There’s nothing quite like the journey up the side of a mountain. But while hiking up mountains can offer spectacular views, one-of-a-kind experiences, and a truly incredible fitness challenge, high-altitude hiking should not be undertaken lightly.
If you’re planning an expedition to a high-altitude hiking destination, there are some things you should know to stay safe and comfortable – and ensure you can make it to the peak! Read on, and learn about 5 quick tips for high-altitude hiking success!
- Dress In Layers
This is especially important if you’re going to be gaining a lot of elevation during your hike. The temperature will drop around 3.3° Fahrenheit (2° Celsius) for every 1,000 feet you climb. The higher you climb, the more extreme this effect will be.
However, you’re not going to be chilly right away – so dress in layers. Wear a long-sleeved shirt and pants, and plan to bring a jacket or a coat in your backpack – whatever you may need to stay comfortable once you reach the summit.
- Sun Protection
As you ascend, you’ll be more exposed to the sun – there’s literally less atmosphere to absorb UV rays. For every 1,000 feet you climb, you’ll be 4% more exposed to UV radiation.
It’s a good idea to cover up as much exposed skin as possible with clothing and large-brimmed hats, and ensure that you have adequate sunblock to cover any exposed sections of skin throughout your hike.
- Be Prepared To Feel The Effects Of Altitude
At 6,000 feet, you have 17% less oxygen available to your body, as compared to sea level. At 8,000 feet, this number spikes to 25% – and as you continue to climb, you’ll continue to breathe more thin, dry air.
This will cause you to breathe faster, and will make your heart rate and blood pressure increase as your body attempts to stay balanced. Understand that this is normal – and adjust your hiking pace accordingly. Take breaks when you need to, and ensure that you’re not overexerting yourself.
- Fuel (And Hydrate) Your Body
You’re going to be breathing heavily and losing a lot of water while hiking at high altitudes, so hydration is key. Guzzle plenty of water before your hike – and plan to bring at least 2-3 liters of water on a high-altitude day hike.
You’re going to be burning a lot of calories, too – in excess of 500+ an hour – so load up on carbohydrates on the meal before your hike, and bring along high-calorie foods like candy bars, trail mix, and energy bars.
- Know Your Limits – And Take It Slow
Slow and steady wins the race – especially if you’re hiking up a mountain. At first, things may seem easy – but remember that as you climb, your hike will get more difficult. You want to save your energy as much as possible on the ascent.
Pick a steady pace and stick to it when hiking. A good way to do this when hiking in a group is by selecting the slowest hiker and putting them in the front – their slower pace will ensure that you don’t waste energy by going too fast at a low altitude.
Got More High-Altitude Hiking Tips? Share Them Below!
Devel Fitness is dedicated to providing simple, easy-to-follow advice for fitness enthusiasts. That’s why we developed our SuperBand training system – and that’s why we’ve put together this article about high-altitude hiking.
Are you a seasoned mountain climber? Got some handy tips and tricks that can help novices succeed when climbing their first peak? Feel free to share them below – we’d love to hear from you, and to learn more about the secrets to high-altitude hiking success!