The trek leader lets us in on the rules of the mountains over a hot cuppa only its not a cup it’s a steel tumbler but the sickeningly sweet tea and momos never tasted so good. 

1. Keep your mouth shut and your ears open. The most common mistake newbies make is covering the ears when the wind whooshes in them and the cold notches up a gear but the rule is – never cover the ears. Watch – all the mountain people cover their head but leave the ears open. It’s only the people of the plains who say cover the ears or you will catch a cold. 

2. Climb high and sleep low. The campsites are always at a lower altitude in a valley so you climb down before you sleep. 

3. Learn to live with a headache. At 15000 feet, you can make out the throbbing noise your frontal lobes where they clash with your temporal lobes and the occipital lobes arrive late at the party but make the loudest noise. They demand oxygen the way i demand attention. They aren’t going to get it the same way i dont. 

4. Don’t rush, take baby steps but never give up. 

5. Always carry a pair of clean underwear and clean dry socks with you. You never know when you will need them

And the last one: 

5. Drink water as if your life depended on it. Maybe it actually does. 

I wonder – aren’t the rules universal and complete in themselves?