WhiteBlaze Pages
A Complete Appalachian Trail Guidebook.
$10 for printed copy(paperback). $6 for interactive PDF. $2 for printable PDF.
Read more here WhiteBlaze Pages Store

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 38
  1. #1

    Default Acclimating to CO

    Our son is getting stationed in CO. Fort Carson. I have lived basically at sea level my whole life and while hiking NH White Mountains I never slept above about 3000 feet. A couple of years ago I went to Guadalupe Mountains and spent 1 night at 5000 feet and ended up with a headache and nausea until I decided to leave the next day after my easy hike. I know there are doubters about my experience but I know people often have trouble going from sea level to Denver. More so if they need to engage in athletic activity. The New England Patriots always travel immediately to Denver after finishing their last game before playing in Denver so they can acclimate.

    So how long do you suggest to take to acclimate just to the altitude in/near Denver before attempting any mountains? Any suggestions on how to acclimate? I expect we may spend as much as a month there so I can get some good hiking in and we can see our son as much as possible before heading south before winter.
    https://tinyurl.com/MyFDresults

    A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White

  2. #2

    Default

    If you had trouble at 5K, then it might take a while. 4 days to a week maybe just to get used to the Denver elevation? There are drugs to help with the headache problem.

    I went out there for a week on the CT and really didn't have any trouble until about 8K and I was struggling at 10K. I figure I'd have to go to someplace like Leadville for a week to acclimate by doing short day hikes around the area before trying anything more serious.

    One trick at high elevation is the rest step. Every three steps you pause and take a couple of deep breaths. You get into a rhythm doing this so you make more or less steady progress instead of stopping for 5 minutes every 100 feet.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    12-19-2005
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    3,716
    Images
    3

    Default

    There are drugs to help with the headache problem


    yeah......it's legal out there...

  4. #4

    Default

    I can tell you how not to do it and what I now do. Don't fly into Denver and be hiking at 12,000 feet in the Rocky Mountain National Park the next day, unless you want to be puking and needing O2.

    I am sensitive to altitude, even some flights will get me if the airline is cheapo on the pressurization.

    There are two effects of going to altitude that I adjust. First is the initial headaches and difficulty sleeping. A few days at 5-7,000 feet with no exercise, lots of fluid, and trying to sleep is my approach. Once I sleep decently, then, I start exercise modestly. Easy exercise. The second effect takes a lot longer. In order to get somewhat similar aerobic power levels as at sea level, your body has to produce more red blood cells and your mitochondria enzymes have to change. This takes a lot of time (weeks). Some athletes try to jump start that process using special equipment at home sea level that simulates elevation. There is a herbal supplement with n acetylcysteine and other vitamins that some swear by, if I remember the name, I will post.

  5. #5

  6. #6
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
    Join Date
    08-20-2012
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Age
    65
    Posts
    4,528
    Images
    3

    Default

    There are a couple of acclimation "rules" that float around that I like:

    The first is to figure about a day per 1000' of acclimation, meaning you should be fine at front range (Denver, CO springs, Boulder, etc) after 5 days or so.

    The second, and most important is to "climb high, sleep low". What this means for "flatlander" visitors to the Front Range is that it's a great idea to venture into the nearby foothills and lower mountains for day hikes, then sleep in Denver/CO springs. don't try to camp at 10K feet too soon.

    You keep mentioning "Denver", but as I'm sure you know Ft. Carson is south of CO Springs, and 80 miles south of Denver. And as it happens, CO springs is mostly about 800' higher than Denver. But there are great places to hang out during your acclimation, like Canon City, Salida, Westcliffe, etc. Take day drives to these places, then come back to the Ft. Carson area to sleep.

    When you start to feel a bit more "saucy", venture out US 24 to the Lost Creek Wilderness area, those trailheads are at 8000-9000 feet and the trails get up to 11-12K. The LCW has a ton of unique and gorgeous 11ers and 12ers.

