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btg


Oct 16, 2008, 1:12 PM
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effects of altitude
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He all,

I am planning a trip to the rockies this spring and was wondering how people have done in the altitude coming from sea level.

I have about nine days to climb and am thinking of climbing the Diamond. towards the end, before that I would do some warm climbs and just get a lot of long climbing days in and hope that I acclimatize well enough.

thoughts and comments are appreciated.

ps I run about 30mi a week, bike to school and work about 50mi/week, climb three days a week inside and lead 5.12 sport and 5.10 trad proficiently


Gmburns2000


Oct 16, 2008, 1:41 PM
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I just did a Colorado trip, and I live in Boston (sea level), so I can say that I didn't really notice that much of a difference.

A couple of things:

- Shortness of breath did occur during steep approaches, but I was generally OK on easy-but-long terrain.

- I found that my shortness of breath only really bothered me while hiking. I was also short of breath while climbing at times, but it didn't affect my performance.

- Shortness of breath went away after a couple of days.

- JMeizis told me that my increased flatulence was a result of the altitude, but I'm skeptical. It could have been his cooking, too.

- I guess the highest I got was about 8000 / 9000 feet in RMNP and at Turkey Rocks in the South Platte area, for reference.

- Drinking a lot of water really helped.

- I struggled more with the dirty, dry air than I did with the altitude. However, I did have a very difficult time on an earlier trip to Lover's Leap outside of Tahoe earlier this year. I'm unsure of the difference of elevation between the Colorado destinations and Tahoe.

Hope this limited info helps.


Frigon


Oct 16, 2008, 4:42 PM
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the climbing season in the canadian rockies doesn't start before mid-may and july is the time for some alpine.As of the altitude ... just don't drink to much alcohol !

(This post was edited by Frigon on Oct 16, 2008, 5:57 PM)


tomtom


Oct 17, 2008, 8:46 AM
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Response to altitude is highly individual, and the only way to find out is to head up and be prepared to descent if you feel like crap.

Fitness (and sport climbing proficiency) has nothing to do with it.


reno


Oct 18, 2008, 12:28 AM
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BTG:

Some good comments above, including the one about altitude response being highly individualized. Start slow, eat well, drink lots of water, pay attention to your body, and don't be afraid to turn and head down if you see signs of altitude sickness.

Oh, and bear in mind: Spring climbing on the Diamond can be sketchy. Lots of snow and ice until well into late April, early May.


btg


Oct 19, 2008, 10:17 AM
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Thanks for the advice. I will likely get out west and hopefully above at least 10,000ft during spring break and then I would ideally like to attempt the diamond more late spring early summer. weather permitting.


kellymoe


Oct 26, 2008, 9:43 AM
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I live in California and have climbed and camped in the Sierra all my life, I'm 42. The last 10 years I started to experience headaches at altitude that really made climbing a drag. This past Summer i did a 6 day backpacking trip from Bishop Pass to Taboose Pass, much of this trip is above 11k feet. I was a bit nervous about the headache issue so i asked my doctor for a Rx for Diamox. I took the lowest dose every morning of the trip starting the day before the trip. I had zero headaches and zero side effects. This was a life saver for me. I will not go to altitude above 10k again without it. I now know that I am just predisposed to altitude sickness no matter what kind of shape I am in. Hope this gives you something to think about.


EvilMonkey


Nov 6, 2008, 5:05 AM
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In reply to:
I struggled more with the dirty, dry air than I did with the altitude
that's the problem with the rockies...all that smog. the filthy air out here must be like breathing a fart in an elevator to a f#@king bostonian.


adamtd


Dec 2, 2008, 8:37 PM
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btg,
Acclimitization is a funny thing... as someone already said, it's highly individualized, but there are something you can do to help yourself out.

(1) As was already said, being well hydrated and staying away form alcohol before your acclimatized will help alot. Once you're acclimatized, drink like a fish.

(2) Work and excercise is actually counterproductive to acclimatization. Spend a day or two resting when you first get to Colorado (Denver 5280'). That will become your sea-level in a sense. Then when you head to the diamond (Long's Peak 14259') you're only going up 9000' (in theory). You'll probably get a splitter headache, and you will probably get winded in the approach, but it'll be a lot safer than just running up there on day 1. I've known plenty of people who went from sea level to the summit of Mt. Shasta (14162') in a day and were just fine short of a little AMS (then again, some people have been overcome by HAPE and HACE there as well). It's worth mentioning that the headache, nausea, and lethargy of AMS usually goes away after a day or two if you stay at that elevation, just watch out for the symptoms of HAPE and HACE and head down if you have to.

