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Why Crew Treks and More

How it works:

  1. On arrival in Kilimanjaro International Airport, Lima, Mendoza, Kathmandu or Mexico City, you'll be picked up by a Crew Treks staff; look for Crew Treks sign!
  2. In addition to mandatory briefing, the day before departure to the mountains, a member of Crew Treks staff will do compulsory gear check.
  3. At the hotel, and the day before departure to the mountains, you'll be given duffel bag for your use; please load it up with your belongings; sleeping bag, extra clothes, down jacket, etc.
    That duffel bag will be carried by porters or by pack animals; you will not have access to it until the end of the daily stage.
  4. Items you do not need during trekking/climbing, you'll be able to leave at the hotel.
  5. Day to day, you'll be carrying small backpack with your jacket, snacks, water, camera, personal items, etc.
  6. Two way radios will be used on most treks; Kilimanjaro on the summit day, Everest and Machu Picchu-every day.
  7. Crew Treks staff has extensive high altitude medical experience and group medical kit will be available for emergencies.
  8. Emergency Oxygen will be carried on Kilimanjaro and Everest Treks.
  9. There will be an emergency horse on stand by on Machu Picchu Trip.

Who Can Participate in Crew Treks Trips?

Anyone! Literary anyone of all ages with moderate to good fitness level. If you plan to participate, train to get yourself in the best shape you can be! Participant's age? I have participated and led trips with trekkers and climbers from their teens to upper seventies; surprisingly, the older folks do better! Since Crew Treks is using porters and mules, backpacks will be much lighter!
Kids—Do not leave them at home! In a lot of instances arrangements can be made and your child can ride on a horse or mule. (Arriero or assistant will pull the horse/mule)

Trip Insurance:

Please, please, please, get the Trip Insurance. You are just about to travel to remote and mountainous areas, anything can happen! Trip Insurance covers your bases in the worst scenario and is inexpensive, and believe me, in my 20+ years of roaming the mountains around the world I have seen it. If you get sick on the trail and are able to walk out, Crew Treks is there for you and will take care of you, but what if there is something more serious and you need to be evacuated by a helicopter?

Medications/Immunizations:

If you have not had your travel immunizations updated, please consult with your physician before you travel.
As on all trips Crew Treks leader will have extensive medical kit, but as a precaution everyone should have his or her own small medical kit. Besides Band-Aids and disinfectants this should include: Aspirin-thins your blood and thus helps you acclimatize at high altitudes. Amoxicillin this antibiotic is mostly used for upper respiratory infections, which happens quite often in dry mountainous environment. Cipro, this antibiotic is commonly used for lower body infections; abdominal issues, urinary track infections, etc. Once you have food poisoning, you need to react fast before you are to week to respond to the problem; Imodium AD is only going to prolong your state. Diamox, commonly used to help you acclimatize better/faster. Usually, you should start taking it 48hrs before you start hiking. Vitamins, salt tablets, mineral replenishments. On a prolong trips in the mountains, you will not be able to eat fresh vegetables, fruits or such. That, combined with drinking glacier water, will flash all the nutrients you need to function in the mountains.

Packing tips:

To organize your items, use stuff sacks, and for bulk items like sleeping bag or down jacket. You can even employ compression stuff sacks; those can reduce your bulk by half! Please have some garbage bags available to protect your gear from rain or occasional snow. Protect your electronics from elements; use Ziplocs or other protectors.When packing snacks, please be conservative. On most trips you'll have access to hot lunch, or lunch box/sack will be provided.

Other Common Questions / FAQ:

Q: What if I get sick on the trek and need to go down?

If you are sick and have difficulty acclimatizing and want to go down, Crew Treks will never leave you on your own; you will get either assistant or porter to go down with you and some local currency to get you by until you get to nearest big town. If your state is not warranting descent, you'll stay at a lodge/tent until we'll pick you up (this is usually in later stages of the trip)

Q: How heavy is my backpack going to be?

On most trips, it should not be more than 10Lbs that's due to relying on porters and mules for extra help.

Q: How safe are the areas Crew Treks operates?

