MountainMedic wrote:Even if you stay in Boulder for a week before the climb, you're likely (70% on Longs in one study) to have altitude issues once you get to 10,000 ft. A friend of mine tried this and turned around at the Boulder Field (~12,000 ft; vomiting with awful AMS), and he was in excellent shape.
I'm sorry, but I find this study to be questionable. Is this consistent with what we see on the ski slopes with destination skiers who arrive at DIA and are on the slopes the next day? I think I've heard about 20% of destination skiers are affected by altitude. By this study's implication, 70% of Denverites who drive to Leadville can expect to have altitude issues. I guess I'd be interested to know exactly how the researcher defined an "altitude issue," and if it was defined to inflate the percentage to enhance the findings and thereby bolster the study's alleged significance.
Here's something perhaps more relevant: http://www.rmiguides.com/mt-rainier/#summit_climbs
RMI runs 4-day and 5-day trips up Ranier. With the 5-day trip, they spend two nights at 10,000'. They've been doing this a long, long time and must feel comfortable with the acclimization issue (noting the 4-day trip involves even less time up high). They wouldn't do this if 70% of their participants were likely to vomit and suffer awful AMS. Naturally, the more time you spend up high, the better your odds.
Altitude illnesses are physiologically complicated, and I often get myself into trouble on this forum trying to explain them. I simply don't have the time to explain every caveat, but I am not pulling things out of my ass. I'm pulling them out of well-respected medical texts.
6,000 ft is not 10,000 ft, and 10,000 ft is not 14,000 ft. As a matter of fact, there's a 4,000 ft difference. RMI clients aren't acclimating at 6K, they're acclimating at 10K. 10,000 ft is a common threshold for altitude issues and is thus often used as an acclimation elevation for higher ascents. Going from 6K-14K in a matter of hours is vastly more stressful than going from 6-10 or 10-14. I think this is pretty obvious and does not warrant further explanation. You also neglect things like physical expenditure, time at altitude, recent trips to altitude (studies show that 2-4 days spent at high altitude can lend to acclimation up to two months later), etc.
Presumably, the OP will be coming from near sea level in WI. "Compared with persons living at lower altitude, residents from 900m (3000 ft) or above reduced the incidence of AMS from 27% to 8% when ascending to between 2000 and 3000 m (6562-9843 ft) in Colorado." (Auerbach p11). Thus, the OP has over a 300% greater chance of getting AMS in the TH parking lot than someone who lives in CO. So if someone from CO does Longs as their first 14er, they are much less likely to get AMS than someone from, say, WI, who does Longs as their first 14er.
Susceptibility is obviously a considerable factor. What most people don't know is that susceptibility to altitude illnesses is largely genetic, with fitness having little to no effect. So if the OP is fit, while it will make the climb much easier (just as it would at a lower elevation), it won't eliminate or even really decrease chance of AMS. One study (Schneider, Bernash, and Weymann, Med Sci Sports Exerc 34, 2002), shows AMS prevalence to be 60% in susceptible and 30% in non-susceptible subjects who ascended to 10,000 ft with fewer than 4 days ascent and five days "preexposure," while these numbers decreased to ~7% and 4% with ascent >3 days and preexposure >5 days. So, a couple extra days' acclimation greatly decreases the chances of feeling like crap during a climb. ''
I can track down more studies to support what I'm saying, but I doubt you want that. I think my motives for keeping jargon out of it are apparent - it's boring and takes up your time to read and my time to write. If anybody has specific questions pertaining to any of this, please PM me and I can get you some links to studies.