Contact Dave on m: +44 07483 879558  e:

trekking in nepal

Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)

Most people trekking to the Everest region fly in to Lukla. At 2800m, there is only 70% oxygen available compared to that at sea level. At Everest Base Camp this reduces to 50%.

It is essential to climb slowly and acclimatise to the altitude to avoid Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). At least one night at a lower altitude (usually Phakding) is necessary before trekking up to the Sherpa capitol of Namche Bazaar which is at an altitude of 3450m.

For our "Over 50's" Everest Base Camp trek, we have allowed an extra night at the village of Monjo for added acclimatization which greatly reduces the chances of suffering the symptoms of AMS.

Mild symptoms of AMS are headaches, shortness of breath and nausea and should you have any of these symptoms, they usually disappear after resting and acclimatizing for a couple of days in Namche.

Taking acetazolamide (Diamox) can also help and it can be taken prophylactically before any symptoms are felt. Diamox is a diuretic, which makes you pee more, so it is essential to drink plenty of fluids. You should drink more at altitude anyway as the increase in the breathing rate at altitude accelerates the loss of moisture through the breath.

It should be noted that Diamox is a sulpha derivative and therefore should be avoided by anyone with an allergy to this type of drug.

The normal safe rate of ascent to avoid AMS is judged to be around 300m. per day, though this is greatly dependant on the individual and is considered to be over cautious by many of the Kathmandu based trekking agencies. Better safe than sorry though and all of our Guides and Leaders are familiar with the effects of AMS and will be watching carefully and monitoring your progress throughout your trek to keep you safe.


Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.

holiday Nepal - book now


To receive updates from Design Himalaya about scheduled tours, destination launches and more, please enter your details below.

What people say...