How safe are the high altitude climbs that are frequently organised by adventure clubs in Hyderabad? Is proper training and planning done before embarking on risky climbs? Are the enthusiasts, who volunteer, know about risk factors in such climbs? Are they properly trained to get acclimatised to high altitudes?

These and many more vital questions are being raised by seasoned climbers in Hyderabad after the death of 28-year-old Rakesh Kothuri due to high altitude sickness. The climber was trying to scale Stok Kangri, the highest peak in Stok Range of the Himalayas in the Ladakh region.

Experienced mountaineers noted that there is a mad rush to organise such climbs in Hyderabad because of the huge demand. Young professionals want a break from their monotonous work. They want to climb and trek to rejuvenate and this is fuelling the demand, many add.

There are, however, a plethora of doubts around such hastily organised climbs and persons who lead such expeditions. “Team leader should be experienced and trained in climbing, aware of high altitude and trekking guidelines. The adventure and the team leader should be aware of the experience level of team members and properly communicate with them about health-related issues at high altitudes,” says noted climber Ali Razvi, who recently scaled Europe’s highest peak Mt. Elbrus.

High altitude sickness manifests in form of headache, exhaustion, build-up of fluid in lungs and even in brain. This is because of low pressure of oxygen. Because of fluid build up in lungs, persons can’t breath leading to respiratory collapse and ultimately death.

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“Climbers should know their strengths and weakness. They should train hard physically and first attempt expeditions till 3,000 metres. Then gradually increase by 1,000 or 500 metres every six months. Climbers should never climb more than 1,000 metres from their previous day’s climb,” Mr. Razvi said.

According to the expedition itinerary, the climbers travelled to Mankorma (4,900 metres) from Leh (3,500 mts) in one-day. “Climbing 1,400 metres in a day is like getting into a death trap. Professional and experienced organisers should never attempt such a feat,” Mr. Razvi added.

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