Did you know that at altitudes over 3,000 meters above sea level, people are highly at risk of hypoxia due to low levels of oxygen? This generally due to the fact that human beings have mostly adapted ourselves to live and thrive at sea level areas where the air density is just right to keep our lungs filled with needed amount of Oxygen molecules. But this is rarely the case at higher altitudes where the sudden gain in height can do severe damage to one’s vital body organs which if not treated, may even cause death. Also for your information, our blood is 98% saturated with oxygen at sea level and decreases to 89% when we are at high altitudes of 3000m. Hence, acclimatization has grown to become one of the most important part of trekking in the modern day of traveling.
In simplistic term, one may describe “acclimatization” as the biological process of giving your body ample amount of time to adapt themselves with the environment of places at high altitude where there is very thin air compared to lower elevations or sea level. For most of the time, changes occur gradually with the rise in altitude and similarly the human body also needs to be given enough time period to fully adjust itself accordingly to the surroundings of its current location which can be at very high altitudes like the Annapurna Base Camp. Though, trekkers normally start their trek at lower elevations when beginning their trekking journey, at some point of time they will need to follow a path that takes them higher and higher each day until they reach the glorious ABC. However, to successfully execute it, proper acclimatization is very important. One cannot simply rush through the hills, forest, villages, stairs and bridges without keeping acclimatization days on their scheduled trek route.
Without adding extra days for acclimatization purposes, first time trekkers give themselves a very less chance of reaching the base camp as there might come a time when they will eventually succumb to the high altitude. And later on, it might become very dangerous for them to continue on with their trek. Therefore, trekkers must never skip acclimatization days in order to save time or money. Specially people with heart and lung health conditions, old people and children are deemed to be most vulnerable.
Time and again, it’s been proven that no matter how fit you think you are or how hard you’ve trained, everyone is susceptible to high altitude. So, even if you are an experienced solo adventure trekker or going along a group with a professional trekking company, you must always keep in mind to pre-check your itineraries properly in order to be 100% certain that there are acclimatization days enlisted in your itineraries.