    There's the infamous "incline" on Pike's Peak... ~2900 steps up in 2000 vertical from about 7000-9000' to challenge you after your initial acclimation. I think these days you have to reserve a time. But that might ease here soon. There is a bail-out point about 2/3rds of the way up, call it 1400 vertical feet. Most incline hikers/runners take the Barr Trail back down.

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned it yet, but a lot of folks swear by simply staying a bit more hydrated than usual; it is damn dry out here and you sweat a lot without noticing (because it evaporates instantly and you feel dry).

    Ginko Biloba used to be en-vogue for helping acclimation, but not 100% it works. I am 100% sure Diamox works, but it is generally prescribed in a dose way larger than necessary (250mg 2 times a day) and at that dose, it creates all sorts of side effects (it's a Glaucoma drug). Studies have been done that show a much smaller dose, like 1/4 of the 250 has significant benefits of staving off AMS (headaches, nausea). Talk to your doc about potential Diamox. Some folks cannot tolerate it though. And chances are your doc will prescribe that 250mg. Maybe you can talk him/her into 125mg tablets; that what I use when I 'get high" and I break them in half. (my "getting high" involves going above 20K, not in CO of course).

    Here is one article on low dose Diamox:

    https://explore7summits.com/the-myth...the-headaches/

    Google "pete hacket diamox" and browse away.

    Holler with questions; I've had dozens of flatlander friends and family come out here for a visit and hiking over the decades; most have had zero problems, but I've had a few toss a few cookies as well!

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    01-23-2016
    Location
    Virginia
    Age
    28
    Posts
    200

    Default

    I moved from the East coast to Flagstaff, AZ (around 7,000ft in elevation) to join a trail crew last year and proceeded to work and camp at 8,000-10,000 feet for most of the next several months on projects in AZ, WY, and NM. I once got elevation sickness in Switzerland at only around 5,000 feet (horrible lay-in-bed-with-the-light-off migraine for about 6 hours until the ibuprofen finally started to help) but have experienced no symptoms during all my time working out west, except for noticing myself get out of breath a little faster than I would at sea level.

    Only sharing my experience to say that elevation sickness is super weird, and just because you've had it once doesn't necessarily mean you'll have it next time. Definitely follow all the tips others have offered (hydrate, time to acclimate, hike high camp low, etc), but also don't go into it with an attitude of dread-- you might be totally fine!!
    A.T. 2018 Thru-hiker
    Follow along at www.tefltrekker.com

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    11-01-2014
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Age
    59
    Posts
    2,474

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by KnightErrant View Post
    . . . elevation sickness is super weird, and just because you've had it once doesn't necessarily mean you'll have it next time. . .
    I strongly second this. I had symptoms of elevation sickness skiing and camping at 6000 ft in Lassen Nat. Park last winter. I've never experienced any altitude sickness bellow 10,000 ft in all my previous 50+ years of playing the the mountains.

    Colorado_Rob's comments above make one of the best and most concise insights I've read on managing altitude in non-extreme circumstances. Thanks Rob.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  9. #9

    Default

    thanks for all the great responses. As for mentioning Denver, @Colorado_Rob, I mention it as everyone knows it as "the mile high city" so it was really a reference. Yes, Ft Carson is higher. It's actually only 12' lower in elevation that Mt Washington, the highest point in NH, and a good 1000'+ higher than Mt Katahdin. Neither of which are you allowed to sleep at the summit. I have hiked both of those, but again, sleep much lower.

    I think we will try to find a few different places to stay at different elevations as we adjust higher and hopefully "time" it so that by the time we can see our son we are past the headaches and nausea. Hopefully we won't even have an issue but my husband can't afford to be out of commission for a week while working. I feel we would both be fine at 3000'. Anyone have a suggestion for a town/area at 3000' and then 1 at 4000' not too far from Denver? Then we could spend a week at Denver's elevation and then proceed to Ft Carson.
    https://tinyurl.com/MyFDresults

    A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-28-2007
    Location
    Georgia and Hawaii
    Posts
    18,092

    Default

    Strongly strongly doubt the headache and nausea at GNP was a result of altitude of 5kft. I'd be looking at other causes. - mild dehydration, uncommon higher exertion, glucose/insulin roller coasting from food choices and/or med issue(s), impaired breathing, other health concerns, etc

