Living at sea level - yet doing annual (or more) treks to mountains - I always build in a few days for altitude and climate adjustments. Adjusting to the dry climate is just as important as altitude. And watching for altitude sickness symptoms along with dehydration and heat exhaustioin are on my radar.
We haven't made flight arrangements yet, but my plan is to head out Saturday (or Sunday at the latest) for our trip where the hike itself starts on Tuesday. I want to give ourselves Sunday/Monday to aclimate (as well as acquire any rental gear we need to get, if we end up needing some)
As for the stories - I do appreciate them and you haven't discouraged me at all. Actually - the "Over the Edge" book someone else recommended was one I almost purchased on my two previous trips to GC as reading material for my son. (never did though). We have checked it out from the library and I read the entire section on deaths from heat and environment out loud to both boys. My son has been reading it (and enjoying that morbidity) - but at least he is reading the horrors and will have those stories in mind when we hike. I can only imaging him recounting those stories, facts and figures to our group as we hike.
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