Hiking at high altitudes can be both a challenge and an invigorating experience. If you want to push the limits and try high-altitude hiking, you should make yourself aware of some important pieces of advice to keep yourself safe and have the most enjoyable experience possible. These four tips should be heeded by every first-time high-altitude hiker.

Go Slow

As tempting as it may be to try to rush up to the top of the mountain, going too quickly can end up setting you back on your hike. Trying to move too quickly can burn off energy faster and make reaching the top much more difficult. You could also run into health problems if you try to go too fast. It’s important to realize that your body will move slower naturally as you get to higher altitudes, and you shouldn’t become frustrated if you start to feel that you’re moving sluggishly.

Be Aware of Problematic Symptoms

High-altitude hiking comes with certain health risks, and knowing how to recognize symptoms of potentially dangerous symptoms will allow you to take the appropriate measures to protect your safety. Acute mountain sickness (AMS) is one of the most common sicknesses that high-altitude hikers face, and symptoms often include headache, nausea and shortness of breath. High altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) is a potentially serious condition that includes symptoms such as an irregular heartbeat and a sensation of suffocating or drowning.

Bring Additional Oxygen

Breathing usually gets more difficult the higher you go, and having an additional supply of oxygen can help keep you from running out of breath. A pure canned oxygen supplement that gives you a blast of oxygen whenever you need it can be brought along for the journey. This supplement resembles a standard aerosol spray can with a flip-top cap and offers one of the easiest ways to get the oxygen that your body will need when hiking at a high altitude.

Eat Right

Eating the right foods before and during your hike can help you stay fueled and prevent certain health problems. You’ll want to eat enough high-calorie foods to give yourself enough energy for your journey, and some foods that are particularly good for high-altitude hiking include beef jerky and chocolate. You’ll also want to get enough iron in your body by eating foods like broccoli, figs and dates. You can help your body even more by eating foods with carbohydrates such as bread, fruit, and potatoes.
Making the right preparations can help you get through your high-altitude hike with fewer difficulties. By avoiding certain problems on your first-time high-altitude hike, you’ll likely feel more encouraged to try another one of these challenging hikes in the future.

Author's Bio: 

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan