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astonrickenbach
10th January 2009, 06:54 PM
Goal: 16 day BC trip in March/April 2011. Teahouse trip probably using Intrepid. Going with 4 to 10 (talk is cheap) other friends.

Background: Me - 43 yo male from Eastern US, limited camping experience, average height and weight, average shape. Some of the other guys (age ranges 33 to 40) are trying to lose weight and one of the guys has occasional severe back pain. Majority of people in group have no experience with altitude.

Question: What type of shape do you get in to trek in Nepal and what training program do you use? How long before do you begin working in getting into shape? What do you use a gauge to make you feel confident that you are in good enough shape?

My wife has been talking to some people in the last week who talked to someone else who knows someone and they have been encouraging her to talk me out of going as trekking to base camp itself is extremely dangerous and "a lot of people have died doing it".

Thanks,

AR

Escher
10th January 2009, 07:14 PM
Question: What type of shape do you get in to trek in Nepal and what training program do you use? How long before do you begin working in getting into shape? What do you use a gauge to make you feel confident that you are in good enough shape?



Man it really isn't that bad! Get out and get your general fitness up. 3 or 4 runs a week or trips to the gym for an hours workout. Then get a few months of weekend hikes under your belt before you go. That's about it. If you can hike for 6-7 hours and do 10-15 miles on hilly terrain without feeling completely beat you'll be fine.


My wife has been talking to some people in the last week who talked to someone else who knows someone and they have been encouraging her to talk me out of going as trekking to base camp itself is extremely dangerous and "a lot of people have died doing it".


Ha ha ha that's hillarious! They are talking complete rubbish. A few people do die each year out of tens of thousands who visit. Very rare fatal slips, problems with altitude (almost always because of too fast ascent rate) or natural causes. But this stuff (apart from altitude problems) can happen and does happen anywhere. Just follow the standard acclimatisation schedules and you'll be fine. I really wouldn't worry and ask your wife to stop listening to those people as they have no idea what they are talking about. Nepal is a magical place and you will have a ball. Most likely you will love it so much you will want to go straight back. We all did.

astonrickenbach
10th January 2009, 07:48 PM
That's kind of what I thought. I've been doing a ton of research and can't wait to go. Always wanted to see everest in person since I was a kid. (love this site).

I actually just quit smoking after 24 years (six weeks on Thursday) and I am working on getting the lungs back in order. I was thinking of going sooner but the timeframe is right for cleaning the lungs out and getting in shape.

Maybe I'll just leave everyone think how deadly it is to increase my stud factor.

Oli
10th January 2009, 10:43 PM
As Escher says, "walking fit" is generally enough.

The first time I went trekking I "practiced" by carrying a loaded rucksack to work every day, but in recent years I am getting lazy and more inclined to have a porter carry my stuff for me. :rolleyes:

Re "always wanted to see Everest" - that mountain is overrated, but the rest of Khumbu makes up for any slight anticlimax, Ama Dablam is far more impressive. So my suggestion is not to get to hung up on the generic "EBC" thing, consensus is that Gokyo is a nicer destination.

astonrickenbach
11th January 2009, 01:02 AM
Oli, thanks for the info and after doing research and seeing the pics I am looking forward more to Ama Dablam also. I actually was trying to talk the guys into going to Annapurna BC instead since I understand that is a beautiful trek in and of itself but to no avail. It is the name recognition that gets everyone. I've told them that you can't see Everest from BC (although we are going to Kala Pattar) but it makes no difference.

It's the journey not the destination.

AR

Oli
11th January 2009, 01:48 AM
Of course if you are in a group then you have to manage other peoples expectations besides your own. Fortunately "its all good", as they say.
It's the journey not the destination.
Absolutely right, that's the spirit!

Landfall38
11th January 2009, 03:17 AM
Stairs! Don't take another elevator.

Should be lots of mod tall buildings in "eastern USA" (I do recognize this is a major generalization about eastern USA -- having lived there for a time myself)

Long walks -- preferably with up and down (Nepal treks are rarely flat! -- ever? OK, yes, in the Terai. Flat to a Nepali means Hill to us -- watch out for "just a little hill..."! ;) )


On another matter: (surprised fellow Trekinfo folks haven't already suggested this): If you already have a group of friends who are going with you, why not contact a guide and/or agency in Nepal directly, rather than paying the signif extra dollars via Intrepid? (This is not a slur against Intrepid.) Also, you will have much more control over pace.

