How to Prepare for a Trek in the Himalayas

The Himalayas are formidable mountain ranges, and trekking them can be an exciting as well as a tiresome experience. This article will tell you how to go on a Himalayan trek, and what preparations are required for the same.
Trekking is an addiction. Every year, thousands of people from across the world leave their homes for days together, in order to go trekking and explore the lesser-known and difficult terrains of our planet. People are so enthusiastic about their treks that they tend to prepare for them several months in advance, and more often than not, their journeys, indeed, exceed their expectations. One such destination, which is undoubtedly a haven for trekking enthusiasts worldwide, is the Himalayas. The sheer mention of the name gets trekkers on their toes, and soon, they are on to an expedition to explore the forbidden peaks of the mighty mountains.

Preparing for a Himalayan Trek

If you wish to go on a trek to the Himalayas, it’s important to ensure you are thoroughly prepared. The most handsome mountain ranges in the world can also be most unpredictable and at times, ruthless for an unsuspecting trekker. Here is a rough guide that will help you make adequate and proper preparations for your ‘trek of a lifetime’.

Stay Fit

If you are attracted to the beauty and serenity of the Himalayas and decide to trek the mountains, it is very essential to stay extremely fit. Only the fitness of your body will help you climb the tough terrain of the Himalayan ranges, and complete the mission.

Increase Your Stamina

You can begin by doing simple things, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, climbing steep hills, preferably with a loaded backpack, walking faster than usual, and also covering long distances. These exercises will enable you to increase your stamina, and this will help you a lot during your actual trek. Other cardiovascular exercises can also help you to a great extent.

Keep Yourself Hydrated

This becomes very essential, especially when you are climbing steep terrains and/or camping at very high altitudes. As you climb higher and higher, the oxygen levels in the atmosphere tend to diminish, leading to breathlessness and extensive fluid loss from your body. This can be dealt with if you focus on optimizing your sleep. Make it a point to sleep for at least eight hours a day. Moreover, drink lots of water. This will not only keep you hydrated, but will also make you less susceptible to altitude sickness during your trek.

At the end, do not forget to do regular muscle exercises so that they are conditioned for the difficult ascents and descents in the trek.

Be Absolutely Sure About Your Health

If you are planning to go trekking, you need to be absolutely sure that you are not suffering from any kind of illness. Before starting your trek, if you have any kind of uneasiness or there is an onset of a mental or physical problem, it is more advisable to postpone your plan. This is simply because the mountains can be hostile at times, and medical facilities may not be available in the most remote passes. It is, therefore, not advisable to ignore even a slightest hint of an illness, as it may become really troublesome later on.

Eat a Wholesome Diet

For trekking in the Himalayas, it is essential to stay in good physical and mental shape, and one of the basic factors promoting this is the consumption of good food. As you go deeper and deeper into the Himalayas, freshly cooked food remains your only option, as canned food loses its taste and nutrition after some days. So, while you are in the process of grooming yourself for the tedious trek, focus more on eating freshly cooked, simple but wholesome food so that it won’t be very difficult for you during your trip.

Do Basic Research

If you are going on a Himalayan trek for the first time, it is very important that you know the region. This is simply because it will help you prepare yourself mentally for the trek. You can get help from the Internet, regarding the mountains themselves, people, culture, food, climate, geography, and also the various tour operators in the area. If you know someone who had been to a Himalayan trek in the past, then it is a good idea to speak to that person about his/her experiences. This will help you decide whether you actually want to embark on the journey or not. Also, see if any sort of permits or licenses are required to go trekking in certain areas of the Himalayas. Generally, the agents take care of these, but if you are traveling on your own, you need to get information on the various authorities that issue these licenses and permits, and get in touch with them as soon as possible.

Plan Your Trip

The Himalayan ranges are a beautiful blend of natural treasures and cultural heritage. See where your interest lies, and chalk out an itinerary for your trek. For instance, if natural beauty is what impresses you, you may choose to trek through the lush, luxuriant Himalayan forests, in which case, Sikkim would be a good place to go. On the other hand, if you are a history freak and wish to explore some of the ancient Buddhist monasteries, Little Tibet may be a good option. It should be noted that it is impossible to capture the Himalayas in one, single trek. So, plan properly as to exactly what you want to achieve through your trek.

Proper Timing is Vital

Once you have decided where in the Himalayas you want to go, the next step is to determine when you should go there. The best time to go trekking into the Himalayas is generally from March to June. However, you should not be overconfident about the weather, which may change drastically all of a sudden. The Indian Himalayas experience heavy rains during the months of July and August. So, it is better not to head towards them during this period. Moreover, they also experience an extreme winter from the middle of November till March. So, if you want to trek the mountains during this period, you can head to Nepal instead of India.

Consider the Unforeseen Expenses

Setting a budget is important, especially if you decide to trek independently. Remember that you are about to head towards an absolutely unpredictable place on earth, and therefore, apart from the obvious expenses such as those incurred on food, accommodation, porters, and transportation, there may also be numerous unforeseen expenses. Hence, it is advisable to keep some extra cash with you. On the other hand, if an agent is organizing your trip, it is recommended to carry some extra money to be given as tip. Hanging on to a tight budget while on a Himalayan trek might not help in certain contingent situations.

Assemble a Proper Trekking Gear

Trekking certain remote locations in the Himalayas can tend to be more difficult than those in the other mountain ranges in the world. So, you have to be absolutely sure that your trekking gear is of a good quality, and sturdy enough to withstand the brutalities of mountain weather. If your agent is arranging a gear for you, do not sit back and relax. Double-check the contents arranged by your agent. If in doubt, at least carry your own sleeping bag and tent.

Things to Remember

◆ Do not forget to carry enough warm clothes, as the Himalayan climate remains cold throughout the year.

◆ Carry a medical kit, containing, apart from your basic medications, things such as wound disinfectants, band aids, mosquito repellents, a thermometer, and some analgesics and antibiotics, as prescribed by your physician.

◆ If you are trekking independently, be sure that you carry adequate camping and cooking equipment. This should include a sturdy, but lightweight tent, sleeping mats, a kerosene stove, and some lightweight utensils.

◆ Before hiring a trekking company, check properly about their reputation. Ensure that your guide is experienced and knows the routes properly. It is also advisable that you purchase a map of the region before you embark on the trek so that you are able to find your way during contingencies.

No matter how long or difficult your Himalayan trek may be, the mountains will always make you happy, so much so that you will want to return to them again and again. All you need to do is to consider the tips given above, before you decide to embark on your journey. It is also advisable that you carry some basic medicines with you so that they can come handy whenever you need them during the trek. You can also carry certain foodstuff, such as dry fruits, chocolates, or packets of instant noodles so that you can have quick bites on high altitudes. Carry only those items which are absolutely necessary, and see to it that your backpack is as light as possible. Remember to be polite and respectful towards the local people. Eventually, it will be nothing but your positive attitude that will help you successfully complete the trek, and return home with an unparalleled experience that you will cherish all through your life.