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    11-01-2014
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Age
    59
    Posts
    2,474

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by PennyPincher View Post
    . . . It's actually only 12' lower in elevation that Mt Washington, the highest point in NH, and a good 1000'+ higher than Mt Katahdin. Neither of which are you allowed to sleep at the summit. . .
    Actually, as long as there is good snow cover on the ground you can sleep above tree line on Washington. The sleeping ban is only when the ground isn't protected by snow, in the "off season". So, you just need to plan your CO trip for winter and spend the week before you leave above tree line on Washington. ;-)
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  12. #12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by PennyPincher View Post
    thanks for all the great responses. As for mentioning Denver, @Colorado_Rob, I mention it as everyone knows it as "the mile high city" so it was really a reference. Yes, Ft Carson is higher. It's actually only 12' lower in elevation that Mt Washington, the highest point in NH, and a good 1000'+ higher than Mt Katahdin. Neither of which are you allowed to sleep at the summit. I have hiked both of those, but again, sleep much lower.

    I think we will try to find a few different places to stay at different elevations as we adjust higher and hopefully "time" it so that by the time we can see our son we are past the headaches and nausea. Hopefully we won't even have an issue but my husband can't afford to be out of commission for a week while working. I feel we would both be fine at 3000'. Anyone have a suggestion for a town/area at 3000' and then 1 at 4000' not too far from Denver? Then we could spend a week at Denver's elevation and then proceed to Ft Carson.
    There are many factors accounting for individual differences responding to lower partial pressures of "higher" altitude and the concomitant hypoxia effects. Flying into a higher elevation city brings the challenge of the flight itself, most planes are pressurized to 8000 - 8500 feet. You are getting off the plane in not the best shape unless you are in up top in Lufthansa's A380 with humidified air and extra pressure.

    For instance, those with borderline anemia or those on a ketogenic diet (so-called fat adapted) or some medicines. The reason the "experts" recommend eating a high percentage of carbohydrates at elevation is to keep the CO2 levels in the blood up (carbonic acid and H ions) as these drive the chemoreceptors. Periodic breathing issues (apnea-hypopnea) will occur at some elevation for everyone but the experts really do not understand the reason for differences from person to person. The paCO2 threshold varies from person to person. The partial pressure percentage difference (paCO2) between 6,000 and 8,500 feet is not that great. I know that I can fly into Denver and sleep under 6,000 feet and be fine but if I go to say Estes Park directly, I am in for headache, insomnia and nausea for a couple days. Nothing serious but avoidable by taking it easy for a day or two, eating well, no exercise, and maintaining hydration. Obviously, do not drink alcohol. Females are more susceptible than males.

    To get down to 3-4,000 feet in Colorado, you are looking at the Kansas or Nebraska border. I am pretty susceptible and I can handle Denver if I take it easy. Then, I can handle elevation up to 14,000 if I progressively dial it up

  13. #13
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
    Join Date
    08-20-2012
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Age
    65
    Posts
    4,528
    Images
    3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by PennyPincher View Post
    I think we will try to find a few different places to stay at different elevations as we adjust higher and hopefully "time" it so that by the time we can see our son we are past the headaches and nausea. Hopefully we won't even have an issue but my husband can't afford to be out of commission for a week while working. I feel we would both be fine at 3000'. Anyone have a suggestion for a town/area at 3000' and then 1 at 4000' not too far from Denver? Then we could spend a week at Denver's elevation and then proceed to Ft Carson.
    As mentioned by Big Dog, you're out of luck pretty much finding 3000' altitudes in CO (low point is 3300 on Kansas border in the SE). Your avatar box says you're from DFW, I assume that's Dallas, meaning if you're driving, you'd be coming into CO from the SE corner, so.... I recommend the La Junta area for a night, which is right at 4000 feet. If you can camp, check out the John Martin reservoir area, and a hike I've been wanting to do is in the Picketwire Canyon, which is due south of La Junta (La Junta is pronounced "La Hunta"). Next up maybe spend a night in Pueblo, which is close but I think below 5000'. There is camping at Pueblo reservoir.

