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Oxygen tank recommendations?

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Oxygen tank recommendations?

Postby dancingmanatee » Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:22 pm

Hi all,

I'm a Colorado native and I attempted my first 14er last December (Greys and Torreys), but at about 13K, I got nasty altitude sickness and couldn't go any further. I have mild asthma and it's much more difficult breathing at a high elevation. My boyfriend and I decided that we would buy an oxygen tank for our next 14er. I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations? I wasn't really able to find anything via Google search.

(And if your advice is conditioning, thanks, but it isn't going to work for me. My lungs suck. I can run for miles in CA no problem, but I can barely make it half a mile in CO. Even back in HS I still needed my inhaler and could never get my breathing right despite being in fantastic shape.)


Thanks!

Re: Oxygen tank recommendations?

Postby Steve Climber » Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:25 pm

Dave B wrote:And/or line thy helmet with tin foil and realize this is a freaking mountaineering website.


Steve Climber wrote:So that's your backpack, huh?

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Re: Oxygen tank recommendations?

Postby michaelgrundy » Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:31 pm

:wft:

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Re: Oxygen tank recommendations?

Postby Kiefer » Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:34 pm

REI. They're usually next to the bathospheres.

Re: Oxygen tank recommendations?

Postby forbins_mtn » Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:40 pm

i had a good friend whip a small handheld oxygen tank out of his pocket last summer on Elbert. I looked him in the eye and told him I would never hike with him again if he used that one more time.

true story. i believe he's never used it since.

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Re: Oxygen tank recommendations?

Postby ThuChad » Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:52 pm

http://www.boostoxygen.com/

:lol:

Get a script for acetazolamide 125mg tabs. It will work better.
I'm just pretending to be a poseur.

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Re: Oxygen tank recommendations?

Postby Fisching » Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:56 pm

Conditioning is different from acclimatization; the latter is what you're interested in.

Spend more time at a high elevation before hiking a 14er. Leadville is over 10K, so that might be a good base camp.
Last edited by Fisching on Wed Sep 11, 2013 3:34 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Oxygen tank recommendations?

Postby jdorje » Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:57 pm

Ascend slower, no faster than 1000 feet an hour. Being in good shape can raise your chance of an altitude response if you climb quickly.

Re: Oxygen tank recommendations?

Postby BobbyFinn » Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:03 pm

You probably won't find many people here who use oxygen on 14ers because it is generally not needed.

If you can barely walk 1/2 a mile in CO, then I'm not sure this hobby is for you - even if you had an oxygen tank, what if it stopped working or leaked or your dropped it 1000 feet down a couloir? I'm honestly not trying to be mean by that. Perhaps you were exaggerating, but it's more difficult to offer sincere advice if so.

Also, if you tried your first 14ers in December, part of the problem may be that your lungs don't do well in cold. Mine do not and I need to get them used to cold temps. If I abruptly start breathing hard in cold temps, my lungs get tight and I start coughing up gunk. Maybe you should try your lungs out in warmer temps and see if it's more of an issue with cold. Last year we attempted Grays and Torreys in December and I almost turned around near 13k because I felt terrible.

Another thing to consider is that getting altitude sickness symptoms around 13k is not out of the ordinary. Maybe you'd actually be fine if you took a few hikes up to 12k or 13k in the weeks leading up to your 14k hike. I sometimes get some altitude sickness symptoms even though I go hiking above 12k almost every weekend.

Bob
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Re: Oxygen tank recommendations?

Postby Gareth » Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:19 pm

BobbyFinn wrote:Also, if you tried your first 14ers in December, part of the problem may be that your lungs don't do well in cold. Mine do not and I need to get them used to cold temps. If I abruptly start breathing hard in cold temps, my lungs get tight and I start coughing up gunk. Maybe you should try your lungs out in warmer temps and see if it's more of an issue with cold.

+1 Same here. It takes some working around when I run in the cold, but doesn't bother me when I hike/climb in the summer.
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Re: Oxygen tank recommendations?

Postby snowboardinco » Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:26 pm

+1 for acclimatization. No one uses or actually needs oxygen at 14k. People can easily live at that altitude and much higher, but not without ACCLIMATIZATION!! You need to spend more time above 9k or 10k. Coming from sea level to Colorado will make most people sick. Oxygen is not a solution and can not be substituted for proper acclimation.


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