Why "Altitude Sickness" Is Killing The Spirit Of Exploration

Why "Altitude Sickness" Is Killing The Spirit Of Exploration

Category Thursday Trek Talk On Himalayan Treks Hape And Hace Altitude And Health

By Swathi Chatrapathy


Today, we want to discuss a topic that bothers us  all the time. Tell us, does this bother you too?

There’s this thing called “altitude sickness” that we see in most trekkers.

We’re not talking about anything health-related here.

We’re talking about this tendency amongst trekkers to get hungry for higher and higher altitudes after each trek.

They start with a trek like Kedarkantha at 12,500 ft, jump to Roopkund at 16,000 ft and then it’s suddenly Kanamo Peak at 19,000 ft!

And then what?

Why it bothers us

At Indiahikes we see trekking very differently.

We don’t see trekking as a sport where you progress to more and more difficult treks. In fact, we don’t even look at ‘altitude’ as a criterion while choosing a trek.

We believe every trek is worth exploring — whether in the Himalayas or in the Aravallis, or in the Sahyadris or in the Western Ghats. That’s when you live by the real spirit of exploration.

True, we tag some of our treks as “Best trek for beginners” but that does not mean that it is not meant for experienced trekkers.

In fact, our trek leaders, founders, pro trekkers, they all jump at the idea of a new trek — their ears prick even at the sound of the easiest trek.

So our issue is that of late trekking has become a meaningless chase for higher altitudes, without the true spirit of exploring. You lose out on variety, you lose out on culture and you lose out on nature. All you get is “altitude sickness”! Why all this glory-hunting?

We know we sound a bit disgruntled. Are we wrong in thinking this?

What you do think?

Can you share your thoughts with us in the comments section below?

We really want to see what most trekkers think. Hope to read your comment here.

Cover picture by Satyen Dasgupta

Swathi Chatrapathy

Chief Editor

About the author

Swathi Chatrapathy heads the digital content team at Indiahikes. She is also the face behind India's popular trekking video channel, Trek With Swathi. Unknown to many, Swathi also writes a weekly column at Indiahikes which has more than 100,000 followers.

A TEDx speaker and a frequent guest at other events, Swathi is a much sought after resource for her expertise in digital content.

Before joining Indiahikes, Swathi worked as a reporter and sub-editor at a daily newspaper. She holds a Masters's in Digital Journalism and continues to contribute to publications. Trekking, to her, is a sport that liberates the mind more than anything else. Through trekking, Swathi hopes to bring about a profound impact on a person's mind, body and spirit.