    Just some thoughts.

    Fun fact: for some unknown reason, "Pueblo" is typically pronounced "pee-EB-low" but folks in those parts. I can't make my voice do that though.

    Airplane pressurization: I know everyone, including Wiki, says they pressurize to 8000' or so, but every time I fly, I check the altitude on my watch barometric altimeter and it reads around 6000. I suppose each airline has a different schedule for this, and I mostly fly Southwest Air. In any case, flying would therefore help the acclimation, spending 2-3-4 whatever hours at 6-8K then spending the night lower (like in Denver/CO springs) would be beneficial to start the process.

  14. #14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    As mentioned by Big Dog, you're out of luck pretty much finding 3000' altitudes in CO (low point is 3300 on Kansas border in the SE). Your avatar box says you're from DFW, I assume that's Dallas, meaning if you're driving, you'd be coming into CO from the SE corner, so.... I recommend the La Junta area for a night, which is right at 4000 feet. If you can camp, check out the John Martin reservoir area, and a hike I've been wanting to do is in the Picketwire Canyon, which is due south of La Junta (La Junta is pronounced "La Hunta"). Next up maybe spend a night in Pueblo, which is close but I think below 5000'. There is camping at Pueblo reservoir.

    Just some thoughts.

    Fun fact: for some unknown reason, "Pueblo" is typically pronounced "pee-EB-low" but folks in those parts. I can't make my voice do that though.

    Airplane pressurization: I know everyone, including Wiki, says they pressurize to 8000' or so, but every time I fly, I check the altitude on my watch barometric altimeter and it reads around 6000. I suppose each airline has a different schedule for this, and I mostly fly Southwest Air. In any case, flying would therefore help the acclimation, spending 2-3-4 whatever hours at 6-8K then spending the night lower (like in Denver/CO springs) would be beneficial to start the process.
    It is interesting. The pilot does not control the pressure or recirculation rate as I now understand from Wiki. The 747 had one of the best pressurization levels measured at about 5000 whereas others like 757 were more like 6500-7000. Apparently, 8000 is a regulatory limit. I had the chance to fly the Concorde once but chickened out. 60,000 feet at Mach 2 with those tiny windows. No thnaks.

  15. #15
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
    Join Date
    02-25-2016
    Location
    St. Petersburg, FL
    Age
    71
    Posts
    713

    Default

    I hiked the Colorado Trail last summer. I spent 1 1/2 days in Denver before hiking SOBO. I never had any noteworthy problems such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, etc. However, I did have one significant symptom that persisted over the six weeks I was there. I had trouble breathing when I got to 10,000 feet and above. One night I was convinced I had Covid19 because I simply could not catch my breath while lying down in my tent.

    Others on the trail reported symptoms more severe than mine and still others reported no symptoms. What I took away from the experience is that different people react differently. By the way, I have lived in Florida for 48 years and before that Chicago, so I am a stranger to high elevations except when hiking.
    Trail Name - Slapshot
    "One step at a time."
    Blog - www.tonysadventure.com

  16. #16

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nsherry61 View Post
    Actually, as long as there is good snow cover on the ground you can sleep above tree line on Washington. The sleeping ban is only when the ground isn't protected by snow, in the "off season". So, you just need to plan your CO trip for winter and spend the week before you leave above tree line on Washington. ;-)
    LOL No thank you! I don't like winter conditions which is why I no longer live in NH or anywhere else "north."
    https://tinyurl.com/MyFDresults

    A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White

  17. #17

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Strongly strongly doubt the headache and nausea at GNP was a result of altitude of 5kft. I'd be looking at other causes. - mild dehydration, uncommon higher exertion, glucose/insulin roller coasting from food choices and/or med issue(s), impaired breathing, other health concerns, etc
    Well, my food choices are already very regulated to control blood sugar levels by choice. I was drinking all day when driving there and stopping frequently enough to urinate that I highly doubt it was dehydration. And I experienced these headaches on the first night there when I had not exerted myself. I don't take any medications and have no medical issues. So......
    https://tinyurl.com/MyFDresults

    A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White

  18. #18

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Old_Dog View Post
    There are many factors accounting for individual differences responding to lower partial pressures of "higher" altitude and the concomitant hypoxia effects. Flying into a higher elevation city brings the challenge of the flight itself, most planes are pressurized to 8000 - 8500 feet. You are getting off the plane in not the best shape unless you are in up top in Lufthansa's A380 with humidified air and extra pressure.

