Acute mountain sickness in Kanchenjunga Trek

For the vast majority of people who come to the kanchenjunga, trekking is a safe, exhilarating, and life enhancing pursuit. The mountain environment is both challenging and enriching but also comes with a variety of dangers that need to be recognised.

Unstable, narrow, exposed paths, unsteady bridges, landslides, rock falls, crevasses, avalanches, hazardous river crossings, and even wayward yaks with sharp horns may all be encountered at one time or another. The steep ascents and descents that occur on almost every route require a good level of both physical and mental fitness. A lack of concentration could result in serious consequences.

And then there is Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). AMS is a potentially life threatening condition caused by ascending too high without proper acclimatization. It is essential for you to learn the signs and symptoms of AMS and how to deal with them.

AMS and its more serious associated conditions, High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE), and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) can strike at any time. HAPE and HACE are considered life threatening and immediate medical evacuation is usually called for. If at any time during the trek, especially at higher altitudes you feel difficulty in breathing, dizziness, headache, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, vomiting, sore muscles, and an aching back or stiff shoulder tell your guide immediately.

Symptoms of acute mountain sickness in early stage

  • Headache
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Lack of interest on food
  • Lost of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Sore muscles
  • Ache back & frozen shoulder
  • Sleeplessness

Most health hazards can generally be avoided by common sense and following the safety do’s and don’t listed below.

  • Make sure you have a medical and dental check up before embarking on your Kanchenjunga adventure
  • Make sure you have all your inoculations recommended for Nepal
  • Make sure your tetanus vaccination is up to date
  • Register your personal details and route plan with your embassy in Kathmandu
  • Carry a first aid kit and know how to use it
  • Watch where you are walking and remain alert for hazards
  • Carry some sugary snacks for a boost
  • Watch for early signs of AMS in yourself, your companions, your porters and guides and act upon them early
  • Never walk alone