Altitude acclimization

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KState14er
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Re: Altitude acclimization

Post by KState14er »

Also be weary of diamox and hyperbaric chambers. No guides on Aconcagua recommend them and the guides in my group actually told some other climbers that were using diamox to stop taking it. It changes your physiology and natural responses plus you need to drink TONS of water for it not to have negative side effects. If your body can’t make it, your body can’t make it. Masking your body’s deficiencies can be dangerous at high elevation.

“Spending 8 hours/day sleeping at a simulated altitude in a Hypoxico tent does not give as good results as natural acclimatization. This was demonstrated by two climbers last year on Everest. One acclimated naturally in the Khumbu valley for 3 weeks. The other slept at simulated altitude in a tent for over 4 weeks. When they met in Everest Base Camp the naturally acclimated climber was noticeably better acclimated despite the Hypoxico acclimated climber normally being faster at any altitude.”
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Re: Altitude acclimization

Post by Ryan987 »

KState14er wrote: Mon Feb 19, 2024 8:41 am Also be weary of diamox and hyperbaric chambers. No guides on Aconcagua recommend them and the guides in my group actually told some other climbers that were using diamox to stop taking it. It changes your physiology and natural responses plus you need to drink TONS of water for it not to have negative side effects. If your body can’t make it, your body can’t make it. Masking your body’s deficiencies can be dangerous at high elevation.

“Spending 8 hours/day sleeping at a simulated altitude in a Hypoxico tent does not give as good results as natural acclimatization. This was demonstrated by two climbers last year on Everest. One acclimated naturally in the Khumbu valley for 3 weeks. The other slept at simulated altitude in a tent for over 4 weeks. When they met in Everest Base Camp the naturally acclimated climber was noticeably better acclimated despite the Hypoxico acclimated climber normally being faster at any altitude.”
Genuinely curious could you expand more on diamox? I've just started taking them the last couple months and they have greatly improved climbing 14ers for me. I have a history with being intolerant to higher elevations (super nauseous, dizziness, and to some extent even mild hallucinations). I've tried everything before taking diamox with no success. No issues/side effects the last couple times
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Dave B
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Re: Altitude acclimization

Post by Dave B »

Ryan987 wrote: Mon Feb 19, 2024 9:07 am
KState14er wrote: Mon Feb 19, 2024 8:41 am Also be weary of diamox and hyperbaric chambers. No guides on Aconcagua recommend them and the guides in my group actually told some other climbers that were using diamox to stop taking it. It changes your physiology and natural responses plus you need to drink TONS of water for it not to have negative side effects. If your body can’t make it, your body can’t make it. Masking your body’s deficiencies can be dangerous at high elevation.

“Spending 8 hours/day sleeping at a simulated altitude in a Hypoxico tent does not give as good results as natural acclimatization. This was demonstrated by two climbers last year on Everest. One acclimated naturally in the Khumbu valley for 3 weeks. The other slept at simulated altitude in a tent for over 4 weeks. When they met in Everest Base Camp the naturally acclimated climber was noticeably better acclimated despite the Hypoxico acclimated climber normally being faster at any altitude.”
Genuinely curious could you expand more on diamox? I've just started taking them the last couple months and they have greatly improved climbing 14ers for me. I have a history with being intolerant to higher elevations (super nauseous, dizziness, and to some extent even mild hallucinations). I've tried everything before taking diamox with no success. No issues/side effects the last couple times
I wouldn't give too much weight to anecdotal information on the internet. Especially regarding Rx medications; you can spin yourself in circles trying to account for others individual experiences. It sounds like diamox is beneficial for you without negative side effects, so you should continue taking it.

Diamox is similar for me, I develop pretty bad central sleep apnea when sleeping above 10,500 ft. Diamox eliminates it, I piss like a race horse and my butthole tingles likes it's attached to electrodes, but I get actual restful sleep.
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Aphelion
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Re: Altitude acclimization

Post by Aphelion »

Guides don't tell you to stop taking diamox because it's ineffective or bad for you, they want to keep you clean from it so they can use it as a rescue medication. They're not interested in helping your performance, they're trying to keep you predictable and "by the books."
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Re: Altitude acclimization

Post by jrbren_vt »

Ltdan wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 12:00 pm Hello all. I am looking for some guidance for a trip I have planned.

Heading to Mt. Kilimanjaro in August and joining a group guided tour. Being from the midwest where elevation is non-existent, I plan to make a couple of trips to CO to begin some altitude acclimatization. Besides this, I will be looking into Diamox, vaccines, and other related precautions.

I have Breckenridge as my first target destination in mid-late July. Initially, no climbing and after a couple of days maybe take a lift up to 11k, depending on how I feel. Really playing it all by ear to see how the altitude effects me.

Again using precautions of a day or two of settling in, a 2nd trip to get to the upper reaches of the gondolas/lifts of 12k-13k. If I am up to it, attempt at Grays Peak or Torreys Peak since it appears close by to Breckenridge.

I have read the various precautions one should take, but do you recommend finding someone (who?) to hike Grays Peak or Torrey Peak with or is it something you can do on your own as long as you are equipped?