    For instance, those with borderline anemia or those on a ketogenic diet (so-called fat adapted) or some medicines. The reason the "experts" recommend eating a high percentage of carbohydrates at elevation is to keep the CO2 levels in the blood up (carbonic acid and H ions) as these drive the chemoreceptors. Periodic breathing issues (apnea-hypopnea) will occur at some elevation for everyone but the experts really do not understand the reason for differences from person to person. The paCO2 threshold varies from person to person. The partial pressure percentage difference (paCO2) between 6,000 and 8,500 feet is not that great. I know that I can fly into Denver and sleep under 6,000 feet and be fine but if I go to say Estes Park directly, I am in for headache, insomnia and nausea for a couple days. Nothing serious but avoidable by taking it easy for a day or two, eating well, no exercise, and maintaining hydration. Obviously, do not drink alcohol. Females are more susceptible than males.

    To get down to 3-4,000 feet in Colorado, you are looking at the Kansas or Nebraska border. I am pretty susceptible and I can handle Denver if I take it easy. Then, I can handle elevation up to 14,000 if I progressively dial it up
    Since we will be driving and have our choice or routes we will likely be able to spend a week along the border then! That's great. I will definitely factor this in on our road trip. I didn't really think about it this way before but I think it will really help. It's not like we will be going from sea level to 5000' in a day!
    https://tinyurl.com/MyFDresults

    A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White

  19. #19

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    As mentioned by Big Dog, you're out of luck pretty much finding 3000' altitudes in CO (low point is 3300 on Kansas border in the SE). Your avatar box says you're from DFW, I assume that's Dallas, meaning if you're driving, you'd be coming into CO from the SE corner, so.... I recommend the La Junta area for a night, which is right at 4000 feet. If you can camp, check out the John Martin reservoir area, and a hike I've been wanting to do is in the Picketwire Canyon, which is due south of La Junta (La Junta is pronounced "La Hunta"). Next up maybe spend a night in Pueblo, which is close but I think below 5000'. There is camping at Pueblo reservoir.

    Just some thoughts.

    Fun fact: for some unknown reason, "Pueblo" is typically pronounced "pee-EB-low" but folks in those parts. I can't make my voice do that though.

    Airplane pressurization: I know everyone, including Wiki, says they pressurize to 8000' or so, but every time I fly, I check the altitude on my watch barometric altimeter and it reads around 6000. I suppose each airline has a different schedule for this, and I mostly fly Southwest Air. In any case, flying would therefore help the acclimation, spending 2-3-4 whatever hours at 6-8K then spending the night lower (like in Denver/CO springs) would be beneficial to start the process.
    In June we are going mobile and right now our first route will be east and then North to visit family and friends. Then cutting back to CO to visit our son before heading back south for the winter - possibly AZ or NM. End of June our home will officially be "where we park it." Our route may be more through Nebraska into CO but no idea yet.

    When flying I almost immediately feel the pressure difference in my ears on take off. I have even experienced this driving from TX to NH as the road gains elevation on that route which is hardly any elevation at all. I think, IIRC, VA is one of the worst states for me when driving.
    https://tinyurl.com/MyFDresults

    A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White

  20. #20
    Registered User
    Join Date
    11-01-2014
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Age
    59
    Posts
    2,474

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by PennyPincher View Post
    LOL No thank you! I don't like winter conditions which is why I no longer live in NH or anywhere else "north."
    And I just moved from MA to AK at the end of last summer and I'm loving it! It's been above freezing two or three times since Christmas.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
++ New Posts ++

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •