We lead hundreds of trekkers of all ages and levels of fitness to Everest Base Camp each year. The two questions that nearly every trekker asks before taking on Everest Base Camp are: “How hard is the trek, and how do I prepare?” Many people picture the trek to Everest Base Camp as something like a marathon up the world’s tallest mountain, a physical challenge far beyond their ability. While the trek is tough, it is not nearly so bad as this. With the right attitude, the right pace, and some good preparation, trekkers young and old successfully reach Base Camp, and have a wonderful time along the way.
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One of the major challenges facing trekkers heading to Everest Base Camp or any other high elevation trek in the Himalayas is dealing with the potential threat of High Altitude Sickness. The primary cause of High Altitude Sickness is a decrease in the amount of available oxygen with altitude. To ensure you have a safe trek it’s important to be aware of this potentially life threatening condition and its symptoms. Everyone is susceptible to High Altitude Sickness and it is just as likely in physically fit persons as those who are unfit. This article is worth a read even if you have been to high elevations before without symptoms. Cause of High Altitude Sickness The primary cause of High Altitude Sickness is that amount of available oxygen in the atmosphere decreases with altitude. While the percentage of oxygen (21%) in the atmosphere remains constant the density of the atmosphere decreases so that the available oxygen when you take a breath becomes less. The decrease in density of the atmosphere is not linear and that density decreases more rapidly with increasing altitude so that the impact of going from 10,000 to 20,000 feet is not as significant as going from 20,000 […]
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