Climbing & Emotions

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
User avatar
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 9:02 am
Location: Houston, Texas

Re: Climbing & Emotions

Postby joshmcd » Fri Aug 31, 2012 1:09 pm

My wife suffered AMS severely last year when we hiked La Plata. The very first indicators were emotional instability and severe anxiety. She typically handles her emotions quite well, but she became noticeably afraid on the switchbacks at 11,500 before the ridge. By the time we reached the ridge she had a severe headache, nausea, and her fingers were swollen and turning blue. When I realized that she was just keeping quiet about it all and trying push forward for my sake, we stopped at the ridge crest to hydrate, fuel up, and reconsider our summit bid. Her condition continued to deteriorate to the point that when we began descending from the ridge, she could barely step down the rock steps leading down from the ridge. She was experiencing this crippling fear that wouldn't let her take another step forward. I literally had to hold on to her and walk down the steps with her clinging to my arms. When we got back down to 11,000' in the basin, she was perfectly normal.

I've never seen her like that. The initial symptom was emotional instability followed by irrational fear. Perhaps in her case it was just the onset of AMS. We live at sea-level and that was her first time that high. She doesn't hike with me anymore at higher elevation.

I know for me personally, I experience a small level of emotional change but I attribute it to a combination of hormonal adrenaline and mental caution as it particularly shows up in me near dramatic exposure.


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests