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#118469 - 07/19/09 02:43 AM Re: Backpacking over 8,000 ft. [Re: ndsol]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
NDSOL, Not camping, but my bedroom used to be at 11.5K or maybe 12K, does that count? Highest I've stayed overnight was maybe 15K.
_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#118476 - 07/19/09 01:04 PM Re: Backpacking over 8,000 ft. [Re: TomD]
bigb Offline
member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 124
Loc: Maryland
All the post and advice I'm reading are great, I'm from MD and was never at altitude before and went to Rainier in 07 to summit. There was no way to train for it on the east coast so I did a program with the guide service that allowed you to stay at Muir camp 10,000ft an extra night for acclimation before the summit attempt.
I will offer this, staying calm is very important especialy if you are solo. Altitude can be a bit scary with nausia, headache and a bit of panic can really make it worse. Decending if possible and gathering yourself with some food, water and rest will clear your head.
_________________________
"In the beginers mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few."
Shunryu Suzuki

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#118478 - 07/19/09 02:48 PM Re: Backpacking over 8,000 ft. [Re: TomD]
ndsol Offline
member

Registered: 04/16/02
Posts: 673
Loc: Houston, Texas
Originally Posted By TomD
NDSOL, Not camping, but my bedroom used to be at 11.5K or maybe 12K, does that count? Highest I've stayed overnight was maybe 15K.
That is high to live at. I would assume that wasn't a city in the US (I believe that is Leadville or Alma at a little over 10,000).

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#118631 - 07/22/09 08:34 PM Re: Backpacking over 8,000 ft. [Re: Pika]
300winmag Offline
member

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1342
Loc: Nevada, USA
Pika,
I totally agree, "altitude sickness aside the fitter one is the better they will perform at altitude."

AND... fitness here means not just aerobic ability but strength and endurance. It's amazing how improving strength, especially in the legs, can help endurance, once one has a decent base of endurance training to backpack an 8 hour day at medium altitudes of 4,000 to 7,000 ft. with no problems.

TRAINING BASE is a term athletes use to describe the years they have trained seriously. This means at least 5 days a week of training, month after month. As I age into my middle sixties I feel maintaining my training base is extremely important. Maintenance is all.

Eric
_________________________
"There are no comfortable backpacks. Some are just less uncomfortable than others."

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#118726 - 07/25/09 02:39 PM Re: Backpacking over 8,000 ft. [Re: 300winmag]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
I do not think it is "training" as much as pacing. There was a study and the most fit did not necessarily do the best at altitude - they pushed it too much at first. The "rule" is never to get out of breath - keep your blood oxyginated. Start really slow and perfect the "rest step". For sure, being in shape helps but I think your high altitude technique is more important. Rythmic breathing is the art of setting pace based on breathing - set a steady breath rate and then surely and steadily keep your walking pace at a level that maintains your proper breathing. Sort of like gearing down in a car when going uphill. I live at sea level and go to 14,000 feet on the weekend, and do not feel the altitude until 12,000 feet. I also really concentrate on my breathing and try to never get out of breath. Also drink a lot. I also take Advil before I get a headache. I may be blessed with good altitude genes, but I have taught a lot of students at NOLS, and with proper technique, most students did fine.

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#118731 - 07/25/09 05:47 PM Re: Backpacking over 8,000 ft. [Re: ndsol]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
You are right. I was in La Paz, Bolivia.
_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#118811 - 07/27/09 10:13 PM Re: Backpacking over 8,000 ft. [Re: 300winmag]
gorge_medic Offline
member

Registered: 08/06/08
Posts: 131
Loc: Kentucky
Altitude sickness (AMS, HAPE, and HACE) all stem from hypoxic injury to cells. If cells don't get enough oxygen they swell and eventually leak fluid, which is the source of the symptoms of AMS (mild cerebral edema from brain matter swelling), HAPE (fluids in the lungs from leaking pulmonary cells) and HACE (severe cerebral edma). Since oxygen molecules stretch farther and farther apart the higher the altitude, you breathe more rapidly and your heart works harder and harder to circulate enough oxygen to your tissues. When your cardiovascular system can no longer keep up, the hypoxic injury starts. Therefore, aerobic fitness is important to minimizing altitude effects; the more efficiently your system can deliver oxygen to your tissues, the more "wiggle room" you have in terms of altitude before your body starts to lag behind. Past that, it becomes a matter of pacing yourself, and as somebody said before, not getting your body in a "catchup" mode for as long as possible.

Somebody mentioned Diamox earlier and thought it was acetamenophen; the generic name is acetazolamide. It's a diuretic that helps the body get rid of bicarbonate via urination to help prevent sleep hypoxia and sleep apnea at altitude.

(Sorry, been studying for my flight paramedic exam and the topic was altitude today!)

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#118817 - 07/28/09 02:49 AM Re: Backpacking over 8,000 ft. [Re: gorge_medic]
300winmag Offline
member

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1342
Loc: Nevada, USA
Gorge,

As a ski patroller at Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort, whose base is at 8,500 ft. we see even non-skiing guests who have to leave and go back to the 'Vegas valley due to hypoxia.

Your explaination is good info for non medical backpackers to absorb. Oxygen uptake is the name of the game at higher altitudes. That's why, besides training 6 to 7 days a week I also take GNC's NO2 tablets (time-release L-Arginine). They create nitric oxide in the blood and this dissolved gas dialates blood vessles including the capillaries of the lung's alveoli (tiny air sacs).

NO2 has the same effect, but milder, as Viagara, which is taken by Everest climbers to increase oxygen uptake and CO2 output.

It may be "cheating" and hey, I may not look it but I'm 66 and no longer young and honest but old and tricky. That's why my ski poles are hydrogen filled.

Eric
_________________________
"There are no comfortable backpacks. Some are just less uncomfortable than others."

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#118818 - 07/28/09 09:40 AM Re: Backpacking over 8,000 ft. [Re: 300winmag]
gorge_medic Offline
member

Registered: 08/06/08
Posts: 131
Loc: Kentucky
Yeah, I had heard that they were looking into the ED drugs as a potential emergency treatment for HAPE as well. Hmmm...26,000 feet, monsoon winds, moon zips in your down suit...not my number one situation for THAT particular side effect!!

The NO2 sounds interesting, must go research!!

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