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  1. #41
    Senior Member
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    Mar 2011
    Eagle River, WI
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    [QUOTE=OutandBack;500034]Geez he's not climbing Everest.

    A person does not have to be climbing Everest to get altitude sickness. The hunter we rescued was flown out by helicopter. The flight nurse who was onboard told us that many Colorado residents who live in Denver get altitude sickness when they go to Aspen or Vail to ski on a weekend.

    Here is part of the Wikipedia article on it:

    Altitude sickness—also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), altitude illness, hypobaropathy, or soroche—is a pathological effect of high altitude on humans, caused by acute exposure to low partial pressure of oxygen at high altitude. It commonly occurs above 2,400 metres (8,000 feet). [1] [2] It presents as a collection of nonspecific symptoms, acquired at high altitude or in low air pressure, resembling a case of "flu, carbon monoxide poisoning, or a hangover".[3] It is hard to determine who will be affected by altitude sickness, as there are no specific factors that compare with this susceptibility to altitude sickness. However, most people can climb up to 2,400 meters (8,000 ft) normally.

    Acute mountain sickness can progress to high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) or high altitude cerebral edema (HACE), which are potentially fatal.[2][4]

    People have different susceptibilities to altitude sickness; for some otherwise healthy people, acute mountain sickness (AMS) can begin to appear at around 2000 meters (6,500 ft) above sea level, such as at many mountain ski resorts, equivalent to a pressure of 80 kPa.[11] AMS is the most frequent type of altitude sickness encountered. Symptoms often manifest themselves six to ten hours after ascent and generally subside in one to two days, but they occasionally develop into the more serious conditions. Symptoms include headache, fatigue, stomach illness, dizziness, and sleep disturbance.[4] Exertion aggravates the symptoms.

    The Lake Louise assessment system of AMS is based on a self-report questionnaire as well as a quick clinical assessment.[12]

    Those individuals with the lowest initial partial pressure of end-tidal Pco¬2 (the lowest concentration of CO2 at the end of the respiratory cycle) as a measure of a higher alveolar ventilation, as well as individuals with a corresponding high oxygen saturation levels tend to have a lower incidence of Acute Mountain Sickness than those with high end-tidal Pco¬2 and low oxygen saturation levels.[13]

    Headaches are the primary symptom used to diagnose altitude sickness, although a headache is also a symptom of dehydration. A headache occurring at an altitude above 2,400 metres (8,000 feet = 76 kPa), combined with any one or more of the following symptoms, may indicate altitude sickness:

    Lack of appetite, nausea, or vomiting
    Fatigue or weakness
    Dizziness or lightheadedness
    Pins and needles
    Shortness of breath upon exertion
    Persistent rapid pulse
    General malaise
    Peripheral edema (swelling of hands, feet, and face).
    [edit] Severe symptomsSymptoms that may indicate life-threatening altitude sickness include:

    Pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs):
    Symptoms similar to bronchitis
    Persistent dry cough
    Shortness of breath even when resting
    Cerebral edema (swelling of the brain):
    Headache that does not respond to analgesics
    Unsteady gait
    Gradual loss of consciousness
    Increased nausea
    Retinal haemorrhage
    The most serious symptoms of altitude sickness arise from edema (fluid accumulation in the tissues of the body). At very high altitude, humans can get either high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE), or high altitude cerebral edema (HACE). The physiological cause of altitude-induced edema is not conclusively established. It is currently believed, however, that HACE is caused by local vasodilation of cerebral blood vessels in response to hypoxia, resulting in greater blood flow and, consequently, greater capillary pressures. On the other hand, HAPE may be due to general vasoconstriction in the pulmonary circulation (normally a response to regional ventilation-perfusion mismatches) which, with constant or increased cardiac output, also leads to increases in capillary pressures. For those suffering HACE, dexamethasone may provide temporary relief from symptoms in order to keep descending under their own power.

    HAPE can progress rapidly and is often fatal. Symptoms include fatigue, severe dyspnea at rest, and cough that is initially dry but may progress to produce pink, frothy sputum. Descent to lower altitudes alleviates the symptoms of HAPE.