Many of us can recommend good guides/agencies.



Oh yes, agree with all -- "trekking to base camp itself is extremely dangerous and "a lot of people have died doing it". had me laughing too. Living in a North American city is likely far more dangerous (with the one exception of going high too fast, which can happen on some group treks -- just do your research on AMS:
see http://www.ismmed.org/np_altitude_tutorial.htm
(http://www.ismmed.org/np_altitude_tutorial.htm)


PS Good on you -- Keep up the good work by sticking with quitting smoking (it will make a hell of a difference)

astonrickenbach
11th January 2009, 04:40 AM
Thanks for the website. I live in Pennsylvania (no I'm not Amish but my grandmother was Pa Dutch and she made the best chicken pot pie - and no it is not the crap you buy in pastry in the frozen food section).

I was reviewing this site for info on altitude sickness which is pretty good also:

http://www.basecampmd.com/

I live close to the Appalachian Trail so I am a little more set for hills/mountains than stairs believe it or not.

I am doing research right now on getting a new set of boots and probably will drive to Philly to the REI store there. I have a Cabella's about an a hour away but I think I am more in luck with the REI.

I have been reading piles of posts on this BB and it has been extremely helpful.

astonrickenbach
11th January 2009, 04:46 AM
"On another matter: (surprised fellow Trekinfo folks haven't already suggested this): If you already have a group of friends who are going with you, why not contact a guide and/or agency in Nepal directly, rather than paying the signif extra dollars via Intrepid? (This is not a slur against Intrepid.) Also, you will have much more control over pace.

Many of us can recommend good guides/agencies."

I have been going back and forth about that and will bring it up again as we are having a meeting in the next month or so to get an assessment of who is serious about going. Money is not really an issue as we think the cost for everything will be right around $ 3000 (todays money). $ 1000 for land cost $ 1600 air and whatever walking around cash.

Some of the guys wanted other people in our group just to liven it up but I would prefer not since it can be a blessing or a curse that you can't get away from it you wanted.

I will review the other threads for recommendations also.

Landfall38
11th January 2009, 05:10 AM
Some of the guys wanted other people in our group just to liven it up but I would prefer not since it can be a blessing or a curse that you can't get away from it you wanted.


Oh yes, it can be a real curse! :eek:


FYI re guidebooks: the TrailBlazer Everest Guide is an excellent guide (I think the best) and they were scheduled to come out with a new edition Dec 19 2008. Likely REI will not have it yet. Wherever you get it -- store or online -- make sure it has at least a 2008 pub date.

astonrickenbach
11th January 2009, 05:56 AM
I will look that one up. Funny you brought that up as I was just looking at books this past week. Thanks a bunch.

marcy
11th January 2009, 08:05 AM
Re Trekking in the Everest Region, I think Jamie finished the 5th edition around mid to late October so I doubt its actually hit the presses yet. Im guessing it may be another month or two before its on the shelves.

Improper altitude acclimatization is what generally makes people sick/kills people/ or just makes their trips less happy then they could be. Fit people often try and rush up the trail too fast. Tour groups often try to rush the trek in order to fit it into a vacation schedule.

If you have a few friends you're going with, hire your own guide/porters rather than going with a group so that you can pause an extra day or two for acclimatization or if someone's got a bad stomach. The best thing you can do for yourself is not try to keep to some macho schedule of covering big distances if you're not 100% sure how everyone in your group reacts to altitude. Leave lots of time for extra acclimatization.

As for getting trekking fit, in addition to hiking, stairs, stair climbers, versa climbers and lunging all come in very handy for getting ready for a trek ....you'll be doing alot of lifting your feet higher than you are accustomed to doing.

Mats
11th January 2009, 08:55 PM
Re Trekking in the Everest Region, I think Jamie finished the 5th edition around mid to late October so I doubt its actually hit the presses yet. Im guessing it may be another month or two before its on the shelves.
According to Trailblazer's website (http://www.trailblazer-guides.com/books/), they're shipping the 5th edition now.

.

