It’s important that we have your medical information for use by the leader in the field. The trip leader is responsible for your safety and he may evacuate or disqualify you in the field if necessary. No refunds are given if you have to leave the trip.
Please be aware that hospital facilities for serious medical problems may at times be a long way away, that a doctor may not always be available, and that evacuation can be prolonged, difficult, and expensive. Your trip leader DOES NOT carry prescription medications.
On the hiking trip, you will be hiking five to six hours a day, up and down mountain trails that are sometime steep, and mostly at elevations above 10,000 feet. Exercise at high altitude compounds physiologic stress. In addition, high altitude may create discomfort and symptoms of illness that you do not experience while exercising at lower elevations, such as shortness of breath, restlessness or sleeplessness at night, and headaches. You need to be in excellent health and top physical condition to enjoy such an experience, with adequate cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, and excellent balance.
This level of fitness requires regular aerobic exercise for at least one hour 4-5 times a week. This may include aerobic fitness classes, power walking, jogging, cycling on hills, swimming, and cross-country skiing. Additionally, you must be able to sustain exercise for prolonged periods. Finally, you must have some experience with exercise at altitude.
We recommend that you start a moderate training program several months before departure, then slowly build up to a more strenuous level. Since training is highly sport-specific, include some hiking or running in your program. Consult your physician if you have questions concerning your underlying health. We can help answer questions for you or your physician concerning required levels of fitness and health conditions at altitude. If you have concerns about your capacity to do this trip, we can suggest appropriate alternatives.
Here is a recommended program that should help to get you in good shape. This is only a guideline and can be adapted to your preferences. Consult a physician before commencing any new workout program.
Begin by working out a minimum of three days per week. Strike a good balance between aerobic workout and muscle strengthening. Outdoors, you can run, hike, or mountain bike on hilly terrain to best achieve the aerobic fitness component. Indoors at a gym, you can use the Stairmaster and treadmill wearing a backpack with some weight in it to substitute for the outdoor activities. Work on muscle strengthening either by lifting weights or by doing pushups, sit-ups, and squats. Include a long hike on the weekend (there’s no better way to train for a hiking trip than to hike!). After a few weeks, increase your workouts to a minimum of four days per week.
Take your training program seriously—it’ll be worth it
If you have hiked at 10,000 feet before, you will probably find that hiking at altitudes higher than that is simply an extension of your previous experience—you’ll walk more slowly, rest more frequently, have some restlessness at night, and be subject to headaches. If your previous reaction to altitude has been nausea or other unpleasant symptoms, trekking in Bhutan may not be for you.
We design each of our treks to maximize altitude conditioning in the early part of the trek. However, be forewarned that there are no guarantees that your body will acclimatize properly. Any trip member who, in the opinion of the trip leader, shows signs of potential acute mountain sickness (such as HAPE—high altitude pulmonary edema) will have no choice but to descend and remain at comfortable altitudes. The decision of the trip leader is final in such matters.
While camping, you will share a roomy three-person tent. A bowl of hot water will be provided in the morning before breakfast and in the afternoon upon your arrival at camp. Bring a sponge or washcloth along and you can have a full sponge bath in your tent! There will be a toilet tent.
Food at camp is plentiful, with hearty breakfasts, and four- and five-course dinners. You will find snacks and hot beverages in the dining tent after setting in at camp in the afternoon. Lunches are on the trail. Our staff will have a warm, simple meal ready for us when we reach our lunch spot.
While on Trek: The food served to you in our trekking camps is plentiful and prepared hygienically by a trained, experienced camp staff. We provide boiled water to fill your bottles every evening.