    HACE is a life threatening condition that can lead to coma or death. Symptoms include headache, fatigue, visual impairment, bladder dysfunction, bowel dysfunction, loss of coordination, paralysis on one side of the body, and confusion. Descent to lower altitudes may save those afflicted with HACE.

    I saw a man almost die from severe altitude sickness. The surest way to become a statistic is to think it can't happen to you, which is what he did. When we found him he had been coughing up blood for two days and could not walk more than 10 feet without stopping to catch his breath and wheezing. He had just written his wife and infant daughter a good-bye letter. After he got flown out, his gear sat by the side of the trail as a reminder to us of what had happened earlier that week. The stories that people told us later in Lake City were all about people who had died because they either didn't know what altitude sickenss was, or didn't take the symptoms seriously until it was too late.

    I'd rather be safe than sorry. More people die in the wilderness because they are under prepared, not over prepared. More people die because they aren't cautious, not too cautious. At the bottom of Engineer Pass outside Lake City is the decaying wreck of an International Scout that rolled down the hill because the driver thought it couldn't happen to him.

  2. #42
    Senior Member jerzybears's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
    Gig Harbor Washington
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    Hrmm..bear bag? Absolutely. Losing your food when you are out sucks!
    Problems with people? Statistically no.
    Bad idea? Depends on you. Hubris gets people hurt. Make a packing list and check it off cause no one will have what you forgot (I forgot a spork and made chopsticks!) Bring a book (looking at kindle right now.) Have good map reading skills so you dont wind up like that knucklehead in Maine who had to be rescued out last year, and leave an itenerary that will be stuck to. Finally, dont forget to post pictures of your trip.
    Peggy & Russ --The Jerzybears -

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  3. #43
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    May 2007
    Denver, CO
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    Altitude sickness is real, but it is extremely easy to prevent. WATER. Hydrate the crud out of yourself before you come out and keep pounding down the water once you arrive. A night or two of transition at Denver's altitude will help a tremendous amount too. If you do start to get sick, stop what you are doing, drink water and rest. Very, very simple. Don't know why, but Tums brand antacid tablets seem to basically cure altitude sickness. Good thing to carry in a pack.

    Otherwise, I agree with the other Colorado posters.
    1. Yes, please stow your food in an appropriate manner
    2. Just the squirrels and chipmunks. They are thieving little ards
    3. I spend a lot more time out there alone than I do with others. I'm confident in my skills and my gear. If you're comfortable in the wilds alone elsewhere, Colorado is no different...just a bunch higher.

    If you really don't want to hike alone, I bet a Colorado hanger or two could be talked into a hike.
    Trust nobody!

  4. #44
    New Member smurph's Avatar
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    Jul 2011
    Edmonton, Alberta
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    Quote Originally Posted by shumway View Post
    I have plans to take a Spot signaling device if I hike alone in the future. Increase the odds of getting help if something unplanned happens.
    +1 on the Spot Personal Tracker. We use them when we ride (dual purpose bikes). Loading unique messages into them is great. Though if you have it set to share your location with those on Facebook and you hit the personal message that sends a 'I love you honey and wish you could join me' message, know you'll be ridiculed by all your friends for at least a month. DAMHIK.

    You can also join the Spot Adventures where you can store your tracks for 30 days and export them to google earth to show your route. Great for Ride Reports/ Trip reports. Just make sure to keep it on you and not on your bike or other as you need to have it within reach should you need to send for help. And it needs a pretty clear view of the sky to transmit.

    I do enjoy solo trips. A bit nervous at first but you dictate what you're going to see and do. No one bugging you about your pace.

