How to Train for High Altitude Hiking | A First Timer Beginner Guide for All


Many of us still live in coastal areas despite our love for the mountains. Living in major cities can make it difficult for you to explore the wild, regardless of your job, family, or lifestyle. While many city dwellers love to get out to the mountains on weekends, it can be challenging to train for long trips at high altitudes if you live in a coastal area. If you are a resident of a city and want to explore the highest mountain ranges in the world, it might be a challenge to find a way to train in concrete jungles. So now? How to train for high altitude hiking? It is ideal for spending a lot of time exercising and train for high altitude hiking at high elevations.

Training for peak physical fitness is essential if this is not possible. If you have the resources and time, you can prepare for your trip by renting an altitude-adjusted room for training or a tent for sleeping.

What is high altitude hiking? 

High altitude hikes are those that reach 8,000 feet (2400m). Why is it 8,000 feet? Simply because your body can be affected at this height by altitude. This is why it happens. This is because length affects how the air pressure changes. It increases at sea level and decreases as you climb higher. A lower air pressure means that there is less oxygen in the air. Your body will work less efficiently if there is less oxygen. The body can adapt slowly to altitude changes, but too quickly can cause serious problems.

What to consider high altitude hiking

First, let’s clarify: what is considered high altitude hiking? It’s tough to answer this question with just one answer, as “high” is a relative term. Altitude sickness can be a problem for those who live above or below sea level. Others who live in the mountains might find themselves as vital and confident up to 10,000 feet (3.048 meters). High altitude mountaineers and top climbers may not feel the full effects of elevation until higher elevations, possibly at around 14,000 feet (4 267 meters). It really is up to each individual.

We can all agree Mount Everest is tall at 29,029 feet (8,848 meters). However, everyone will have their own opinion about what “high elevation” means. Climbers starting from sea level will have difficulty climbing above 6,000ft (1,828m), while climbers who have been there before will feel the effects at 10,000ft (3,048m). The results of altitude on the body will affect almost everyone. Above 26,000 feet (7.9240 meters), the death zone has insufficient atmospheric pressure to sustain life for prolonged periods.

How to train for high altitude hiking

Hiking at a high altitude is a great outdoor activity that can be both challenging and rewarding. Hiking at a high altitude offers a unique, unforgettable view of some of the most remote places in the world, including the Sierras and the Rocky Mountains. There is no other way to train for high altitude hiking than by being there. Above all, ensure you can acclimate, hydrate, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime.

Read more: How to get shape for hiking

Concentrate on the cardio

Your cardiovascular system will be at its best when you hike at higher elevations. The atmospheric pressure around us drops as we climb higher. It means that there is less oxygen available in the air than in the air at sea level. Your body will have difficulty getting enough oxygen to your bloodstream in high-altitude hikes. A stronger cardiovascular foundation can help you succeed at higher elevations. You should aim to improve your cardio fitness so that you can hike at a steady pace up lower elevation mountains (up to 6,000m). Things don’t improve if you struggle too low.

You should be able to hike longer distances (4-6 hours) if you live close to hills or smaller mountains. Even if you can’t get out of town, cardiovascular exercise is beneficial. It may be worth trying other activities such as running, especially uphill. To avoid injuries from overuse, you can also swim, bike, or ride.

Take a large pack with you when you hike

Even a lightweight pack can feel heavy when you hike at higher elevations. When you train for high altitude hiking, you will want to be comfortable with a heavier load than you plan to use during your trip. However, carrying heavy loads can cause severe damage to your body. So what’s the solution? You can bring water jugs or MSR Dromedary bags and then dump them out at the top on the uphill hike sections. While you can still get the training benefits from hiking with a pack, it will reduce the impact on your hips and knees when you reach the top.

Stair training

You can also do stair training if you are unable to get out of your city. Although it’s not as much fun as a hike up and downstairs, it’s some of the most effective training you can do in a flat environment. Staircases can be found in high-rise apartment buildings, football stadiums, and ice rinks (great for the middle of summer). You can also look for hills to make hill sprints on if you have trouble finding a staircase.

Weight training is essential

Many hikers and outdoor enthusiasts are so focused on their cardio endurance that they forget to exercise. While lifting weights at the gym may not be everyone’s idea, it can strengthen your muscles and provide support and stability for your body under challenging environments. Weight training is a great way to prevent injuries and increase anaerobic capability, which can be helpful at higher altitudes. You don’t want to be a bodybuilder as a trekker. However, a comprehensive training program that includes weight lifting can make all the difference when you climb mountains. You can have a personal trainer or fitness specialist at your gym help you to create the best weight lifting program for your needs.

High-end training tools for altitude

To train for high altitude hiking you must need training tools. You may want to use several other training tools if you’re interested in high altitude hiking.

Find out the connection between hiking and your health.

Altitude adjusted training rooms

Some top-of-the-line fitness centres offer oxygen-controlled rooms in their gyms to replicate conditions at specific elevations. These rooms can be used to lift weights, ride a treadmill, cycle, or even climb an indoor climbing wall at a particular altitude. Many gyms like Fusion Physical Therapy and Sports Performance, Evolution Health Care and Fitness Center, and True North Cryo Los Angeles have altitude-adjusted training rooms. These facilities are more expensive, but they may be worth it depending on your goals.

Altitude tents

Now you can get your own high altitude chamber for climbing and training at high altitudes. These products are expensive and target people who regularly venture to high altitude environments or train for challenging goals.

Tips on train for high altitude hiking

Know your limits

Before you go on a hike in the mountains, make sure to consult your doctor. You should ensure no lingering conditions or undiscovered illnesses that could hinder your climb up the hills. Be ready to get up if you feel unwell. A headache or a minor chest pain could indicate something more serious. You don’t want your body to be unable to protect itself when it’s miles away.

Always have first aid supplies on hand

High altitude can have a dramatic effect on your body. You should always take an altitude aid if you are climbing thousands of feet for the first time. Diamox is a popular altitude medication that’s prescribed for treks over 8,000 feet. In the event of an emergency, be sure to bring ibuprofen, cough drops, and other over-the-counter medications to help you get through.

Be ready to face the elements

Are you naturally prone to sunburns? When you are at a high altitude, don’t forget to apply sunscreen. High altitudes are where the sun, wind, and temperatures can reach their highest. Make sure you have the right gear. You will need to bring complete protection against the sun, wind, and temperature. Also, extra hand warmers and thermal gloves protect your skin from the harsh mountain environment.

Get fuel

Although it may seem difficult to remember, you should be ready to eat and drink more at a high altitude. Your body will require more calories and water to function correctly because your muscles are working harder. This environment is not conducive to a diet. You can load your bag with high-calorie snacks such as jerky, chocolate, hard candy, and other carbohydrate-rich foods.

Learn more: How to avoid ticks while hiking


It seems that trekkers undertaking challenging treks such as Kedartal, Rupin Pass, or Everest Base Camp do their best to achieve Level 3. Most others who do moderate-to-easy outings only reach Level 1. They believe that bad weather and emergencies are not possible on easy treks. However, even the most challenging treks can have emergencies. We are dealing with the Himalayas at very high altitudes. It is impossible to predict the weather, so it can rain or snow at any moment. You can leave your comments below if you find how to train for high altitude hiking guide helpful guide or if you have any other exercises that might help you build the strength and endurance required for Himalayan treks.

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