Hi, Thanks for the story, good to get a contrarian monsoon trek perspective. Re altitude, the best thing to do is read the small, take-along 'Altitude illness: Prevention & Treatment' by Steve Bezruchka for $9. Get the 2005 version, or anything newer that comes out, as he adds valuable new info. I've been to high altitudes a number of times and have always come from sea level, so had some personal experience. The best things I'd recomend are drink lots (and lots), rest on rest days (none of the "hike high/sleep low" on rest days when you're already tired from time zone changes, travel, different foods, leftover work stress), and ascend gradually. Taking diamox as a preventative I would recommend against though many try it as a short-cut. Carry it, certainly (and dexamethasone and nifedipine), and learn to use them by reading the guide. Also, having a guide is essential if you're going to altitude and are not very experienced with it. I've seen them get sick people down a number of times wen up high, and that alone is a good reason for having them. Hope this helps.