Recommendations/ questions from a beginner in no elevation

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mtnkub
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Re: Recommendations/ questions from a beginner in no elevation

Post by mtnkub »

babystepper wrote: Sun Aug 27, 2023 8:29 pm 4. I really am new and don’t know much about mountaineering, so you have any recommendations on how I can learn more information for a beginner? I want to be smart and safe. I don’t want to do anything dangerous or die so advice would be appreciated.
If you want to get book smart on this: "Mountaineering - The Freedom of the Hills" is the classic.
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jrbren_vt
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Re: Recommendations/ questions from a beginner in no elevation

Post by jrbren_vt »

This is an interesting conversation to me since there are several really experienced Colorado mountain travelers saying what appears contradictory to my own experience and past readings. If I do a quick google and look at what the CDC and Princeton U recommends (and others, I just grabbed those 2), they say acclimatize for a few days at least. I have also done several guided trips to well above 14K and acclimatization becomes even more important there. My understanding is that it a logarithmic growth curve. You get the biggest bang for your buck early on. I don't discard what is being said here, but I wonder if some here are just gifted athletes, where I am anything but. I am not looking to set PRs, but my goal is to have no suck to embrace. I have been somewhat successful through the years. I remember doing the John Muir trail from Onion Valley to Mt Whitney in about a week long hike about 15 years ago. The hardest day by far was climbing over 13K'+ foot Forester Pass on the second or third day. By the end of the week, Whitney was relatively easy. I attribute that to having a couple more days of acclimatization. I also find "acclimatization hikes" to be nice in the their right, places I may not have not otherwise visited. Hallett and Flat top come to mind on a Colorado trip I did many years ago when I lived in Vermont at the time.

+1 on "Mountaineering - The Freedom of the Hills" .

Anyway, my apologies to the OP, I started this tangent.
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Re: Recommendations/ questions from a beginner in no elevation

Post by CheapCigarMan »

This thread might help.

Though some of the links seem no longer available.

https://www.14ers.com/forum/viewtopic.p ... t=anschutz
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Re: Recommendations/ questions from a beginner in no elevation

Post by babystepper »

Thank you to all who replied! All my need-to-know questions were answered and there is a lot of really great information on here! I greatly appreciate it, and the personal experience and opinions on acclimation. I have decided to do Mt. Harvard and bought the recommended book. Thanks!
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Re: Recommendations/ questions from a beginner in no elevation

Post by Trotter »

jrbren_vt wrote: Mon Aug 28, 2023 4:40 pm
mtree wrote: Mon Aug 28, 2023 10:44 am
2 - Acclimation not happening. Even coming out a couple days early doesn't do it. Live with it. Just be in good shape and stay hydrated once out here.
You post a lot of good info on this site that I enjoy reading. But can you elaborate on this ?
This is contrary to my own experience and everything I have read. Acclimatization starts the second you get off the plane.
A couple of days acclimatizing at moderate altitudes is an immense help. Sorry if I misunderstand. Thx.
Its because hes wrong. Every mountaineering school, course, guide, disagrees with him. Even the US army.

Hes talking about 100% acclimitization, that does take weeks.
After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. -Nelson Mandela
Whenever I climb I am followed by a dog called Ego. -Nietzsche
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Re: Recommendations/ questions from a beginner in no elevation

Post by Trotter »

jrbren_vt wrote: Tue Aug 29, 2023 9:54 am This is an interesting conversation to me since there are several really experienced Colorado mountain travelers saying what appears contradictory to my own experience and past readings. If I do a quick google and look at what the CDC and Princeton U recommends (and others, I just grabbed those 2), they say acclimatize for a few days at least. I have also done several guided trips to well above 14K and acclimatization becomes even more important there. My understanding is that it a logarithmic growth curve. You get the biggest bang for your buck early on. I don't discard what is being said here, but I wonder if some here are just gifted athletes, where I am anything but. I am not looking to set PRs, but my goal is to have no suck to embrace. I have been somewhat successful through the years. I remember doing the John Muir trail from Onion Valley to Mt Whitney in about a week long hike about 15 years ago. The hardest day by far was climbing over 13K'+ foot Forester Pass on the second or third day. By the end of the week, Whitney was relatively easy. I attribute that to having a couple more days of acclimatization. I also find "acclimatization hikes" to be nice in the their right, places I may not have not otherwise visited. Hallett and Flat top come to mind on a Colorado trip I did many years ago when I lived in Vermont at the time.

+1 on "Mountaineering - The Freedom of the Hills" .

