Trekking in the Himalayas has its own advantages as being one of the most serene destination for trekking. Most of treks in Himalayas are at high altitude which means anything above 8,000 ft above sea level. However high altitude treks have it’s own risk and problems. So before going on for a Himalayan trek, it is better that you are aware of the trekking and risks involved and the practical solutions in the Himalayas.
These are the possible risks which we may encounter during the high altitude treks.
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)
Sudden Change In Weather
Acute Mountain Sickness:
On mountains it is said that “If you feel unwell at High Altitude then assume it is ‘Acute Mountain Sickness’ in absence of any other explanation.”
It is a good idea to rest for more time and to drink plenty of fluids to reduce the effect of AMS. Never climb up if you start getting AMS, climbing up with AMS is stupidity and it will increase its effect which can be a life threatening situation. If AMS symptoms are there for more than 24 hours then it’s better to get down.
Remember “One’s state of physical fitness has no bearing towards susceptibility of AMS.” This is why acclimatization is very important before beginning the trek.
You can read Acclimatization Blog to avoid High Altitude Sickness.
We all should be aware that the climate at mountains can change drastically without any warning including temperature, wind, snow and rainfall. Although each region of Himalaya has its own time for for snowfall and rainfall. However, weather in Himalayas is unpredictable which is why we should always be prepared to evacuate the campsite.
It’s good to keep enough warm clothes, rain-coats or ponchos and all the necessary things which are provided on website too.
Ankle twists, sprain in legs, accidental falls and slipping on rocks and snow can happen at Himalayan Treks too. And sometime people may encounter fracture and dislocations too but these things are very rare.In a serious conditions, trekker should be brought down to the base camp as soon as possible. Remember trek leaders are trained for basic first aid and trained to handle emergencies but they are not doctors so It’s the best option to go down to the base camp.
How does Evacuation happen at Himalayas?
Evacuation from any of the trek specially in Himalayas is not easy like in regular cities we have. It is very much time consuming too because of terrain conditions, weather and availability of less resources.
Carrying a trekker with the help of stretcher is the best option in such remote Himalayan areas. It requires a team of 4 to 6 porters and a stretcher and some tie ropes if the trail is narrow and steep.
Helicopter is never a good idea. Helicopter generally has to start from nearest airport which may be Dehradun or Jammu Kashmir which may take 2-3 hours to reach the place. It again needs some flat area and clear weather to land on the surface while Himalayan areas become cloudy in afternoon.
Communication to helicopter rescue team is also not possible because of no provision of satellite phones by government. And it’s better to go down as soon as possible from the particular place rather than to wait at any unknown place without good communications.
What we are left with is the will of the trekker who needs to be evacuated and porters and team members. Once we reach the base camp from there reaching hospital is not an easy task too. It may take 2-3 hours at least in some case from base camp. Also, the facilities of the hospital won’t be polished as compared to cities.
Mountains are beautiful but beautiful things come up with a price of risk. A calculative self aware risk.