Altitude Sickness

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BillMiddlebrook
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Re: Altitude Sickness

Post by BillMiddlebrook »

Champion wrote:Very nice trip report

It can happen to anyone!

Be Safe
Champ, I thought you already said "Bye?" Welcome back.
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Re: Altitude Sickness

Post by BillMiddlebrook »

Dave B wrote:
Yukon Ron wrote:Has anyone had experience with this med?
Diamox is pretty common. Side-effects are unpleasant (in my experience in Argentina). Something along the lines of feeling as if low voltage electrical current is flowing through... your butt-hole. I s**t you not (pun intended).
:wft:
Ok, that's weird
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Re: Altitude Sickness

Post by d_baker »

BillMiddlebrook wrote:
Champion wrote:Very nice trip report

It can happen to anyone!

Be Safe
Champ, I thought you already said "Bye?" Welcome back.
Oh damn, I think I missed something today.....
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Re: Altitude Sickness

Post by BillMiddlebrook »

JoeyJ wrote:I’ve been above 14k multiple times every year since 2001 and never had a problem. But spent one night this March above 13k in Nepal and didn’t sleep a wink while gasping for breath all night. Easily the worst nite I’ve ever had in the mountains... It was the onset of altitude sickness, and the next day I became an official member of the lollipop gut-wrenching guild and vomited most of the next day until I got down to Phortse Tenga
Joey,
Thanks for sharing. That had to be pretty scary being in a foreign land and having that happen during the night.

Just curious - how quick did you go from traveling to Nepal to sleeping at 13k?
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Re: Altitude Sickness

Post by JoeyJ »

Earlier this a.m. there was a super awesome trip report posted about altitude sickness! I suspected the report might get torched so I made a new thread for my comment, or it would be gone up in electronic flames!

Seriously, I thought if I got AMS there, it would be at 15k or higher. I'd been to 14.5k no prob (Whitney), and figured if I was going down with anything alt related it would surely be around 16k or more. In retrospect, it seemed to be a cumulative affect, in that we spent 2 previous nights in Namche above 11k, and then the night above 13k got me good and gave me my first taste (and hopefully last) of altitude sickness.

Hi I'm Joey, an illtitudaholic :)

@ Bill, just noticed your post. We flew in to Lukla, then headed to a stop. next day to Namche, then stayed a day there to acclimate. so about 3 or 4 days... but I was coming from a mile lower that all you CO folk!
gotta go, thanks for asking Bill

Lukla is about 9.5k...
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Re: Altitude Sickness

Post by Monster5 »

Oi. Sounds like a rough trip. Cheyne Stokes? Altitude sickness susceptibility seems to be based heavily on genetics. If you know how you react, drugs and/or taking it slower might work.

Probably the worst case for me was sleeping at 10K one night and 17K the next. Three different "test cases:"

-Fireonthemountain: physically in okay shape. Bit lacking in the upper body, but hey, only so much time in a day. Training regimen includes going up and down and up and down Boulder bumps. Alternated between lethargy, headaches, and vomiting on the trip (potentially bad water, though nobody else was affected).

-Boggyb: Great shape. Training regimen alternates between driving to the San Juans and hiking 13ers. Occasionally he drives back from the San Juans. He also has a lot of SA high altitude experience. Either way, he had a rough night and could not climb the next day.

-Me: I've been compared to Thor. Might be the beard. Might be the biceps. Probably the abs. Training regimen includes pretending to be a climber but secretly hiking occasional 13ers because I climb like my little pony with screwdrivers taped to her hooves. No issues. Stayed up half the night with nerves wondering "Wait is this altitude sickness? Am I sick? Is that a headache? What does a headache feel like?" And then I passed out.
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Re: Altitude Sickness

Post by JoeyJ »

Sorry, library closed here... had to cut short.

Great question Bill! That's what made it tough for me to figure and deal with AMS. Didn't make sense I was getting sick below 14k!?

A few times over the years I've taken a group or gone solo straight from KS, driving all night and then gone up right to summit 14ers from 1k elevation. Not the best way to do things for acclimation, I wouldn't do tougher peaks like that- but coming a long ways with limited short time over a weekend this is the best one can do sometimes. So that's what made me think the effects of altitude may be cumulative, because I surely would have gotten sick from those previous excursions if too quick ascent was the culprit? Wouldn't I?

