Why consumption of Alcohol and Smoking is a risk at high altitude Trek

Why consumption of Alcohol and Smoking is a risk at high altitude Trek

Written by Shreya on 13-Mar-2020

Let mountains and snowfalls be your charm on the higher altitudes rather than alcohol and smoking on the whole trip. Also, why to invite problems and illness when you can stay far away from them on your adventure trips. Therefore the first and the foremost precaution while going on any trek or adventure especially on a high altitude demands a strict NO to alcohol and smoking.

alcohol at high altitude


Myths regarding drinking and smoking on high altitudes

The terms and conditions of trek and travel are changing. People remember putting packets of cigarettes and bottles of alcohol more than clothes or other necessities. Although the temperature on the high altitudes demands something to keep us warm, it doesn't mean to consume alcohol and definitely not cigarettes!!

Also, the rails and the roads are expanded and increased so to ease the trekking route of the people of diverse levels of health and fitness and doesn’t mean to consume alcohol to reach their high altitude destinations.

Some wise men think that consuming a certain amount of alcohol and cigar makes a person bold and ready for traveling higher ranges which is the most illogical reason. A person enjoys many activities like skiing, bungee jumping, para shoot gliding, hot air ballooning, caving, abseiling, climbing, etc which cannot be done when a person is wasted in terms of drinking or smoking. It can be very dangerous regarding the life of an individual.

Another myth which people believe a lot is that alcohol keeps the body temperature warm which is not true. Even rum or brandy doesn’t keep the body cozy and the reason is that alcohol dilates blood vessels giving a sense of warmth in the body which is just a false sense.

Altitude sickness and Alcohol

Every year, billions of travelers start their journeys easily ending up on altitudes higher than 2800 meters above sea level. A person who is already having problems adjusting to the environment should strictly avoid drinking or smoking because it will make the conditions worse notably if you don't give yourself ample time to adapt to the altitude. If you are doing it for fun, still it is useless because on a higher altitude you already inhale less oxygen therefore cigarettes taste nothing!

A person can end up having altitude sickness by overconsumption of alcohol and smoking. Acclimatization on higher altitudes requires 2-3 nights of body rest. Smoking and crucial acclimatization give inadequate circulation in hands and feet so you get more sensitive to cold and frostiness. Otherwise also, smoking on ANY altitude is dangerous to health and should be avoided to the maximum level. But if you are a regular drinker or smoker and cannot live without it, give some time to your red blood cells and the vascular system to adapt.

Effects of alcohol and drinking on higher altitudes

Firstly you are high already, and by drinking, you want to get more high, then this is a terrible idea for trekking. Once you get high you get stoned, but if you slip then you will end up Gravestoned!!

  1. Acute Mountain Sickness
  2. The problem is caused by anguished fatality seen in unacclimatized persons shortly after mounting to high altitudes. If you are drinking or smoking on higher altitudes you can easily be prone to the medical condition.

  3. Hypothermia
  4. Alcohol on a higher altitude can dilate the blood vessels of the body. It can happen even if there is a meager amount of alcohol in your body. Then the blood can travel to the skin or other cosmetic parts and can turn pink or red. It will ultimately lead to loss of heat in the body ultimately making you feel colder.

  5. Dehydration
  6. Alcohol and smoking can lead you to a dry place on a higher altitude. Water in the form of vapor is lost in a sufficient amount. Therefore it is recommended to drink more water than drinking alcohol.

  7. Migraine
  8. Alcohol has a fleet effect on the body which also controls the brain to the most. A person can feel dizziness to a greater extend after drinking which can ultimately lead to brain problems like a migraine.

  9. Metabolism
  10. A human body can metabolize only minute amounts of alcohol. The leftover alcohol is left coursing through the body. By extreme alcohol consumption, the alcohol that lingers in the bloodstream can lead to organ impairment and other damaging medical conditions.


You will appreciate the beauty of nature more when you are sober enough. People say smoking and drinking are a solution to mental stress which is again a myth rather it should be strictly prohibited when you are going on above the hilltops if you want to enjoy the whole trekking and reach your home safe and sound!

Written by Shreya on 13-Mar-2020