude and mountain sickness however, yet i'm really excited about the prospects of visiting a vast diverse landscape, the experiance is going to be mind blowing!

Thanks for your comments Patty!

Re: Preperation for the Himalayas by peripatetically on 13 July 2008 5:14pm
Oh! HAHAHAHA. When you said 'This is the first time i will have ever attempted anything like this...', I thought you'd never done any climbing at all. Sounds like you are going to be relatively ready with the experience you've had and will do beforehand. Good luck and have a blast.
Re: Preperation for the Himalayas by Godfather on 16 July 2008 12:15pm
As you're on a organized journey, they hopefully should have good experience of calculating how the average foreigner aclimates, and that has likely been incorporated into the schedule (as in days of rest, etc).

Altitude Sickness can strike anyone of any fitness level though (as you may already know but I'll say it anyway), and can even strike people who have been above 5000 mtrs on previous occasions with no problems at all.

It seems to be annoyingly random in that way. With Tibet, the problem when it comes to the road parts of your journey is often that in a day on the vehicle tracks you can climb to great heights far too quickly which makes acclimation difficult. It is common to climb up to a 5.2 thousand metre pass in a few hours,get out of the vehicle take a step and find your head spinning.

I got a little of the typical effects in the west of Tibet. Lying wide awake at night with a thudding heart beat. A little nausea in the morning. For most people it's just a mild headache which is the warning sign to slow right down.

That's the main thing. Not letting ambition get in the way of what your body is telling you. Hopefully they will have taken individuals into account on your journey, if you need to stop for a day or more to take it easy.

That aside, good high level sunscreen. There is a reason why most Tibetans have wind blasted maroon cheeks hehehe. Photography wise, take a good camera. I used a cheap throw away one and the light was dramatically more bright than I realized. Photos from places like Gyantse were virtually bleached out.

At the time of year you are going, the weather can be very unpredictable in Nepal (tremendous rains and landslides in the east) and Tibet (one day glorious blue sky, the next angry looking clouds), so that makes photography a bit easier. More clouds around to break up the glaring light.

Food wise, the typical Nepalese trekking food is Dal Bhat, a rice and lentil curry which is wonderful. In western Tibet the typical common food is Tsampa a ground up barley mixture that is mixed with water or beer, etc.

Tsampa is boring as hell day after day and not power food by any stretch. But you'll also find dishes like Momos (sort of pastry shells filled with meat) and once you're out of the west of Tibet many types of Chinese dishes (such as sichuan) become available (as was the case in old Tibet too as it straddled the western regions of China). Tibetans also have some really nice soups, but that depends on which regions you'll find yourself in.

Anyway,I hope some of this might help :)

* This was another random post from GF *
Re: Preperation for the Himalayas by reilly_521 on 21 July 2008 12:04pm
Fantastic info there Peter ( i hope that's your email account you used, don't want to keep calling you Peter if it's not your real name).
What prompted you to travel to Tibet? It just looks incredible!
Thanks for the pointers - i presume and hope that acclimatisation will be taken into account by the group leaders, no doubt they would have experianced problems with other group members in the past in regards to altitude adjustment. Sun block will be taken into account since I have red hair and fair skin, a trip to Blackpool will probably bring a deep shade of red to my face. The food seems really interesting so i shall look forward to that! How long did you travel for, what attracted you to the west?

I belive the weather gets better the later in the year you leave it but i'll be taking precautions with heavy rains and cold temperatures. I've jut got back from Wales, i've done 4 peaks this weekend, Tryfan was great and it was where Geroge Everest used to train so i enjoyed that. I am indeed starting to get into shape, and another 12 months should do the trick before i leave from London!
Have you done any traveling since, any more wild experiances?

Thanks again for the comments, i'm only inspired further by them!

Re: Preperation for the Himalayas by trizajones on 22 July 2008 10:52am
Hi I have done the base camp walk, it is ok and fine really, I saw children and over-weight people doing it, so don't worry it is a very well worn path and there's lots of tourists doing it. It is not as scenic or epic as other walks but ok for an intro
Re: Preperation for the Himalayas by Ken Dunn on 26 July 2008 4:51pm
I've read lots of books about high altitude climbing but instead of adding to what Godfather has said I'll just say that you must be fit for your expedition and aware that any experience you can get moving around in the region of the Eiger, at about 4000m, would be very good acclimatisation experience for your trek.
The book, 'Into Thin Air' by Jon Krakauer gives a very good insight into a tragic very high altitude commercial expedition but your Base Camp trek will in no way be as serious as that.
News has just come through that a major tragedy on K2 (The Savage Mountain) in the Karakoram region has killed 11 mixed nationality climbers on 3/8/8. An avalanche of ice in 'The Bottleneck' broke away dislodging the fixed ropes. 9 climbers succumbed above The Bottleneck and 2 others died on descent/rescue. This is the worst single disaster on K2 since 1995.
On a brighter note 25 climbers summited on the day and quite a few survived.

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