Death by Altitude...

#16 Sep 24th, 2017, 17:05
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#16
I'll go also to Spiti from Shimla.I will stay 2 nights in reckong Peo(2300m).I have to get my innerline permit there.
So it would be better to stay 1 more night at Kalpa before going to Kaza?
Is there a bus from Reckong Peo to Kalpa and from Kalpa to Kaza?

Thank you.
#17 Sep 24th, 2017, 19:25
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#17
Its turning out to be Quite an informative thread. Guess most of the info available is only hearsay and based on experience . I was told by fellow travellers that fitness and gradual ascent are the key. And better to take diamox 125 mg twice a day 48 hours prior to arrival. During my recent trip to leh Locals advocated a clove Or two of raw garlic every day.
So I guess only gradual ascent is the key
#18 Sep 24th, 2017, 22:29
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#18
Yes, gradual ascent is the real key. And I agree, though doctors and medical sites tend to recommend starting diamox 12 to 24 hours before arrival, I think that starting 48 hours before arrival really makes Diamox even more helpful in preventing any basic altitude sickness.
#19 Sep 24th, 2017, 22:35
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#19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart S View Post Is there a bus from Reckong Peo to Kalpa and from Kalpa to Kaza?
See http://vargiskhan.com/log/spiti-vall...requency-fare/
#20 Sep 25th, 2017, 15:13
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#20
I guess for sure the OP will drop the plan of visiting Kaza by the amount of petrifying statistics, guidelines and anecdotes he is being exposed to. Or carry a portable hospital with him during the visit.
#21 Sep 25th, 2017, 16:49
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#21
Just this last summer apparently a Bengali man died of altitude sickness in Kaza, he was staying in one hotel there, felt sick and died on the way to hospital. Possibly he had other health issues to complicate matters. He is the only known case. Strange he died anyway, because Spiti Holiday Adventure has got a "oxygen chamber" now, and that already helped few people to get quickly over altitude related problems. So in case the OP has any problem he can go there and get help immediately.
#22 Sep 25th, 2017, 17:36
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#22
Quote:
Originally Posted by voyager61 View Post Just this last summer apparently a Bengali man died of altitude sickness in Kaza, he was staying in one hotel there, felt sick and died on the way to hospital. Possibly he had other health issues to complicate matters. He is the only known case. Strange he died anyway, because Spiti Holiday Adventure has got a "oxygen chamber" now, and that already helped few people to get quickly over altitude related problems. So in case the OP has any problem he can go there and get help immediately.
That's the final nail in the coffin for OP.
#23 Sep 25th, 2017, 18:38
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#23
People drown at sea fairly regularly. Notwithstanding my answer to my slightly fearful potential crew member that, with the barest modicum of skill and experience, which I believed we possessed, sinking was really, really unlikely, I always tried to maintain just sufficient edge on a boat that people would think about safety. And I tried to make people bloody terrified of falling overboard. Oh, so you're an olympic swimmer? Great, you might survive the hypothermia for 40 minutes instead of thirty. Lesson driven home by recovering bottle overboard. I don't think I ever lost a bottle, though one or two should probably have been airlifted to hospital.

What am I on about? making sensible enquiries into risks and danger and how to mitigate them. I hope the OP will have a great time on his trek.
~
Life gets aadhar every day.
.
#24 Sep 25th, 2017, 21:58
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#24
Nick -

I am afraid the analogy is not a good one... If the OP were talking about risks of fall or something that is an essential part of the activity - hiking and sailing would be quite analogous. The ascent profile is more closely analogous to ascent profile from deep diving. In fact, the body phenomenon involved is similar.

