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I personally did not have any serious problems above 4600 m. Which amazed me, as I was not fine at all with some leftover Montezuma from Bukhara (UZ). But I had a lot of acclimatization on 2300 and 3900 m. I have heared of people who had very serious problems even at 4200 m.
Well, yes, I am arrogant while writing this. But it is the same as with drying a cat in the microwave….. if there is no label to tell you NOT to do it, the poor manufacturer can be sued.
To avoid that anyone might get the …. idea to sue poor Tajikistan when having big health problems afterwards – I place it here as warning.
And here some more reading about altitude sickness:
Wikipedia on AMS
Traveldoctor on AMS
Int.Soc for Mountain Medicine
Written Dec 3, 2006
The most serious warning and danger about Tajikistan and Pamirs is not coming from the country or the people or even military – it is in the traveller itself:
Well, a lot of people take the altitude not serious enough and end up with loosing their life or with very severe health damages. Travelling or hiking in altitudes above 4000 m is not a piece of cake, it is not like walking on Fifth Avenue or in Paris or London.
Travelling everywhere in high mountain region needs adaption to the altitude. More so, if you are used to live in lower altitudes, or even around sea level. It is ridiculous to believe that one can arrive by plane in Dushanbe and just starts hiking in the Fan Mountains the next day. Or can fly to Khorog and starts hiking or travelling along the roads or paths.
First arrival on 3000 m needs acclimatization of minimum 1-2 days, on 4000 m even more.
If you plan to go to Tajikistan or hike in the Pamirs, talk to your doctor and have him check you before you start your trip. Listen to what he/she says and check the respective websites for more background information.
But still, all depends on the physical condition of your own. Thanks god, we are not yet cloned and react all the same. Once you are there – travel slow ! Listen to your body, and listen seriously ! Don’t even think to “interpret” symptoms as “ahh, not serious”. If you did plan too much, and realize that it will be difficult to continue, stop and go back to a lower altitude. It won’t help you to play the big hero, master of the universe, who can manage all and everything – if you are dead or turning into a vegetable because your brain lacked oxygen in very important situations…. you’d rather be the master of the veggies.
(to be continued in next tip)
Written Dec 3, 2006