Petrus
12th January 2009, 12:53 AM
About 20 tourist die in Nepal every year, but only 2 from AMS (appr. figures from about 4 years ago). The rest are accidents, old age etc. Quite many group members are old, not trekkers but those visiting just Kathmandu and maybe Tiger Tops. AMS deaths are unnecessary; ignorance, maybe peer pressure.

marcy
12th January 2009, 06:31 AM
AMS deaths definitely unnecessary. But first time trekkers especially need to pay attn to their bodies b/c not everyone acclimatizes at the same rate and its too easy to let yourself feel pressured to keep up. Also, its critical to stay hyrated and stay warm enough at night. Amazing how many people I met with bad AMS who were rushing up too fast and not adequately hydrating.

While people aren't dropping dead left and right, it is important to be aware that people do die from AMS and other trek/altitude induced stress. Every single time I've trekked at least one person has died of altitude sickness whilst I was trekking. Not in my group, just while I was on trek, and often in the town I was in. Sometimes too people drop dead on trek for reasons unknown (could be altitude sickness, bloodclot or heart attack). E.g., when I arrived at Tengboche in 05 they were cremating a tourist who dropped dead in the loo. The rescue helicopter traffic up and down the valleys does brisk business.

And every single trek I've personally encountered at least a half a dozen or more people who definitely have moderate to severe AMS or simply b/c they are being stupid.

I myself am extra cautious b/c I know I don't acclimatize as fast as the average bear. In 1990I trekked Annapurna. Despite taking a far more cautious acclimatization schedule then HRA recommended, I nearly died of HACE on the thorung la. Thankfully, a doctor I met enroute gave me diamox and a swiss guy picked me up and ran down carrying me. This year, even on diamox andan extra cautious acclimatization schedule (pakhding, monjo, 3 nights namche), my oxygen saturation dropped to 71% in Khumjung, forcing me down to Namche for another few days and to double my diamox dose to 250mg twice a day. Once I did acclimatize, though, I was fine the rest of the way up and my oxygen saturation was 95% when I got back down to Namche again.

yakshaver
12th January 2009, 01:18 PM
Certainly acclimatization is important, and it bears stressing. Hoever I have not met as many people suffring form AMS as you mention... Either in Annapurna or Khumbu. You make it sound like some pandemic.

Of course one needs follow the usually recommended precautions. And on top of that listen to your body, because everyone's different (appart from me...).

RRainey
12th January 2009, 08:51 PM
I'd say the better the shape the more you enjoy. But what it really comes down to is how do you acclimitize, and taking enough days.

Major point here. Make sure if you take all this trouble that you go all the way to the real base camp. When I talked to most people they stopped at the first prayer flags. go all the way to where the major memorial and tent sites are located.

Edgewood
13th January 2009, 04:25 AM
Congradulations on quitting smoking Astronrickenbach, stick with it. That will be harder then the trek.

minialan
13th January 2009, 06:06 AM
Hi. Firstly i would just like to second some of the previous comments, in that so long as you are prepared, aclimatize properly, and learn to recognise the danger signs of the early onset of AMS then you will be fine.

I think you cannot underestimate the importance of leaving yourself enough time, not only to aid aclimatization but aslo to relish and absorb the beauty of the surroundings, and the villages you will pass. Give yourself more time in Nepal than you think you will need and you will not regret it.

Leading on from that i think it is worth considering trekking independantly as a group. I am sure there are plenty of people out there that think this is crazy but the route to EBC, even from Jiri (What was) is so heavily trodden that its easy to find the way. A good book such as the aforementioned 'trailblazer' guide, and a map is all you need. Go on, be brave ! When trekking independantly you sleep in the same huts and eat the same food as the folk in the tour groups mostly anyway. You still carry a daypack when in a tour group, so you may as well pack light and carry it all yourself. The sense of achievment in doing this is enormous.

Sorry to rabbit on, but trust me, stop worrying about the what ifs, and prepare for the WOWS !!!

astonrickenbach
13th January 2009, 07:46 AM
Thanks for the info. I am going to do some research about going at it alone and with the idea of picking up the sherpas and guide when there.

I have been reading "Walk high, sleep low" and it doesn't seem difficult to go it alone or form your own trip. I am just going to toss some numbers around figure out some costs. You have been a great help.

AR

Landfall38
13th January 2009, 10:29 AM
I am sure there are plenty of people out there that think this is crazy but the route to EBC, even from Jiri (What was) is so heavily trodden that its easy to find the way.