Just as at home, one should always be aware of their surroundings. Otherwise, a rule "when in Rome, do as Romans do" applies. In my years of travels, I have never run into troubles

Q: Are all your treks considered "Group Treks"

Yes. As in all group trips the trip itinerary can be changed to benefit the majority and/or focus on the main objective.

Q: Can I alter the itinerary on my own?

Yes, but if you chose to alter the itinerary on your own, you will do so at your own expense (excluding medical emergency).

Altitude and acclimatization:

What is High Altitude?

Altitude is defined on the following scale High (8,000 - 12,000 feet [2,438 - 3,658 meters]), Very High (12,000 - 18,000 feet [3,658 - 5,487 meters]), and Extremely High (18,000+ feet [5,500+ meters]). There are no specific factors such as age, sex, or physical condition that correlate with susceptibility to altitude sickness. Some people get it and some people don't, and some people are more susceptible than others. Most people can go up to 8,000 feet (2,438 meters) with minimal effect. If you haven't been to high altitude before, it's important to be cautious. If you have been at that altitude before with no problem, you can probably return to that altitude without problems as long as you are properly acclimatized.

What Causes Altitude Illnesses

The concentration of oxygen at sea level is about 21% and the barometric pressure averages 760 mmHg. As altitude increases, the concentration remains the same but the number of oxygen molecules per breath is reduced. At 12,000 feet (3,658 meters) the barometric pressure is only 483 mmHg, so there are roughly 40% fewer oxygen molecules per breath. In order to properly oxygenate the body, your breathing rate (even while at rest) has to increase. This extra ventilation increases the oxygen content in the blood, but not to sea level concentrations. Since the amount of oxygen required for activity is the same, the body must adjust to having less oxygen. In addition, for reasons not entirely understood, high altitude and lower air pressure causes fluid to leak from the capillaries, which can cause fluid build-up in both the lungs and the brain. Continuing to higher altitudes without proper acclimatization can lead to potentially serious, even life-threatening illnesses.

Acclimatization

The major cause of altitude illnesses is going too high too fast. Given time, your body can adapt to the decrease in oxygen molecules at a specific altitude. This process is known as acclimatization and generally takes 1-3 days at that altitude. For example, if you hike to 10,000 feet (3,048 meters), and spend several days at that altitude, your body acclimatizes to 10,000 feet (3,048 meters). If you climb to 12,000 feet (3,658 meters), your body has to acclimatize once again. A number of changes take place in the body to allow it to operate with decreased oxygen.

Prevention of Altitude Illnesses

Prevention of altitude illnesses falls into two categories, proper acclimatization and preventive medications. Below are a few basic guidelines for proper acclimatization.

Preventive Medications

Diamox (Acetazolamide) allows you to breathe faster so that you metabolize more oxygen, thereby minimizing the symptoms caused by poor oxygenation. This is especially helpful at night when respiratory drive is decreased. Since it takes a while for Diamox to have an effect, it is advisable to start taking it 24 hours before you go to altitude and continue for at least five days at higher altitude. The recommendation of the Himalayan Rescue Association Medical Clinic is 125 mg. twice a day (morning and night). (The standard dose was 250 mg., but their research showed no difference for most people with the lower dose, although some individuals may need 250 mg.) Possible side effects include tingling of the lips and fingertips, blurring of vision, and alteration of taste. These side effects may be reduced with the 125 mg. dose. Side effects subside when the drug is stopped. Contact your physician for a prescription. Since Diamox is a sulfonamide drug, people who are allergic to sulfa drugs should not take Diamox. Diamox has also been known to cause severe allergic reactions to people with no previous history of Diamox or sulfa allergies. Frank Hubbell of SOLO recommends a trial course of the drug before going to a remote location where a severe allergic reaction could prove difficult to treat.

Dexamethasone (a steroid) is a prescription drug that decreases brain and other swelling reversing the effects of AMS. Dosage is typically 4 mg twice a day for a few days starting with the ascent. This prevents most symptoms of altitude illness. It should be used with caution and only on the advice of a physician because of possible serious side effects. It may be combined with Diamox.

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More Questions?

marek@crewtreks.com

Call 206-227-3788