|Our first pass over 5,000 m (ever!) on |
Day 3 of our Cordillera Real trek.
So here are a few tips for aspiring altitude travellers, gleaned from what has worked for us (of course, everyone reacts a little differently to high altitudes, so take this as food for thought):
- Take your time to acclimatize properly. We took 7 days with acclimatization hikes (ie hike high, sleep at 3,000 m), lots longer than any of the commercial trips offered in the Cordillera Blanca. They are set up to fit the typical 2 week vacation after all.
- Take a tylanol if you get a headache. Diamox is a favourite drug to take to help people with altitude issues, but it is also a diuretic and as such counter-indicated for altitude issues. If you can take a few days to get used to being high then a tylanol is probably a fine option.
- Drink water. It is the best medicine against AMS symptoms. Naturally, do not over-hydrate. And until you acclimatize try to keep away from alcohol ... no fun, I know.
- Take responsibility for your health and don´t blame your tour operators or guides if you get AMS symptoms. Just because they offer a particular itinerary doesn´t mean you need to follow it. You kow yourself and you get to make sure you have a great time!
|Huayna Potosi in the late |
afternoon light of day 8. The next day
we walked to Base camp around the
- 6. And take some time to understand the climate specific to the mountains you want to visit. We noticed that 4,400 m on Aconcagua is a totally different experience than 4,400 m in the Cordillera Blanca: Aconcagua is an arid desert while in Peru the tropical climate is far moister and animals graze up to 4,800 m! Guess which is easier on the human, then?!
|This is the final path to the top of|
Huayna Potosi. See the steps at the edge of
the snow and rocks? Just above that
was the summit. (Pedro´s head is here just for scale.)
So when you plan your trip, find out how high you will sleep, how high you will hike and how much elevation change you will cover. Then you can sort out the best plan for you.