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  1. #1
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    Default Acclimate to Elevation

    I am coming from sea level this Summer. Planning to spend a few days to acclimate. How many days is recommended? Iím thinking spending 4 nights: Denver, Bailey, Frisco, Denver and then hike.

    TIA


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  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Heliotrope View Post
    I am coming from sea level this Summer. Planning to spend a few days to acclimate. How many days is recommended? I’m thinking spending 4 nights: Denver, Bailey, Frisco, Denver and then hike.

    TIA


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Are you exercising/hiking on the acclimation days?

    *For me* it'd be a waste of time to spend it in Denver because I know from many experiences that I don't really start 'feeling it' — and therefore, presumably, deriving any benefit — until about 8,000 feet.

    However, this is very subjective and individual. Someone here recently reported symptoms of AMS (acute mountain sickness) at 5700'.

    Years ago when skiing at Aspen (8000') I hardly felt the altitude until I was up to about 11000' ... some friends were sick as dogs with splitting headaches. Gotta admit I really felt it on Mt Elbert at 14433', coming straight from sea level and camping 1 night a 9700' and then another night at 12600'. Fortunately it was just the 'umbles' with no headache or nausea or other such discomfort.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

  3. #3
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Ditto: Donít waste your time and money in Denver.
    Leadville is my acclimation location of choice. Specifically the Forest Service campground complex around Turquoise Lake. After 2-3 days there I am good to go in Colorado and Wyoming.
    Good luck and have fun.
    Wayne

  4. #4
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    Typically 3 days or so will allow you to adjust a little bit to higher elevations, basically by your body simply increasing heart and respiration rate and responding to physiological chemical changes/imbalances. But your aerobic performance will still be significantly reduced. True acclimatization takes many weeks, even months. I remember when I moved to Park City, UT from NJ many years ago it took several months to get over the shortness of breath stage when walking up hills. It takes time for the body to add more red blood cells and make other physiological changes. Just factor in the decrease in aerobic performance when planning hikes, especially above 7K feet, and keep a watch out for any symptoms of AMS (headache, dizziness, nausea, etc).
    "That's the thing about possum innards - they's just as good the second day." - Jed Clampett

  5. #5

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    As others have said, " more than wa few days". In live at about 1,500 feet and like to backpack in the Eastern Sierras. It gets up to to over 10,000 pretty quicky. My normal resting heart rate is 60 bpm. At 10,000 to 12,000 feet it will be about 90 bpm. My suggestion is that you learn to cope with is. Periodically check your heart rate and adjust your activity accordingly. I usally take a 5 minute break or so when it hits 140-150 bpm. Altitude is tireing, just take it slow and easy. My 2 cents.

  6. #6
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    One more thing:
    The rule of thumb for climbers on big mountains has been:
    ďCarry high, Sleep low.Ē
    When possible, plan your days accordingly.
    Wayne

  7. #7

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    On my 2011 thruhike, I didn't spend any full days to acclimate - just one night in Evergreen (elevation 7,800 ft) at my friend's house. First two days in Segments 1 and 2 I was OK except for a little stress the first day. The third day hit me like a ton of rocks. I was wiped out but still only at around 7,000 ft. Thought I'd have to zero but overnight, my body adjusted and I hiked 15 miles up to 10K on Day 4.

    Like others have said, everyone's body is different. And like others, I wouldn't spend time in Denver. I like the idea of staying in the Leadville hostel for 2-3 nights and spend the days hiking at 10, gauging how your body takes it going up to 11, 12, etc. If your comfortable in Leadville, you'll have no problems starting in Denver.

  8. #8

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    If I were to go back to CO, I'd go straight to Leadville and spend a week there doing easy day hikes before getting serious. There's a bus from Denver to Leadville, so getting there is no problem.

    When I did the northern 100 miles of the CT a while back, I never had altitude sickness as it takes a few days to get to significant elevation, but once at 11,000 feet going was very, very slow having to stop every few steps.

    It helps if you can get you pack weight very, very low.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  9. #9
    Registered User scope's Avatar
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    From the SE and been to the Rockies 3 times, each time for me it was ok 1-2 days to get over the initial body shock - screaming headache - of the elevation. 2x in Denver, another in Lyons for a day only, hiking the next day. I think its hard to say I acclimated after that, but the headache went away and I fully enjoyed my time hiking up to 13k and camping at 11k. I enjoyed Denver and think its a great way to spend your first day/night there, just keep in mind that you may end up wanting to stay at the hotel all night. That happened to me in Lyons where I had every intention of closing down Oskar Blues, but barely spent an hour there.
    "I wonder if anyone else has an ear so tuned and sharpened as I have, to detect the music, not of the spheres, but of earth, subtleties of major and minor chord that the wind strikes upon the tree branches. Have you ever heard the earth breathe... ?"
    - Kate Chopin

  10. #10
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    Agree on the above, especially everyone is different. For me, trying to exert too soon at a higher elevation leads to problems. I had altitude sickness in Colorado Springs a few years ago on a business trip, aggravated because I went for a run my first morning there. (I live at less than 1,000'). Finally just drank a bunch of fluids and slept a lot for a day and seemed to be back to functioning. Wasn't fun.

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