I agree in the sense that this was said -- that the EBC trail, including from Jiri, is straightforward for finding your way -- however, I have to disagree if it also suggests the Jiri trail is either busy or somehow ruined (??).

The Jiri trail is surprisingly UNcrowded (guess most like the "easy" way via Lukla). Also surprising, somewhat in contrast to the Jomsom/Annapurna area's roads, the new road to Bhandar really had no impact on the walking (as of Dec 2008). It was a pleasant surprise. [Right Oli?]

Of course, taking the Jiri route is a LOT more work than flying to Lukla, but I still think the rewards are worth it [and it is a GREAT way to get in shape for EBC.]

minialan
14th January 2009, 04:23 AM
Good luck with the trip. Please let us all know what option you went for and how it all eventually went. I wish i could do the EBC trek again, it certainly was ace. You will have a great time.

On reflection of my trip to EBC (i do like to reminisce !!!) when i formed a group of about eight of us we all had a variety of levels of stamina and fitness. Also our pack sizes and weights varied enormously.

We found that we all had 'off days' when we were simply too knackered to carry on, or found our packs too heavy to carry (those of us that had typically took too much gear!) Anyway as part of a newly formed group of friends we shared the gear out, carrying the gear of the group member that was having the 'off day'. The team spirit also spured us on no end. I foolishly took a tent with me and ended up staying in the lodges most the time anyway. For a couple of days i had real bad blisters on my feet and found that the others volunteered to carry the tent for me. Top chaps. I remember spotting a most fantastic apple pie shop in a place called Jumbesi i think it was. Anyway, needless to say i purchased the job lot of pies that the shop had and gave them out to my friends. I have a great photo of us all stuffing ourselves silly. A day i shall never forget.

You will have many great days like this ahead of you on your trip.....

Spoons
14th January 2009, 09:07 AM
First, pack weight... I did both base camp (and Island peak) and annapurna circuit with a small pack.. 22 lbs total with sleeping bag and it was fine.. If you take more weight than that your wasting your time and your energy.. Contact me if you want a packing list... The best way I found to get into shape is go on hikes. If that is not an option a run/ hike workout on the treadmill works great.. Do at least 4 miles 3 days a week. Run at a 3% incline for 5 minutes, then jack up the treadmill as high as it will go and walk at 3.5mph for 10 minutes.. repeat 3 times. This will be great. You will be in shape but nothing can prep you for the altitude. I was ok on annapurna circuit, got sick at base camp of everst, and the climbed Island Peak with no problem.. Bottom line, the better in shape you are, the more fun you will have..

Zzapped
26th January 2009, 02:53 AM
Just discovered this site..........Im off to EBC in May 2009, ive been a lazy fat slob most of my life and decided to do something about it and set a goal, EBC. Im working out 6 days per week on the treadmill and also walking about 4 k's perday up and down the hilly part of my suburb . My main concern is Altitude Sickness so I am arriving in Kathmandu two days before my trek starts to try to acclimatise a bit better, do you think that will help and what else could you suggest to help me to my goal

Cheers

Z

Escher
26th January 2009, 12:28 PM
Having some time in Kathmandu is a good idea, not so much for acclimatisation as that doesn't really start until after 2500m or higher, but to recover from your flight and be able to relax. If you are feeling refreshed then your body will cope better with everything.

All the standard advice for acclimatisation is to ascend slowly, eat well, drink lots, sleep well. And when higher up climb high sleep low. I.e. take a hike up a hill in the afternoon and then come down to sleep. Just follow the standard guide book itineraries and you should be fine. But if you feel rough (listen to what your body tells you) then just take more time, ascend more slowly and take rest days.

daveinjakarta
26th January 2009, 12:37 PM
I wouldn't worry about it...the first three days of the trek can be your fitness program. It has more to do with the head than your feet as to whether you can handle the altitude and make it up to basecamp. Getting fitter may make you more confident but there is a lot more to it than getting fit.
relax and enjoy....

yakshaver
27th January 2009, 02:31 AM
Z, the key to acclimatization and Altitude Sickness prevention in Khumbu is to spend around a couple of nights in Namche (3450 m altitude - a must) and I strongly suggest another night in Kumjung at around 3800m.
It seems the body catches up well with the production of enough red cells to "suck" enough oxigen out of the thin air, if you do this.

