Tragedy struck recently when a 20-year-old college
student died during a mountain expedition. Nazri,
together with a group of students and a trainer, had
camped the night before at the base of the 1463-meter
Gunung Nuang. They made the ascent the next morning and
reached the peak by noon. After a short rest and light
meal, they began their descent. A few of the including
Nazri, slipped and fell but none were injured. Two hours
into the descent, Nazri complained of feeling dizzy. He
collapsed soon after and never regained consciousness.
The post-mortem carried out at the hospital some five
hours later revealed that Nazri had died of an
inflammation of the heart muscle.
"This condition in
young adults is usually caused by a viral or bacterial
infection," explained a doctor. "A person may have
contracted the virus about two weeks earlier. He may
think that he has recovered and embarked on a physical
activity such as mountain climbing. However, he may
experience myocarditis, an inflammation of the lung.
Some symptoms of myocardities are breathlessness,
fatigue and chest pain. With better medical supervision
and awareness, perhaps Nazri's death could have been
Nazri's case should be a lesson to all
mountain-climbing enthusiasts. even though Guning Nuang
has a relatively mild terrain with trails well-marked,
hikers should not take things for granted. They should
have safety precautions and pre-trip planning. It is the
duty and responsibility of the organizers of mountain
hikes to brief the participants well in advance on trip
requirements like physical and mental conditions, gear,
cost and time management. "It is advisable for
participants to inform the organizers about their
medical history like allergies and heart conditions,
dietary constraints and fitness level," explained an
"When climbing a mountain
that is over 1600 meters high, a person who is asthmatic
is likely to have asthma attacks due to lack of oxygen.
That's why the first question that I always ask the
would-be hikers is whether they are asthmatic. Based on
the information given by the participants, the
organizers should be able to determine if they are fit
enough for the hike. A pre-trip safety briefing is a
must. For the expedition proper, the organizers should
ensure that the necessary medical aid for emergency
cases be brought along. If it is a day trek, there must
be at least two people in the group who are experienced
hikers and familiar with the trails."
of a mountain expedition should be aware of their
physical conditions well enough. Those who have a slight
fever, cold, flu or headache are advised to refrain from
indulging in vigorous exercise like mountain climbing.
Those with a history of heart problems should consult a
doctor first before taking part in strenuous activity.
Those who experience dizziness or breathlessness when
they exercise should take precaution. Even those who
think they are healthy enough should ensure that they
are medically fit if they want to take part in mountain
climbing. Very often, people do not realize that they
have heart problems until something happens.
First-timers should go on regular hikes on hills and
gradually progress from there.
Besides the physical
aspect, all mountain climbers must be mentally prepared
too. This calls for an attentive and open mind. They
also need to have the right gear and sufficient food and