Last year I had the amazing experience of returning to Peru to hike the Huayhuash Circuit. This is a pretty amazing 11 day trek and rates as one of the best hikes in the world. It was my first time ever at altitude and I’d heard a lot of stories.
Before I left, I did a bit of reading on altitude sickness (OK, I Googled it a couple of times) and spoke with a whole bunch of friends who’ve been there, done that.
The strongest messages that came across were these:
- You can’t predict how you will react to altitude
- Your reaction doesn’t depend on physical fitness
- Just because you had a bad experience once, doesn’t mean you’ll react the same again***
- Take ascending slow
- Take time to aclimatise
- Trek high – sleep low
- Keep your fluids/water up
- Eat healthy
Well, I can pretty much vouch for all of these. Even though I did all the right things*, I still had a couple of really, super crappy moments up there.
The other interesting bit of advice I received, was that many of the experienced guides in the Huayhuash don’t recommend taking Diamox*. Certainly, our guide (and my friends who did the trek the previous year), felt this way. As a result, I took some with me to Peru, but didn’t start taking it until day 3, after a particularly bad morning.
This little video clip gives a few little insights into how my body reacted to being at altitude. I hope you find it useful!
Oh and if anybody asked me if I’d go back to altitude? I say, ‘there’s so much under 2,228m** that I want to do, it will have to wait***!’
(Stay tuned for the full trip video… coming soon!)
** Australia’s highest mountain is Mt Kosciuszko at 2,228m.