I have tried this in my last two treks in the area (2004 - 4 tourists and 2008 - 8 tourists). Neither me, nor any of the other trekkers in the group got AMS.

A day trip trip up the hill (maybe to the Everest View hotel) on the free day in Namche also seems to help acclimatizing.

More than anything, "listen" to your body. Don't worry about any mild headache, or some shortness of breath at night (some sleep apnea will happen)... This is normal after 3000-4000 m altitude. But if it becomes a huge headache, and does not go away after a couple of hours, maybe you go down a few hundred metres to some lodge, and sleep there. Or at least stay another day where you are, to acclimatize. Usually this does the trick, if it is AMS.

Escher
27th January 2009, 04:46 PM
I have tried this in my last two treks in the area (2004 - 4 tourists and 2008 - 8 tourists). Neither me, nor any of the other trekkers in the group got AMS.



But don't you take diamox routinely above 3000m and always have done on all your treks?

Zzapped
27th January 2009, 05:41 PM
Yeah....we have two days in Namche and then two days in Dingboche. Im hoping that does the trick. Im really looking forward to this even though Im going on the touristy trek with a trekking company, its really a precursor for 2012 when I take long service leave and hope to spend a couple of months trekking about the place either on my own or with some other likeminded people

Cheers

Z

Per
27th January 2009, 10:47 PM
I actually just quit smoking after 24 years (six weeks on Thursday) and I am working on getting the lungs back in order.

Tip, if you canīt live without nicotine, there is always snuff, if you use the type that comes in pouches your wife will still find you kissable

http://www.camtradinginc.com/images/smokeless/copepouch.jpg

Both me and my wife use it constantly. Excellent stuff, has kept us from smoking for fifteen years, it may have some of the drawbacks of tobacco but is spares your lungs.

Whilst in Nepal you can easily stretch your supply with the local "khaini"

http://gobindtobacco.com/images/suvidha-image.gif

It is also useful as a leech repellant: just soak your socks in water and khaini over night before you start trekking, and the little creeps will not even think of approaching you unless suicidal.

astonrickenbach
28th January 2009, 07:04 AM
Thanks for the info. I won't be/can't use the snuff. I just had to get braces and the snuff would discolor my teeth and when the braces came off I would have little white squares on all my teeth.

Plus I haven't had a smoke in 8.5 weeks and have been doing the treadmill for 35 minutes every other day and hiking on Sundays. I am thinking of joining a local hiking club as the Appalachian trail is close by and I can do that on weekends.

Did a 12 minute mile on the treadmill going from 7 degrees to 11 to 15 deg while running from 6 to 8 mph. It made me a tad winded but I was able to do another 1/2 mile on the flat before I died.

yakshaver
28th January 2009, 02:04 PM
Thanks for the info. I won't be/can't use the snuff. I just had to get braces and the snuff would discolor my teeth and when the braces came off I would have little white squares on all my teeth.

Plus I haven't had a smoke in 8.5 weeks and have been doing the treadmill for 35 minutes every other day and hiking on Sundays. I am thinking of joining a local hiking club as the Appalachian trail is close by and I can do that on weekends.

Did a 12 minute mile on the treadmill going from 7 degrees to 11 to 15 deg while running from 6 to 8 mph. It made me a tad winded but I was able to do another 1/2 mile on the flat before I died.

You'll be way too fit man... Stop it! ;)

Spaceman347
28th January 2009, 04:01 PM
Good on you, I was still smoking when I made my first trip to Nepal and it was walking up those hills and the desire to walk up more of them that finally provided me with the inspiration to stop smoking. Don't overdo the training or you'll put yourself off, maintain a good steady program and you'll be fine. Try to fit in some long gentle hikes when you can.

Sharon
28th January 2009, 07:45 PM
Get miles on your feet. Just walk some long distances 10 miles or more. They don't have to be on trails but get your feet broken in for long days on them.

astonrickenbach
29th January 2009, 09:17 AM
Been doing the excercise more right now just to get my lungs cleaned out a bit and it is a good stress relief. Looking into doing more hiking in my area and looks like we are doing Sunday hikes weekly and I really enjoy that.

Get the March Backpacker issue. Really good info that should interest everyone here.