The trip and preparation by coming to CO will be epic! I am not too worried about the physical requirements, but from what I have read about Kili (19.3k) the altitude is the one of the biggest challenges. Will be an 8-day trip going up. And there should be some residual benefit with my CO visits. Fly directly from CO to Tanzania 1st of August.

Other suggestions for my CO visits? Conditioning. Conditioning. Conditioning.

TIA.
I also signed up for guided Meru/Kilimanjaro trip for August. My challenges will be different, since I live in Colorado Springs (6300'), but I am old and injury prone lately, but feel free to PM me if you want to compare preparation notes. Since you hired a guide, I assume you trust them (if you don't find a different one). A good guide will answer all your preparation questions including training and acclimatization. Internet message boards IMHO are not a great place to get this type of advice as you will get such a wide range of conflicting responses. Others here have summed it up pretty well (like desertdog). I think the Colorado trip is a great idea if you can swing it, not for acclimatization benefits, but for practicing hiking up & down hill for many hours on end, and testing out gear. What works, what doesn't, and having time to make adjustments before your Africa trip. I assume you have no mountains close to home being in the midwest (I am from Michigan originally). If you want to avoid crowds, the farther from Denver the better, so maybe make Salida or Buena Vista your base ? Quandary is a great training 14er near Breckinridge, but comes with a parking fustercluck to deal with in summer due to its popularity. But it's popular for a reason. Ditto for the other I70 14ers near Denver. But there are a ton of 13ers around this area with a fraction of the crowds and parking headaches.
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Re: Altitude acclimization

Post by justiner »

lebsack wrote: Sun Mar 17, 2024 5:33 am I've been hitting the gym for about six months now, gearing up for my first hike in May. Heard having a solid fitness level can help beat fatigue and boost endurance up in the mountains.
If you haven't already, favor aerobic exercise, rather than strength. Can you run 10 miles? Porters do the heavy work, so other than a baseline of fitness, you want to focus your energy on your heart. Before any altitude tent, etc.
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Re: Altitude acclimization

Post by Dan_Suitor »

While natural acclimatization is best, hypoxic tents do help, and some Aconcagua guides recommend them. I climbed Aconcagua through a company (Adventuras Patagonicas) who has a program based around preparation in hypoxic tents (see Climb Aconcagua in 12 days - Aventuras Patagonicas). Our group consisted of 8 climbers and 3 guides. The climbers were from all over the world, and all elevations. We were all in good physical, with me being the eldest. All of us summited in 8 days, which is almost unheard of, especially a group of 11. Starting 2 months prior to the climb, I slept in the tent almost every night. I slowly increased the simulated elevation until it was simulating over 20,000 ft. I did not take Diamox and the effects of altitude were minimal. Certainly at 23,000 ft, the air was difficult to breath and the climbing was slow going, but I never felt even the slightest headache.

You can rent or buy systems. I found one on Craigs List. My system was made up of the Hypoxico Sierra 100 (Hypoxico Sierra 100 Altitude Generator) and the Hypoxico Deluxe tent (Deluxe Altitude Tent | Hypoxico) . In reality, the generator was underpowered for the tent. Fortunately, living at almost 9,000 fit, it was able get the simulated elevation to 17,500 ft. I then created the equivalent of their Head Bivy (Head Bivy Altitude Tent | Hypoxico) within the tent to achieve a simulated altitude of over 20,000 ft. To know your simulated altitude, you will need an oxygen analyzer. I used the Handi+ (Handi+ - Maxtec). By zeroing the analyzer outside of the tent at your known altitude, then bringing it into the tent and performing an oxygen read, you can calculate the simulated altitude.
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Re: Altitude acclimization

Post by JohnnyLeadville »

KState14er wrote: Mon Feb 19, 2024 8:33 am Don’t waste your money and time coming out to Colorado. The residual extra red blood cells will have minimal affects for you considering the several days of travel and prep you’ll do in Tanzania before even heading up the mountain. The itinerary you choose is a long one and all big mountain itineraries are meant to help you acclimatize as you go, going higher and higher each day and sleeping higher and higher each day. Remember that most people around the world don’t live at high elevation and have no problems summitting big mountains.
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Re: Altitude acclimization

Post by Ltdan »

Thanks so much everyone. I had heard mixed feedback regarding the acclimation. Prior to my post, some had said coming to CO would help and some said it wouldn't. The majority say it wont and thats OK. I am just rather curious to see how my body responds to at least the 14k height and understand how it is going to feel. I am doing my conditioning and getting in shape here for the last few weeks and will continue until depart date. Even though I am older, I know I am capable physically. At minimum, the CO trips will help with the mental state of mind.

I signed up with what I think is a top outfitter (altezza) that sounds like they look after their customers well. I have all of the appropriate gear and not going to freeze my arse off and not going to win any races going no dang mountain. The favorite Swahili phrase over there is Pole' Pole' (slow slow). they want you to take it slow.