Anyway, my apologies to the OP, I started this tangent.
Correct, go off the research, and not just what someone on an internet forum says.
After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. -Nelson Mandela
Whenever I climb I am followed by a dog called Ego. -Nietzsche
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12ersRule
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Re: Recommendations/ questions from a beginner in no elevation

Post by 12ersRule »

Going off what some rando on the Internet says IS research!
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Re: Recommendations/ questions from a beginner in no elevation

Post by PrivateValance »

mtnkub wrote: Tue Aug 29, 2023 9:44 am
babystepper wrote: Sun Aug 27, 2023 8:29 pm 4. I really am new and don’t know much about mountaineering, so you have any recommendations on how I can learn more information for a beginner? I want to be smart and safe. I don’t want to do anything dangerous or die so advice would be appreciated.
If you want to get book smart on this: "Mountaineering - The Freedom of the Hills" is the classic.
Thank you for your advice. I'm also a newbie, this is very interesting for me.
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Re: Recommendations/ questions from a beginner in no elevation

Post by sunbleached »

babystepper wrote: Sun Aug 27, 2023 8:29 pm
4. I really am new and don’t know much about mountaineering, so you have any recommendations on how I can learn more information for a beginner? I want to be smart and safe. I don’t want to do anything dangerous or die so advice would be appreciated.
I like to think that I have a fairly extensive mountaineering library. Though you asked the question back in August and might not need this response anymore, maybe someone else with the same question will find this useful. Here are four books I'd pretty much recommend for anyone getting into big peaks:
  • Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills: Pretty much the definitive textbook on mountaineering. It's big, and it's dense... and it's easily the most comprehensive source for introducing people to mountaineering techniques, paradigms, and risk management behaviors.
  • Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain: An excellent book for if you're interested in winter climbing/hiking/scrambling and want to be safe. Avalanche science is as much an art as a science - this isn't a bad thing, it just goes to show how many factors go into predicting and anticipating avalanche terrain.
  • Fixing Your Feet: Exactly what it sounds like - a book all about foot care and management. It's great for all kinds of activities that are sure to put some pressure on your body. I originally got it for when I started running more.
  • Going Higher: Oxygen, Man, and Mountains: A somewhat recently-published book that describes the effects of altitude on the body, with an obvious focus on hypoxia. Good for dispelling the fear of altitude sickness, though with the caveat that it's a lot more epidemiologically and medically-oriented and might not be the best suggestion for a layperson. Still, I find it super fascinating, and it's comforting to know more about what my body undergoes as I spend more time up high.
One of the many search and rescue books out there can also be good to pick up. I originally started mountaineering and hiking in the Northeast USA where there's robust literature on search and rescue, especially concerning the New Hampshire White Mountains. They're useful for simply instilling reminders about how and why things go wrong, as well as usually being exciting reads on their own right!
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Re: Recommendations/ questions from a beginner in no elevation

Post by ltlFish99 »

From what others stated, what i read when starting out, and personal experience:

The thing that helped me the most was being properly hydrated.
I start the day or 2 before, by drinking about 2x what i normally drink 2 dsys prior, then more the day before going up high.

I do not drink coffee prior to hiking high. i know a lot of people Love coffee, but i read and experienced that it dehydrates me, so i avoid it.

I personally do not drink any alcohol, as i know from past experience that it dehydrates me, and makes me feel poorly after.
I have read about, and heard of some using aspirin the day before, and day of hiking to altitude.

A recommendation that i thought made sense was to drive to the top of Loveland pass, then walk around/hike toward Sniktau, etc. to gage how one feels at a higher altitude. This could also be done by dtiving to summit lake, or trail ridge road and taking short hikes, etc.

Another thing thst really helped me was consuming pasta the morning prior to a hike. I always seemed to feel energized for a longer period, and did not experience the sugar rush then crash of other foods.

Freedom of the hills is an excellent resource.
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Jim Davies
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Re: Recommendations/ questions from a beginner in no elevation

Post by Jim Davies »

You can adapt quite a bit in a few days. From the CDC:
Some acclimatization to high elevation continues for weeks to months, but the acute process, which occurs over the first 3–5 days following ascent, is crucial for travelers. The acute phase is associated with a steady increase in ventilation, improved oxygenation, and changes in cerebral blood flow. Increased red cell production does not play a role in acute acclimatization, although a decrease in plasma volume over the first few days does increase hemoglobin concentration.
https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook ... de-illness
Climbing at altitude is like hitting your head against a brick wall — it's great when you stop. -- Chris Darwin
I'm pretty tired. I think I'll go home now. -- Forrest Gump
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