Being hit by acute mountain sickness made me realise that it can happen to anyone.
I was leading the first team of Rupin Pass trek this summer season. The day before going to the Rupin Pass we were at the Upper Waterfall campsite and it snowed heavily for about 12-14 hrs. At night my SpO2 (Oxygen Saturation) level was 99%. My pulse rate was 67.
Thankfully the weather cleared up quite a bit on the pass crossing day. It was extremely sunny and the entire trail was covered with 2-3 feet of snow.
We started the pass crossing climb at 6:08 am. It took us 6 hours to reach the Rupin Pass.
After staying at the summit for half an hour we started descending.
While descending, I realised that around 3 trekkers were too slow and were lagging behind.
So, in order to check on them I quickly went 1 km up towards the pass. It was a 15 minutes walk up again.
After a while I got a throbbing headache and I started feeling pukish. The headache soon turned severe. It was a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10. I was extremely fatigued, dehydrated and hungry at that time.
I immediately took Paracetamol 650 and Pan-D and ate some food afterwards.
Because of my condition I took the call of reshuffling the team. I went ahead with the lead guide descending down as quickly as possible.
My SpO2 level was around 90% at the altitude of 13500ft.
As I reached Ronti Gad campsite, I ate some snacks, drank a lot of water and rested for one hour. By then the headache had subsided considerably. I was still feeling fatigued.
My SpO2 level came up to 95% at 12,600 ft. By night time my headache and all other symptoms were gone.
An incident like this makes me realise how AMS can hit anyone. I have been in a high altitude region for quite some time. I had even done a recce of the Rupin Pass trail upto 13,000 ft on 18th May.
What went wrong was not eating enough breakfast and lunch on the pass crossing day. I also drank very little water till I reached the pass.