Conquering altitude sickness at Everest

PHOTO: Conquering altitude sickness at Everest

Carolyn, a political science student, made a school trip to Nepal in 2009, where she experienced some altitude sickness.

Having trekked Malaysia's Kota Kinabalu and mountains in New Zealand before, she felt confident about the ascent.

The group, consisting of 20 students, had intended to trek to Tengboche Monastry at about 12,700 ft, but as a handful of them, including Carolyn, experienced altitude sickness mid-way, the journey was delayed.

After arriving in Kathmandu, the group spent two nights before moving onto the village of Lukla - the starting point of their trek.

During their journey, they did not stop or take breaks until they arrived at the next village, Namche, where Carolyn fell ill.

She experienced nausea, shortness of breath, lethargy and fatigue. A few others had the same symptoms.

Those experiencing altitude sickness stayed back at the village, whilst the rest carried on.

The 20-year-old told AsiaOne that the nauseating feeling subsided relatively quickly so she resumed after resting.

Not knowing much about altitude sickness, she decided to push herself to complete the trek.

But others were not as lucky as Carolyn. Last month, a 66-year-old man and a 61-year-old woman died of altitude sickness at Mt Kailash while they were there for a religious pilgrimage.

Being able to reach the destination was rewarding for Carolyn. She said: "It was both an immersive as well as very educational experience. Not only was I able to lay eyes upon a awe inspiriting landscape, I was able to learn of the rich and diverse Nepalese culture, language and way of life, while simultaneously challenging myself mentally and physically during the upward climb."

But on hindsight, she wished there was an acclimatisation programme to orientate the climbers to the atmospheric conditions.