What I learnt whilst on high
What I learnt whilst on high…
Trekking at altitude is a physical, mental an emotional challenge that requires a dedicated focus on nutrition, a quiet mind and an organized backpack full of the right gear.
I learnt lots of lessons whilst trekking in Africa last week, up two of the highest peaks on that continent. Four years ago I attempted to climb Mt Kilimanjaro with far less experience, wisdom and knowledge than I took with me this time round, and in hindsight I can now look at both experiences and share some of the lessons and tips I found most useful in helping me to summit both Mt Meru and Mt Kilimanjaro within a week of each other.
- Hidden challenges are rewarding if you welcome them and adapt – Mt Meru was a hidden challenge that none of the team had anticipated. Rocky scrambles in the dark, kilometres of steep, rocky scree to descend and steep drop offs on either side made for a very challenging trek, where we ascended and then descended over 3000 metres in 3 days. But the joy and feeling of accomplishment that followed the initial exhaustion will long be remembered by our team.
- A quiet mind, steady breathing and positive attitude really go along way at altitude.
- Caring for others and sharing our daily magic moments really brought the team together and helped us to appreciate the beauty and magic of the mountain we were climbing, no matter how hard the day had been physically.
- Be in the moment
- Respect the guides and staff that support you – they are experts in this area and have helped thousands of people to climb these mountains. Learn from their wisdom and advice and be prepared to think outside of the box.
- Have a reason, a goal or a person in mind as your inspiration to climb that mountain.
- Take one day at a time – revel in the new sights, sounds, tastes and experiences around you, rather than worrying about lies ahead the next day.
- Believe in yourself and the team
- Stay healthy – eat well, hydrate 4-5l a day, give your body a chance to adapt before taking lots of medications; take supplements like Vit C, Gingko, probiotics and Iron to help you to resists bugs and stay well.
- Watch and learn from those in the team who are experienced at altitude and who have little pearls of wisdom to impart. Follow in their footsteps literally – technical walking in a rhythm really helps one to focus on breathing regulation.