HIGH ALTITUDE NUTRITION
If you’re joining Mountain Madness for a high altitude climb or trek, like the Everest Basecamp Trek, or the Bolivian Andes Climbs , you’ll be asking a lot of your body (and mind) as you experience some level of oxygen deprivation. It’s important to understand some of the physiological shifts that will occur in your body as you ascend. Aside from headaches and general lassitude, your stomach will also function a bit differently given less oxygen at altitude. In part, your body responds to its new high-altitude environment by redirecting oxygen to vital organs like your brain and heart. So, don’t be surprised if you have less of an appetite or have trouble digesting food that you normally eat at sea level.
One of the biggest challenges is when you lose your appetite, but you still have to keep going. How can you consume enough calories for a big day at altitude when your body is asking you to take a break from food? There no one answer to that question, but the one easiest remedy, or partial solution, is to bring your favorites snacks. Plan ahead by bringing your favorite quick-energy, carbohydrate-laden snacks. Make them super-accessible by stocking them in your pockets and have a plan for how often you will eat them when you’re on the mountain. And when it comes to things that may set you back, like a margherita or two the night before you begin your approach to the mountains, make sure you hold off on those favorites — save that for the end of the trip!
Your body will likely crave easy-to-digest foods like carbs. So, supplement your yummy snacks with help from your base camp kitchen. Chapati with nut butter or rice balls are awesome, easy to carry, and easy to digest that will keep you fueled when you’re climbing. And one tip is to have a thermos with hot tea and some sugar. While this may not sustain you through the entire day, it may provide you with enough of a boost to get you up the final steps; and it as importantly makes it easier to get some fluids down during a cold climb.
Fueling plays a big part in performance on the mountain, so investing the time to plan ahead will pay off when it counts. Any person training you for climbing will know the significance role caloric intake on the days leading up tot he summit attempt and summit day itself. Lisa Thompson at Alpine Athletics is able to coach you for not just getting your body fit, but the value of nutrition. Consult with your trainer for the best ideas to get you performing at the top level on the day it matters, when your reaching for the summit.