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Old 3rd July 2011, 00:02   #1
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Default On roof of the world with < 5 year old daughter

Mission Accomplished

On roof of the world with < 5 year old daughter-img_1156.jpg

Friday - 01 July 2011

Sometime in June when planning the trip to Leh i did read a lot of material on the internet regarding impact of altitude sickness on children but the urge to see the mountains ouvershodowed and we anyway booked the tickets.

As July 02 was nearing (Our planned date of travel) there were other things that kept bothering me. How would my wife and daughter take the higher altitudes, i was more sure about myself. Someone in the family told they had bleeding from nose when they travelled to Leh and this only made me more jittery.

Another case of our neighbour who works for Indian Airlines and she used to travel to Leh few years ago told my wife that it takes 2-3 days to settle. The aircraft gets very bumpy nearing Leh and lot of people throw up. All this cases were not helping me, more worried about wife and kiddo. Will they be able to enjoy the trip enough to take it again sometime in future in a car/suv?

Yesterday (Thursday) we met our daughters regular pediatrician, as soon as we arrived he was happy to see his beloved patient after a long time, both played for few mins. When we popped the question around travel to Leh he was confident that the kid would be more fine then us. Then he decided to consult some online journals and emailed me the content. The summary goes as follows:-

The most common form of high altitude illness is AMS; this disorder usually is mild and can be prevented or mitigated with slow ascent, hydration, rest, and the early recognition of symptoms. Children who become unwell above 8200 feet (2500 m) should begin immediate descent. Children younger than two years should sleep no higher than 6560 feet (2000 m) and children between two and 10 years should sleep no higher than 9840 (3000 m).

Children should ascend to high altitudes very slowly and only if rapid descent is possible in the event of problems. Children have ascended safely as far as 15,000 to 18,000 feet (4570 to 5500 meters), but information regarding higher altitudes is lacking. If the child has had a recent upper respiratory infection, lower respiratory infection, or otitis media, extra caution should be exercised during the ascent, or ascent should be avoided altogether.


Still he was confident and asked us to take "Diamox" starting 2 days before the journey.

It is difficult to determine who may be affected by altitude sickness since there are no specific factors such as age, sex, or physical condition that correlate with susceptibility. Some people get it and some people don't because some people are more susceptible than others.

Worried, Worried, Worried

Apart form the question around health concerns, the flight itinary was such that we were to land at Delhi airport on Saturday night and fly to Leh on Sunday early morning at 5:40am. Checked there are something called sleeping pods in Terminal 3. Decided to give it a try but it turned out that this fecelity can only be used by international travellers. What a joke

Decided to ask Tanveer (@tsk1979) he also suggested to be at the airport as closest hotels would be about 30mins drive away. More than the distance i was worried about coming back to the airport, dont trust these Meru guys these days anymore as in bangalore you book and they wouldnt show up, or would cancel the booking at the last hour leaving you in the lurch. This happend to me twice fortulately i had a plan B hence we never missed the flight or train, but in delhi it was difficult to have plan B.

Had almost decided to sleep off at the airport but one of our cousins living in Faridabad insisted that we come over to their place for the night and not worry about early morning flght as it wouldnt take time to get to the airport, and convinced the plan B would be that he would drop us to the airport in his car if the Meru guys didnt show up.

Now that everything was in place i was waiting for Saturday evening to start out journey.

Last edited by mayankjha1806 : 8th July 2011 at 06:17. Reason: W.I.P
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Old 3rd July 2011, 00:43   #2
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Default Re: On roof of the world with < 5 year old daughter