Anyway, I've always struggled sleeping above 10k, no matter how acclimated I was, so I take it I'm not wired to live or spend any lengthy time above 10 to 12. From what I've read, it's still widely unknown it seems about AMS and what all is going on with that. The only cure for AMS we know so far = Get Down.
In Nepal people do dumb stuff, they've invested so much time/money they keep going up with signs of AMS. At least one soul did this while I was there, and heard plenty of stories of dumb decisions made while folks could hear their own lungs gurgling with fluid build up and junk like that. If it progresses to HAPE or HACE- that's real trouble that can kill. That's what it felt like a little for me, if I didn't get down- it felt kinda like my lungs were going to fill - very weird and scary.
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Re: Altitude Sickness

Post by JoeyJ »

BillMiddlebrook wrote: That had to be pretty scary being in a foreign land and having that happen during the night.
Yeah that night got to me no doubt. Part of that was just trying to fight off the fear of the unknown...

Now that I've spilled my guts I might as well tell the rest of the story. The worst scare I had on this adventure was actually in Turkey! I have horrible allergies that result in sinus infections- that got me in Nepal and I was hacking badly all the way home. But we stayed over one night in Istanbul, and I must be very allergic to something there! About 4 a.m. in the Istanbul Doubletree I woke up frantically gasping for air! This was shocking enuf, but as I gasped as deeply as I could, inhaled/exhaled for all I was worth, nothing happened! I thought I was gonna die! I was prepared to pull the red emergency cord in the shower as it felt like I was going to pass out if nothing changed- but grabbed a bottle of water quickly and tried to drink and wash water down to open things up. This slowly worked and loosened things up so my breathing finally returned to normal in a few minutes. Quite the adventure!

I'm not asthmatic, so who knows what triggered that terrible reaction! The only redeeming moment that nite= Since I was awake I flipped thru the channels at 4:30 in the morning, and was able to find and watch the NCAA champ basketball game in arabic! There's a silver lining in every dark cloud 8)

Good times!
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Re: Altitude Sickness

Post by Urban Snowshoer »

As far as physical fitness is concerned, there doesn't seem to be a correlation between susceptibility to and physical fitness: i.e. being in good shape isn't a guarantee you won't be affected by altitude sickness. However, altitude sickness isn't completely understood, especially with respect to who gets (or doesn't) and why.
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Re: Altitude Sickness

Post by jsdratm »

The worst I've ever felt was at Huayna Potosi base camp, about 15500', where I couldn't sleep worth a damn and my throat was incredibly dry all night, but I've thankfully never had vomiting or anything that severe. I remember trying to set up our tent the night before and just by setting up the poles I got very lightheaded and had to lay down for a while. I also seem to have trouble with altitude where it gives me a persistent dry cough and I got it really bad at the Mt. Ararat high camp. I'm not sure if it is due to dehydration or some other issue.

I've taken Diamox on two trips and it is hard to say if it is really doing anything since I don't have a "control" trip to compare it to. Respiration is triggered by CO2 levels in the blood as well as the pH level in the blood, so Diamox drops the pH, which tricks your body into thinking it needs to breathe more frequently. Breathing more frequently increases the oxygenation in the blood, so you can cope with the lower oxygen levels better. The only side effects I've noticed are the occasional tingly feeling in extremities and weird taste of carbonated beverages.
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Re: Altitude Sickness

Post by Fr3ako »

I feel sick every time I climb Bierstadt, not as severe as you experienced but headaches and vomiting...every single time! That's also the 14er I climb the quickest.

I slept at 15k-17k lots of times and have never been sick or in need to take Diamox
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Re: Altitude Sickness

Post by JoeyJ »

Monster5 wrote:Oi. Sounds like a rough trip. Cheyne Stokes?
No to Cheyne Stokes. Don't have apnea and have never had irregular breathing problems. I asked my doc about the scary breathing incident in Turkey, and he thought it was all prob just an allergic reaction that constricted windpipes, and every new place I go will always have a set of new allergens I'll have to deal with. Thanks for asking tho- I had never heard of Cheyne.

I may go back someday, but the Everest trek requires a hefty chunk of time off, plus the pains of long flights and jet lag - so maybe after I retire or later down the line? Next time I would likely try the diamox, and take more time acclimating. Japanese groups there were known for doing that, and taking slow ascent paces-- so maybe I'll have to join one of their groups in the future! Although a good solution may be to permanently reside at a higher altitude, so I may literally be forced to move to Colorado to solve this problem! working on that one now :)
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt. -Abe Lincoln
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