On the hiking trip, you will be hiking five to six hours a day, up and down mountain trails that are sometimes 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, and 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. If you have concerns about your capacity to do this trip, we can suggest appropriate alternatives.
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, we will be providing the sleeping. 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. 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. 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.