What is reasonable and safe can, of course, have a subjective element to it. But, there are well researched guidelines on it. One is free to interpret and violate them at will. To the extent that the OP is concerned about it, she/he may wish to stay closer to the guidelines.
#25 Sep 27th, 2017, 06:28
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#25
Kaza is on 3600-3650, not on 3800. You can check it in Google Maps, just tick the "terrain" box.
Two nights in Manali will not give you adequate acclimatization but would be nevertheless better than one.
The crucial question is: have you ever travelled to a comparable altitude? How did you react? If you have already some experience of high altitude and you reacted well, you can probably expect some mild AMS during first 1-2 days which will go away by itself.
If it will be your first time above 3000 meters, I would advise strongly against going straight to Kaza. Some people react worse than others to high altitude and you never know how you will react until you actually check it. And yes, even if the risk is very low, people did actually die from altitude sickness at 3600.
Second, Tabo at ca. 3280-3300 meters is considerably lower but it is still a risky altitude if you are not acclimatized. After arriving from Manali to Kaza, 10+ hours on a really extremely rough road, you will be probably not very enthusiastic about taking a taxi for a drive of further 2 hrs or so to Tabo. And should you get serious AMS, there are better health facilities in Kaza (Tabo is just a small village).
Summing it up, if it is your first trip to such altitude, I would definitely go via Kinnaur, which gives you a very good acclimatization profile, especially if you spend 2-3 nights in adorable Kalpa (2700-2800). Then you can either proceed to Tabo (3300) or even stop earlier in Nako (3600) without serious risk.
#26 Sep 27th, 2017, 22:50
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#26
Quote:
Originally Posted by voyager61 View Post Just this last summer apparently a Bengali man died of altitude sickness in Kaza, he was staying in one hotel there, felt sick and died on the way to hospital. Possibly he had other health issues to complicate matters. He is the only known case.
I very much doubt that there has only been one case of death due to altitude in Kaza. There are several dozen each year in Leh. The tourism industry people don't want it to be reported, but whenever I've asked doctors or other hospital personnel in Leh, they say yes, there are probably a few dozen every year. Maybe Leh gets many more tourists than Kaza does, but still it can't the the first known case.
#27 Sep 28th, 2017, 16:59
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#27
Quote:
Originally Posted by NonIndianResident View Post I very much doubt that there has only been one case of death due to altitude in Kaza. There are several dozen each year in Leh. The tourism industry people don't want it to be reported, but whenever I've asked doctors or other hospital personnel in Leh, they say yes, there are probably a few dozen every year. Maybe Leh gets many more tourists than Kaza does, but still it can't the the first known case.
A few dozens seem a bit too much to me but it could be, how can I say? I spent quite sometime in Spiti and never heard of anyone who died in Kaza of AMS. Not even in the villages higher up. And the people I asked confirm this. Some people died near the Parang La, but that is much higher than Kaza of course. Some people do feel sick and some of them just go back to Manali or Kinnaur very quickly, some don't. Could it be that the higher number of AMS related deaths in Ladakh is due to the fact that many people get there by air from the plains?
#28 Sep 28th, 2017, 18:13
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#28
Quote:
Originally Posted by voyager61 View Post A few dozens seem a bit too much to me but it could be, how can I say? ...
It's hard, real hard, I know. It must be even harder to take for the victims.

Quote:
... Could it be that the higher number of AMS related deaths in Ladakh is due to the fact that many people get there by air from the plains?
Either that or it's because they get their air from the plains.
#29 Sep 28th, 2017, 19:13
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#29
An update
A colleague of mine who is 45 years of age and very fit faced AMS while going from Manali to leh. He spent the first night at kothi, second at jispa {11000 ft} and third somewhere between pang and leh. Nothing serious but he didn't wake up on time and was having difficulty getting up and communicating so had to be taken to army hospital and get oxygen
He wasn't taking diamox. So guess acclimatisation is the key
#30 Oct 27th, 2017, 14:23
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#30
'There are several dozen each year in Leh.'

I can confirm this is the case, according to insiders I know. All the popular high altitude destinations have surprising fatality rates. Many more people have probably died at Mt Kailash than Everest, for instance. Pilgrimage sites are especially fraught, and that one at Mt K is a 52km trek from 4700m to 5600m and back to 4700m. A pulse oxymeter is a good monitor, plus the usual guidelines.

'never heard of anyone who died in Kaza of AMS.'

It's not the kind of thing the authorities would want to put up in neon lights. The Brits set up a heart research centre at Everest Base Camp, very astute idea because barometric pressure is so low you have 60% of sea level volumes of oxygen. You can find charts for exact data. People with already compromised health might find it gives them their final nudge.

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