Saturday - 02 July 2011

Packing done we were ready to go. Following essentials were packed, most were picked up from Anoop Bhat (@noopster)
  • Disprin - For Headaches
  • Diamox
  • Warm Clothes (Was not sure if i would need them at this time of the year but you never know), just carried some sweters and Jackets and hand gloves for Kiddo and wife, Socks and sports shoes.
  • Vaseline and Cold cream - Expecting to need lots of it.
  • Sunscreen: For kids you get good ones at Mothercare in Indiranagar, and normal ones for Adults.
  • Camera - Do carry enough storage and battery. Unfortunately i was not able to buy more storage hence decided to carry my laptop as well. When storage gets full i can move pictures off it to the laptop (Also if i get connectivity i can post on T-BHP which i am doing right now)
  • Padeatric Medecines like Meftal P, Crocin, ORS, Karvol Plus
  • Cash, Cash and Lots of Cash - Expect the Credit/Debit card machines to stop working, the connectivity goes down, Most of the shops don't accept only cash, and on top of that the number of ATM's in a city are very less, they frequently run out of cash and there is a limit (i guess 10k) on other bank ATM card withdraws. I had to run around a lot at the last moment to get cash out using multiple cards, multiple ATM's (J&K Bank and SBI).
  • Some toy for the Kid - This is a mistake we did. When kids are down and tired you need all the tools available to persuade them eat something and then sleep. A toy which the kid loves helps in this regard. My daughter missed her regular teddy while sleeping and wouldn't sleep as it was not around.
  • Easy Schedule - Now this is the thing that is different in every child, all i can say have a open schedule and be willing to change it if situation demands. For this very reason we did not choose Makemytrip or Yatra as we felt the schedule was packed and did not give any elbow room to changes.
  • If you are allergic to dust then don't forget to take something to cover your nose. Leh is full of dry dust like you get in Desert and some folks get more troubled by dust then the altitude.
Today read (@v&v) travellog to Leh and he went there with his Son and 7 year old Daughter (Still 2 years older to mine, gives me some amount of confidence). Keeping fingers crossed. He also did not need Diamox.

Yesterday night i took Diamox as advised by doctor and this morning while playing badminton i was panting, although i was able to manage by deep breathing but it was noticable. Also today i feel my hands have tickling sensation in them. Stopping Diamox for now. Lets see what happens, i am quiet sure apart from mild headaches etc i should be allright.

We start for Bangalore airport at around 1630 for our 1900 hrs flight, strange thing about this city is every time it surprises me with newer traffic jams. Finally with some prodding with the driver we manage to reach the airport at around 1810 (These days the cut-off time to check in is 45mins before the flight departure). Once we land ourselves at the checking counter and the lady says we are fine with time we have a sigh of releif. Finally she lets us know that the flight is delayed by 30 mins. Huh

The journey begins

On roof of the world with < 5 year old daughter-20110702-19.08.40.jpg

We land at Terminal 3 at around 2215 and by the time we get our luggage its already close to 2300 hrs. to get to our relatives place it would have taken us about an hour (for going and about the same for coming back) that left us with about 2 hours to spend at their place. Which i thought would only make things very hectic and we decided to stay put at the airport. At this time i decided to use my Jet Patinum priviladge membership to use their lounge for getting some sleep. The lounge was good and here are some pictures.


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Sleeping, Sitting area
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Drinks etc
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My little one sleeping, not really very comfortable was expecting at least big/large sofas so as if someone can sleep if needed but better than being outside
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The entrance did raise my expectations, but inside wasn't too bad, but not perfect either
On roof of the world with < 5 year old daughter-20110703-00.45.37.jpg

Last edited by mayankjha1806 : 8th July 2011 at 07:40. Reason: W.I.P
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Old 8th July 2011, 06:03   #3
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Default Re: On roof of the world with < 5 year old daughter

Sunday - 03 July 2011


Finally we board the flight at 0540 Sunday morning, ETA at Leh is 0700 hrs. Leh here we come.

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Reached hotel at around 08:00 hrs and freshend up, had breakfast and hit the bed. Woke up around 13:00 hrs i was watchful of any simptoms of Altitude Sickness on my daughter and Wife. Kiddo after waking up was fully charged (As she had satisfactory sleep). Decided to finish Lunch and then call the tour guy to see if some local siteseeing can be done today. He arranged for the Leh Palace, Shanti Stoopa and then the market by evening.

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One thing i noticed with this altitude change is the appetite changes a lot for everyone and it especially impacts kids. At Lunch time Kiddo did not eat much but by evening she was hungry, and when that happens they get cranky. She beacome a little jittery when we were at Shanti Stoopa and i thought these are starting symptoms. Had to carry on her on arms which made me also very tired. Finally when we reached the market We were slightly hungry and gussed that she might be jittery because of hunger as well. We hit this awesome restaurent "LA-TERRASSE" and had some tasty Momos, Noodles and nice Masala Tea. Once done with food did some roaming around the shopping area and then came back to hotel to hit the bed.