About the only other endurance related thing I have done is about 500 miles on the AT. That is not an altitude feat by no means, but it does require some mental prep to be out there for 10+ days at a time(I have a job and family and can't be gone for 5 months). I have 4-5 Level 1 peaks I picked out and found this Manitou Incline online. Thought I would give that a go. That looks insane. Will beat the HS bleacher routine, for sure.

Again, thanks for all of your feedback. Much appreciated.
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Re: Altitude acclimization

Post by Ltdan »

justiner wrote: Sun Mar 17, 2024 7:27 am
lebsack wrote: Sun Mar 17, 2024 5:33 am I've been hitting the gym for about six months now, gearing up for my first hike in May. Heard having a solid fitness level can help beat fatigue and boost endurance up in the mountains.
If you haven't already, favor aerobic exercise, rather than strength. Can you run 10 miles? Porters do the heavy work, so other than a baseline of fitness, you want to focus your energy on your heart. Before any altitude tent, etc.
That would be a negative. Can't run 10 miles, but can walk it with little prob. And you right. Focusing on core, and legs, and breathing.
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Re: Altitude acclimization

Post by Ltdan »

jrbren_vt wrote: Tue Feb 20, 2024 12:22 pm
Ltdan wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 12:00 pm Hello all. I am looking for some guidance for a trip I have planned.

Heading to Mt. Kilimanjaro in August and joining a group guided tour. Being from the midwest where elevation is non-existent, I plan to make a couple of trips to CO to begin some altitude acclimatization. Besides this, I will be looking into Diamox, vaccines, and other related precautions.

I have Breckenridge as my first target destination in mid-late July. Initially, no climbing and after a couple of days maybe take a lift up to 11k, depending on how I feel. Really playing it all by ear to see how the altitude effects me.

Again using precautions of a day or two of settling in, a 2nd trip to get to the upper reaches of the gondolas/lifts of 12k-13k. If I am up to it, attempt at Grays Peak or Torreys Peak since it appears close by to Breckenridge.

I have read the various precautions one should take, but do you recommend finding someone (who?) to hike Grays Peak or Torrey Peak with or is it something you can do on your own as long as you are equipped?

The trip and preparation by coming to CO will be epic! I am not too worried about the physical requirements, but from what I have read about Kili (19.3k) the altitude is the one of the biggest challenges. Will be an 8-day trip going up. And there should be some residual benefit with my CO visits. Fly directly from CO to Tanzania 1st of August.

Other suggestions for my CO visits? Conditioning. Conditioning. Conditioning.

TIA.
I also signed up for guided Meru/Kilimanjaro trip for August. My challenges will be different, since I live in Colorado Springs (6300'), but I am old and injury prone lately, but feel free to PM me if you want to compare preparation notes. Since you hired a guide, I assume you trust them (if you don't find a different one). A good guide will answer all your preparation questions including training and acclimatization. Internet message boards IMHO are not a great place to get this type of advice as you will get such a wide range of conflicting responses. Others here have summed it up pretty well (like desertdog). I think the Colorado trip is a great idea if you can swing it, not for acclimatization benefits, but for practicing hiking up & down hill for many hours on end, and testing out gear. What works, what doesn't, and having time to make adjustments before your Africa trip. I assume you have no mountains close to home being in the midwest (I am from Michigan originally). If you want to avoid crowds, the farther from Denver the better, so maybe make Salida or Buena Vista your base ? Quandary is a great training 14er near Breckinridge, but comes with a parking fustercluck to deal with in summer due to its popularity. But it's popular for a reason. Ditto for the other I70 14ers near Denver. But there are a ton of 13ers around this area with a fraction of the crowds and parking headaches.
Who is your guide company? I signed up with Altezza and 8-day Lemosho route. I have Torreys, Quandray, Grays, and Elbert picked out and this little trot up the hill called Manitou Incline. I have plenty of gear from previous hiking trips, none of them were at altitude and I have added what I think is needed.

I did read there was a shuttle that operates from Breckinridge to Quandary to beat the parking mess. I dont know these trailheads and getting to them. I suspect I will need to rent a high clearance 4WD vehicle.

Thanks so much.
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Re: Altitude acclimization

Post by seannunn »

SkaredShtles wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 1:43 pm
Ltdan wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 12:00 pm<snip> And there should be some residual benefit with my CO visits.
Don't plan on it, unless you're planning to spend *weeks* in Colorado.
+1. If there is much of a gap between the 2 trips at all, you will likely lose most of the PHYSICAL benefits of your trip to CO.
However, I would still recommend the trip, because it will show you how your body handles altitude.
The more climbing you can do while you are in CO the better. If you are fit already (which is assumed if you are going to try Kili), I would start climbing the second or third day you are at altitude, and do as much as you can while you are in CO.
You might even try sleeping as high as you can, because for me sleeping at 10K-11K is sometimes more of an issue than climbing to 14K.

Don't discount your 500 mile trail hike. If you can do that, and if you can handle the altitude, I would imagine you can climb Kili. A lot of climbing (class 3 and below) is similar to hiking; just keep putting one foot in front of the other for a long time.

Sean Nunn
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