    Happy trails

    "The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page." - St. Augustine

  5. #45
    Member redhawktx's Avatar
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    Aug 2010
    Corsicana, Tx
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    Just got back from A few days in the Colorado mountains. Take the altitude sickness warnings seriously. I get it every time I go above 5,000 feet. This time my camping partner and I camped at 8,400; 10,500; and 11,500 feet. Mostly, I just sat and stared. No energy. Hanging the tarp required a good rest afterwards. Then same thing with the hammock. If you are by yourself and altitude sickness hits you hard you will not be able to take care of yourself. I managed to feed myself and tend my own equipment and that's about all.

    BTW - I can't wait to go back Next time I will plan a longer trip that allows me a few days to adjust at increasing altitudes. Nothing like waking up in a hammock with a bull elk looking at you wondering what you're doing in his territory.

  6. #46
    Senior Member Hawk-eye's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
    Oak Ridge & Linville Gorge, North Carolina
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cannibal View Post
    Altitude sickness is real, but it is extremely easy to prevent. WATER. Hydrate the crud out of yourself before you come out and keep pounding down the water once you arrive. A night or two of transition at Denver's altitude will help a tremendous amount too. If you do start to get sick, stop what you are doing, drink water and rest. Very, very simple. Don't know why, but Tums brand antacid tablets seem to basically cure altitude sickness. Good thing to carry in a pack..
    I use to work in La Paz, Bolivia on a regular basis ... 13,300 feet right off the plane in El Alto. Cannibal knows of what he speaks ... hydrate, hydrate and re-hydrate. Makes a huge difference. Wish I'd have known about theantacid tablets ... but taking asprin really helped me ... that and making sure you didn't have large meals right off the bat. Seems that your body will tend to pick digesting the food over processing the limited oxygen!

    Altitude headaches seriously suck.

    WARNING: Will discuss Rhurbarb Strawberry Pie and Livermush at random.

    "A democracy is two wolves and a small lamb voting on what to have for dinner.
    Freedom under a constitutional republic is a well armed lamb contesting the vote." ... B.Franklin

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  7. #47
    Senior Member Dudorino's Avatar
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    Apr 2010
    Elkhorn, NE
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    I talked to my doctor and she prescribed Actazolamide. I'm supposed to start taking it the day before ascent and then for 4 days. It's supposed to counteract the affects of high altitude.

    Who has tried this and how was it?
    My YouTube channel: Tool Dude Tony
    "No matter where you go, there you are." Buckaroo Bonzai

  8. #48
    Senior Member Rolloff's Avatar
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    Dec 2010
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    Lots of good info here. Don't fear. Respect, then educate yourself and prepare.
    Signature suspended

  9. #49
    New Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Hennessey Ultralight asymmetric
    Ridge rest

    Goin' prob.

    I just did a week solo in the area around Telluride Colorado....saw LOTS of bears.

    My philosophy towards traveling in wilderness areas is that once you leave the trail head, you are now part of the food act accordingly.

    bear bag: I use an Ursack and hang or tie it to a solid tree no less than 200' away from camp. In it goes ALL food, anything that touches food, and anything that a bear might take as food. The Ursack is pretty amazing. I woke one morning to see a bear trying to tear into eventually gave up and move on...after I tossed a few rocks in it's direction. The bag is made of either Kevlar or spectra fiber.

    I pretty much ran into someone every day...but camped alone. Next time I go out I'm planing to use a SPOT or similar locator beacon since my wife was VERY concerned that I was out of cell service.

    I keep a journal and write about my thoughts, my mood, the weather, Etc. I also the time and gps coordinate of each entry.

    I enjoy the quiet and chance to contemplate life in a beautiful setting.


  10. #50
    Senior Member Catavarie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cannibal View Post
    Don't know why, but Tums brand antacid tablets seem to basically cure altitude sickness.
    This would be due to the calcium bicarbonate int he Tums. It is a base and when suffering Altitude sickness your body is actually suffering from lactic acid build up because your unable to blow off enough carbon dioxide. So your body's ph level is too acidic. By taking the tums you're rebalancing the acid/base level of your body.

    Sorry, medical background took over there for a minute.
    *Heaven best have trees, because I plan to lounge for eternity.

    Good judgement is the result of experience and experience the result of bad judgement. - Mark Twain

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