So one day over (12 hours) and still no signs on anyone about the altitude thingy. My confidence level is now much higher. Hopefully we will be able to make it to higher passes on Tuesday or Wednesday as Monday we would need to get the Permit. Tomorrow is another day although still keeping my fingers crossed but now reasonably confident that we should be able to make it.

In the evening as things seemed fine we decided on following schedule.
  • Monday - Zanskar Indus river Sangam, Hall Of Fame, Alchi
  • Tuesday - Pangong Lake
  • Wednesday - Khardung La. The ultimate thing that we came here all the way for

Last edited by mayankjha1806 : 8th July 2011 at 06:47.
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Old 8th July 2011, 07:07   #4
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Default Re: On roof of the world with < 5 year old daughter

Monday - 04 July 2011


Our visit to Alachi
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We taking temple round for blessings.

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This was one of the most surprising things of nature we saw. On the uphill road our stopped car engine switched off, in neutral kept moving up because of the pull from the mountain.

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Our trip to Sangam, notice difference in colour of water of river Indus and Zanskar.

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Last edited by mayankjha1806 : 8th July 2011 at 07:37. Reason: W.I.P
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Old 8th July 2011, 07:43   #5
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Default Re: On roof of the world with < 5 year old daughter

Monday - Hall Of Fame

This one deserves a post for itself. We were amazed by what our solders face in terms of harshness of the nature in Siachin and elsewhere. Our respect for them went several notches above post this visit and the trip.
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Last edited by mayankjha1806 : 8th July 2011 at 08:05.
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Old 8th July 2011, 14:13   #6
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Default Re: On roof of the world with < 5 year old daughter

Tyesday - 05 July 2011

Tuesday was the day we had earlier decided for Pangong Tso. Its about 5 hours drive from Leh and hence we had decided to start early (Sometime around 6am) to be able to come back to Leh by evening (or late evening).

As usual we got up early and were getting ready. Tried waking up my daughter and it was getting difficult as she was probably very tired because of walking uphill or maybe the Altitude thingy. It was important to get her up and finish the morning chores as its a full day outing and we might not get decent places on the way to finish nature calls (especially for the Kid).

At this point we decided to move the Pangong Tso trip to Wednesday and finish the Khardung La as it would need only 2 hours drive. Little did we know what was in store for us.

Called up the driver to swap the trip and rather than starting at 6am we now would start around 9am for Khardung La.

Started at 9am and everything was fine. I will let the pictures do the talking.
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Last edited by mayankjha1806 : 8th July 2011 at 17:20. Reason: W.I.P
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Old 9th July 2011, 07:15   #7
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Default Re: On roof of the world with < 5 year old daughter

We stayed at Khardung La for about 30 mins and had some Noodles at the cafe there after having fun in snow. By the time we were finishing noodles i noticed my daughter was feeling down and sleepy. Now my earlier research i already knew that this is because of low level of oxygen and this means we need to start our drive down immediately.

On our way back she slept but was responding, which is OK (Shouldn't go unconscious). By the time we reached the hotel she was back with full energy jumping and running around. So we were relieved.

While coming back i asked the driver, and what he said was surprising. He is a born-and-brought-up Ladkhi and he had also fainted at the top in one of the trips.

Once we were back in the afternoon we decided to sleep the afternoon as everyone was feeling tired.

By the time we got up in the evening both of us (Wifey and me) had headaches, it didnt seem like my daughter had any problems she was all playing and having fun so we assumed its just us who have been impacted. After about 30mins to and hour we both threw-up, and felt instant relief. Headaches continued, hence decided to consult the local resident doctor who was available on call at the hotel. He looked at both of us and said we are fine, just need rest and asked us to avoid any more high passes travelling for at least a day. That made the next day Pangong Tso look like not possible.

