View Full Version : Do you think I had Altitude sinkness??

02-02-2008, 02:13 PM
I spent 9 days in Aspen. I flew into Aspen which is 8,000ft. The highest I have been for any length of time before that was Jackson Hole last year 6,500ft. I had no problem in Jackson. By day 4 and 5 I was not a happy camper.

Shortnees of breath.
Loss of appetite.
Sleep. I woke up almost every hour.
Nausea was only when I was about to eat. I didn't even have a drink (other than water) for the last 5 days. boo hoo no apres

Is this high enough to call it altitude sickness or not???? or was it something else?????

It was a great trip. We hiked to the top of Highlands Bowl 13,000ft. Steep Skiing down. So Cool. Let me know what you think... Thanks:confused:

Bill O
02-02-2008, 04:15 PM
After your first sentence my answer would have been yes. But then you said it took 4-5 days to set in. Which seems strange.

8,000 feet is high enough for altitude sickness. Much more than 6,500 in Jackson.

02-02-2008, 04:26 PM
Those are textbook symptoms - I'll bet you had a headache as well. Although the symptoms usually occur much sooner than the 4th day. Symptoms usually occur within hours. I've been above 14k on several occasions and you need to ascend much more slowly. Plenty of fluids(non alcoholic and non carbonated) and gradual ascension , say 1000 ft per day average above 8000 ft usually minimizes it's onset.

02-02-2008, 05:01 PM
Has anyone never experienced altitude sickness though? We were at Breck last year and there were some who talked about not skiing the first day so they could acclimate. We had been there two years before and never suffered anything at all.So this time too, I thought, forget it, I only have 5 days to ski before heading home and I'll be darned if I'll lose it sitting in our room, so off we go,and again, no problem. Even got off the Imperial chair (highest in NA)and you can hike up to 12,900+ and come down the Imperial Bowl. We skiied all 5 days, 830am-closing and full bore.I wonder if there is anything in the physical make-up of humans that allows them to ward off the effects?

02-02-2008, 06:57 PM
The probability of a person getting altitude sickness is impossible to predict.

The same person can feel fine at a given altitude on one trip and suffer on a subsequent trip at the same altitude. I have seen extremely fit ironman athletes suffer severe effects at 11000 feet and people of moderate fitness feel no ill effects. Many experts contend that fitness has little to do with whether one suffers or not. Although I believe a higher level of fitness will cause your body to work less hard at altitude and thus be better able to combat the effects of reduced oxygen.

Also the effects will probably be less pronounced during a ski trip - It's not so critical how high you go on the ski trails, but more important is the altitude at which you sleep. The classic acclimatization routine is to climb high and sleep low during a long expedition. Your initial trip to each subsequently higher altitude is usually to cache gear and then retreat to sleep at a lower altitude before permanently moving camp higher. Personal physiology plays a role in your ability to acclimatize, but so do many other factors that I'm not sure the medical community has yet been able to predict.

As far as being able to ward off the effects - conventional guides teach ascending slowly, drink plenty of fluids, eat even though you have no appetite and proper breathing technique. Some recommend the use of diamox as a prophylactic prior to going high. Personally, I like to know how my body is feeling before taking drugs.

This is my understanding from personal experience as well as the teachings of the guiding community that I have climbed with.

Bill O
02-02-2008, 09:00 PM
I've used Diamox prophylacticly. I'd prefer not to but I'd rather not ruin a trip due to altitude sickness if it could be prevented.

Taking rest days in CO before you go skiing is probably too much. I've always thought that activity also helped you acclimate.

When I was in Nepal I made it to 14k just fine then I started to get a slight headache so I took Diamox. There was no reason to blow a trip halfway around the world if I could prevent getting sick. I went on to spend 2 nights at 16k and one at 17k and I felt great. Well, a little hypoxic and short of breath but no headaches. As soon as we started coming down I stopped taking it.

If you're going to take Diamox get the time release tablets and don't get the generic.

02-04-2008, 08:38 AM

02-04-2008, 12:46 PM
Diamox is, a prescription drug - at least I've never seen it over the counter. It's generic drug name is Acetazolamide. It's reduces fluid secretion in the body and is commonly used to treat glaucoma, epilepsy and acute mountain sickness.

02-08-2008, 10:49 AM
I came across this site pertaining to altitude sickness, nutrition and training for high altitudes. Thought some of this might be of interest to the group.

here's the first titled "10 non-medicated ways to cope with altitude"

this one is called "high altitude nutrition"

lastly "interval training for altitude climbing"

I'm currently planning to return to Mount Rainier for a fundraising climb and have used these principles before with success.