Lastly, Altitude doesn't really effect your ability or you strength until you get much higher. On the other hand though, the headache, nagging cough, and lethargy does if you're not focused. Being physically fit does help your body deal with stress such as acclimatization though.


Gaia_Mind


Dec 2, 2008, 9:45 PM
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First thing, be very very aware of the weather during that time of the year. Warm days in spring can cause snow melt to make all the cracks very wet... in addition to avalanche potential. Also, Many rockfalls occur with the Freeze/thaw associated with the temps that time of the year... don't sleep anywhere near the base (rockfall is worse at night), and definetly wear a helmet. If you aren't preparred for these conditions, you might want to reconsider... Alpine is a whole different game.
As for the altitude, I spent the last 3 months hiking and climbing alpine around at 10-13000+ feet in Yosemite with big packs (you'll have one for the diamond for sure). I found a few things to be true... Keep up that cardio, and with the pack size you might want to work in some lifting (squats, lunges and so on). As others have said, it will probably help you cope better with the altitude, and pure strength can help a bunch during hairy weather and necessary bailing situations. Drink a bunch of water, you get dehydrated out here much quicker because of the low humidity and high level of exertion. During that time of year I try to consume about 4 liters per day, this will help with acclimation too. Also, be sure to bring enough food. It will keep you warm at night, and those long climbing days can require 5000 calories or more. Not hungary? Force yourself to eat anyways.
Another tip I learned from big wall climbing, when the stress suppreses appetites, (which will also occur at altitude) bring some Ginger with you. Ginger has been used by asian sailors for a long time to help treat sea sickness. I can testify that it can really help you out. Trader Joes sells chocolate covered ginger things. Mix with some choc. covered espresso beans and you have SENDING food.
As others have said, listen to your body. It is never a bad idea to decide not to do a route if your body says so. It is beautiful enough up in the bolder field, just looking at the diamond. Good luck! I wish I could get up there this season!


majid_sabet


Dec 2, 2008, 9:54 PM
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adamtd wrote:
btg,
Acclimitization is a funny thing... as someone already said, it's highly individualized, but there are something you can do to help yourself out.

(1) As was already said, being well hydrated and staying away form alcohol before your acclimatized will help alot. Once you're acclimatized, drink like a fish.

(2) Work and excercise is actually counterproductive to acclimatization. Spend a day or two resting when you first get to Colorado (Denver 5280'). That will become your sea-level in a sense. Then when you head to the diamond (Long's Peak 14259') you're only going up 9000' (in theory). You'll probably get a splitter headache, and you will probably get winded in the approach, but it'll be a lot safer than just running up there on day 1. I've known plenty of people who went from sea level to the summit of Mt. Shasta (14162') in a day and were just fine short of a little AMS (then again, some people have been overcome by HAPE and HACE there as well). It's worth mentioning that the headache, nausea, and lethargy of AMS usually goes away after a day or two if you stay at that elevation, just watch out for the symptoms of HAPE and HACE and head down if you have to.

Lastly, Altitude doesn't really effect your ability or you strength until you get much higher. On the other hand though, the headache, nagging cough, and lethargy does if you're not focused. Being physically fit does help your body deal with stress such as acclimatization though.

you have inaccurate information about alt sickness.


suilenroc


Dec 3, 2008, 12:19 AM
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I would sleep as much as possible when you arrive. Then get into your routine and add additional sleep! Drink a couple Fat Tire's and go back to sleep... After all of that, you should be ready.Wink


pendereki


Dec 3, 2008, 4:31 AM
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suilenroc wrote:
I would sleep as much as possible when you arrive. Then get into your routine and add additional sleep! Drink a couple Fat Tire's and go back to sleep... After all of that, you should be ready.Wink

This is my favorite advice so far!

CM


apeman_e


Jan 9, 2009, 12:03 PM
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EvilMonkey wrote:
In reply to:
I struggled more with the dirty, dry air than I did with the altitude
that's the problem with the rockies...all that smog. the filthy air out here must be like breathing a fart in an elevator to a f#@king bostonian.[/quote

hahaha i laughed so hard when i read this...

also, i dont think this was mentioned, but be careful of alchohol when you get up to altitude. it could kick your ass. I lived at 6200 for the last three years and when people visit, it always seems to be the whiskey that does em in...


jermanimal


Jan 9, 2009, 12:13 PM
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Nine days is only going to acclimatize you a little bit.

All of the running should help out a ton.

The most important is to drink a ton of water and avoid alcohol. While it is easy on vacation to have a drink or two, it will dehydrate you quick and put you over the edge.

Hangovers suck at 10k+.


jman


Jan 9, 2009, 12:57 PM
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I'm late in posting, but you can also look to get some diamox which is over the counter. Growing up at sea level my body does not acclimate very fast so I've gotten used to taking diamox.


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