Whether you are planning a trek to K2 base camp or want to put your mountaineering passion to the test by attempting to climb the second highest mountain on earth, you’ll have to prepare yourself to fight against all odds of nature. Climbing the highest mountain in Pakistan or trekking to its base camp is not the novice adventurer’s task.
As you ascend to the base camp of the 8,611m mountain in the Karakorum mountain range of Pakistan, the air becomes thinner, oxygen becomes less available and breathing becomes hard. Also notorious as the savage mountain that tries to kill you, K2 poses serious risks to both the trekker and the veteran mountaineer; however, the risks for the passionate mountain climber augments as he or she ascends the mountain.
Height sickness, acute mountain syndrome and pulmonic edema are the common health risks associated with almost all types of adventure to this mountain, but as common sense would suggest, these risks are higher for climbers who aim to summit K2 than adventure lovers who’d simple want to trek to the savage mountain’s base camp. It is vital to understand that the health complications associated with high altitude, as mentioned above, can be life threatening.
The good news, however, is that you can minimize the high altitude risks by acclimatizing and training your body to cope with the environmental factors and to keep functioning even when there is shortage of oxygen. Below are some tips to prepare for climbing K2 and trekking to the K2 base camp:
• Start preparing and acclimatizing at least two months ahead of your adventure. This is particularly important because your body needs at least 60 days for high altitude acclimatization.
• Visit your doctor and get full body examination as your start your preparations and training. Your doctor may recommend you to undergo certain lab tests. If you are fit for the adventure, your doctor will give you a green signal.
• During your training period, make sure to hike and trek as often as possible, starting with lower altitude and gradually moving to higher altitudes if possible and available. With every session of your training, make sure to increase the distance and height, so your body and lungs get habituated to working at high altitude and under strenuous conditions.
• If possible, initiate interval training because it is one of the most effective methods to train your cardiovascular system for high elevations. It involves increasing the heart rate drastically and then leaving it to recuperate before increasing it again. Running on a steeper hill or faster sprint can help train your cardiovascular system for your K2 adventure.
• Train your breathing pattern for high altitude by working on breathing progression, and on deep inhalation and exhalation. This training will help you cope with low oxygen on K2 by enabling you to regulate and maintain your breathing capacity. Practicing deep breathing can also save your from exceeding yourself at high altitudes.
• Never miss a workout because it is very important to keep you safe and fit during your attempt to climb K2 or trek to K2 base camp.
Remember, climbing K2 or trekking to K2 base camp can be a very exciting, rich, adventurous and mesmerizing experience for you, but only if you are in good health and have trained your body for the adventure. It has also been noted that proper hydration is another important factor when it comes to adventure in the Karakorum mountains.