Called up the driver and cancelled the Pangong Tso plan and instead decided to finish shopping at the Leh market. Leh has good collection of Pashmina shawls, and looking at them Wifey decided to splurge some money and spend the day roaming around in the town. Next day morning we were ready to leave for Bangalore which was eventful as well as we missed the Delhi->BLR connection as our Leh-Delhi flight landed late.

So at the end of the trip, we could not cover some of the places we would have liked to but we did cover the most important one which also had snow (Which was the kiddos demand). The next demand is to see snow falling (Time to plan a Jan/Feb trip to Manali) or maybe Leh again.

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Old 9th July 2011, 12:12   #8
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Default Re: On roof of the world with < 5 year old daughter

Hi Mayank!!

1. Its sad about you not being able to finish your trip due to altitude related problems. But guess you did the right thing by cancelling Pangong and subjecting your family to more torture

2. I am sorry I might be harsh in saying but I feel that you are responsible yourself for getting into this problem. This might help future travelers so am telling you the facts, and the fact is that when you are flying into Leh the ideal acclimatisation time is 3 days. But since we do not have so much time in hand, atleast one full day (24hrs) needs to be spent acclimatising. And you guys got on to doing site seeing just after a few hours of landing

That has to be tough on your body.

3. I did Leh last year with my 2.5 year old daughter, my wife and other elderly people. We also flew into Leh but we religiously followed the thunb rule for acclimatising and touch wood we were all fine for the rest of the 7 days without needing any Diamox or stuff like that.

4. Your chapter about HOF was indeed very soul touching. The poem " Chah Nahin surbala ke..." always gets a tear in my mind.

5. good luck and thanks for sharing

Last edited by deky : 9th July 2011 at 12:14.
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Old 9th July 2011, 12:19   #9
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Default Re: On roof of the world with < 5 year old daughter

Very nice thread and I have also been planning for a very long time to go to Ladakh. Even I have a under 5 year old daughter. We had been to a hill station with her last time, when she was around 2 years old. We had gone to Shimla, Manali and Rohtang. She took it fairly well there, though food for her was a problem. But she did fall terribly sick when we came back

As for the flight, it is a very common symptom a lot of people experience, even me, during descent of the flight, you get a very painful sensation in your head, if by chance you happen to have a cold and nasal congestion. You dont feel it during take off, but when the plane is lowering its altitude for touch down. A link below discusses this in good detail. Basic thing is, in adults we realize it and can somehow manage it, though is some cases it has caused blackout or even heart attacks. In kids it can be very dangerous, as they may not be able to explain and more so if parents are not aware about this

Source: Forums.Overclockers.co.uk

Really intense eye pain / head ache on plane landing.. (was almost crying) - Overclockers UK Forums


But thanks for the very useful input you gave above. This is definitely helpful for a lot of people planning to go there, and dont worry about having to cut short. There is always next time, and next time, you will be more prepared

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Old 18th July 2011, 14:53   #10
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Default Re: On roof of the world with < 5 year old daughter

Quote:
Originally Posted by deky View Post
1. Its sad about you not being able to finish your trip due to altitude related problems. But guess you did the right thing by cancelling Pangong and subjecting your family to more torture
Actually the altitude sickness impacted me the most and next was my wife. My daughter was mostly fine though she was eating less than normal but she was fine post coming down from the Khardung La. This is exactly what her doctor told us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thedreamcatcher View Post
and dont worry about having to cut short. There is always next time, and next time, you will be more prepared
Thanks, i am not worried about cutting short the trip, we plan to go there again sometime in future maybe a few years later when my Daughter is probably seven.
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Old 19th July 2011, 08:43   #11
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Default Re: On roof of the world with < 5 year old daughter

mayankjha1806 - you have given a lot confidence to me. I have 10 years and 6 years old sons and I was planning this trip for a long time. Now that your venture is successful, I am thinking to do a trip on it. Once again thanks for sharing the info.
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Old 22nd August 2011, 18:24   #12
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Default Re: On roof of the world with < 5 year old daughter

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post
i am not worried about cutting short the trip, we plan to go there again sometime in future maybe a few years later when my Daughter is probably seven.
+1 for that.
Very informative TL. This could work as a very good reference for me to plan my trip as we too intend to take our kid with us.
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