View Full Version : Altitude sickness

03-19-2003, 05:16 PM
If I get lucky I'm be doing a hunt in Co. at elevations up to 12,000. Since I haven't hunted higher then around 10,000 I was wondering if anybody had some info on altitude sickness. What are the symptoms? At what elevation do you need to be concerned? How do you prevent it and I thought there was medication you could take - if anyone knows I'ld appreciate some help? Mike

03-19-2003, 05:21 PM
Decent link on HAPE (high altitude pulmonary edema) and at the bottom is a list of links to other altitude conditions

03-20-2003, 05:59 AM
Mike, I do quite a bit of hiking here in Montana around the 8,9, and 10,000 feet elevations. A couple of years ago my wife and I went to CO on vacation and climbed a 14,000 peak there...Mount Berstad(spelling??). My wife marched right up the mountain with no trouble, but it darn near killed me! I did make it to the top, but only because a group of ladies who had to be 60+ passed us on the ascent hike which made me ever so determined to make the trip(male machoism...or something like that). This high alititude sickness was terrible. Just imagine trying to go for a run with the worst hangover of your life! My head pounded, my stomache felt like I had the flu, ohh it was bad. Suffice it to say I haven't been over 11,000 feet since. If I was going to go to the 11, 12, 13, or god forbid the 14,000 foot elevation for a hunt I would definetly do some homework. Find out what kind of medications you can take, and how best to treat the symptoms. Maybe it won't affect you at all(like my wife), but I'd definetly be prepared! Good luck...Levi

03-20-2003, 03:58 PM
Sgathak & Levi
Thanks for the feedback. Levi, don't you hate it when you get passed up on a trail? It sure makes me mad when happens!

Sgathak, I didn't understand your directions - did you have a link or site in mind?
Thanks again for your time.

03-20-2003, 09:00 PM
sorry I guess the link didnt work... I had hoped to do a text link... let me retry

03-20-2003, 09:01 PM

simple URL, with no fancy code to screw it up

Dave R.
03-21-2003, 07:02 AM
Hi Guys...I have had some sucess at holding off altitude sickness, at least up to 14k. Here's what works for me. I have found that "prehydration" is the first, most important step. Start several days early and drink a lot of pure water. (I have a reverse osmosis water purifier that makes great tasting water.) I drink water all day long for 2 or 3 days. I drink as much as I can. Also, as sodium is very important for your diet, too much will effect you in a negative way. I limit my sodium intake to to 1,500 mg, 1000mg if I'm really strict. During the hunt, i stay hydrated by sipping on my platypus bladder tube all day long. I also spike my water with Shaklee "performance" hydration drink mix. This product was used to set the world record for human endurance and the world record for human powered flight. The US cycling team uses it exclusivly and so does Will Steger, world class explorer. I can tell you that its amazing, I've been using it for ten years.

The results of this regimen are that i never have headaches, nausea, dizziness, or mental confusion at altitudes to 14K. I have also noticed that you can be in excellent shape but you can still have bad problems if you don't hydrate.

Well...that's what I found works for me...

I have also heard that mild diuretics like aceatazolamide(Spelling??) prescribed by a doc can help if all else fails.

good luck


Dale Lindsley
03-21-2003, 08:18 AM
What I've been told is that the headache/nausea are the result of changes in the pH of some part of the brain and this takes about three days to adjust itself. The shortness of breath is the result of too few red blood cells for the available oxygen. This takes about two weeks to adjust itself. Getting up to high altitude a few days before the hunt is the best way to guarantee your hunt won't be spoiled by the flu-like symptoms. I've never had/seen these symptoms last more than 48 hours.

03-21-2003, 04:06 PM
Thanks again guys. Sgathak, I appreciate the link. In the end I don't know if he was saying Procardia was good or bad, even though it worked for him. Although, I still need to check out the other sites listed.

03-21-2003, 05:50 PM

I work regularly between about 12,000 and 17,000 feet in the Andes. THE wonder drug for altitude is Diamox. I think that is what Dave described (Acetazolamida in spanish, but no matter, the common name is Diamox in both english and spanish). You can find lots of info on it on the internet - lots of climbers and I gather the military uses it. For most folks, the only side effect is occasional tingling in the fingers and toes. Dave is also right on hydration - drink lots of water, eat light meals and take it easy for the first couple of days. Most heathly people can get used to staying at altitudes up to about 14,000 feet or so without drugs. Take plenty of aspirin along, as headaches are common (but those are usually eliminated by Diamox and lots of water). Obviously, if you can sleep at a lower elevation the first night, that will help. For the locals down here, the remedy of choice is coca tea (among other very wierd things), but you will have a tough time finding that in the US! Pick up some Diamox, if you are concerned. I have used it for the first few days and then quit it with success too, if I am not at that higher altitude range. And have fun!


03-22-2003, 09:51 PM
Altitude sickness is something that few people are immune to. Some go high many times w/no trouble, then the next time up it hits them. If you're coming from low elevation, try to spend the 1st nite or two at 9000 or less. Drink lots of water prior to and during your hunt. It is also important to eat constantly, lots of carbs and fats for a long energy burn. Diamox is used frequently, but can have bad side effects for some, better to start at very low doses and work up as you get to and thru your hunt. Also avoid caffiene and alcohol as these are both capillary constrictors and inhibit your circulation and oxygen exchange. We do quite a bit of mountaineering here in WA state, these things have at least helped me. You might also check out ******, lots of research going on at high altitude about benefit of vascular dialation and increased lung function and less time to acclimatize.

03-27-2003, 05:45 PM
Pleased to see some discussion on altitude problems. I have been acquireing this more with age. 7,000-8,000 feet can effect me when moved from my 2600 foot home. Splitting/hammering headache along with lethargic, lack of energy,attitude is the best way to describe my symptoms. I have tried many regiems and have established this procedure:
1. Hydrate starting 2 days prior. Stay hydrated all the time. If urine is yellow I,m not hydrated enough.
2. No alcohol starting 2 days prior and including the trip
3. Start taking asprin 1 day prior to the trip and continue untill the completion of the trip.
4. Take tums, calcium carbonate, all the time before and during the trip.

This is working for me now. I caution anyone on trying diamox- it can have severe side effects. Best to try it before the trip. Diamox makes my vision go foggy to the point I can not see, drive or walk and it takes 2+ days to get rid of this side effect. I got on to the calcium addition after studying some of the theoretical activity of calcium uptake with diamox. Diamox also can speed up the heart,dehydrate, and elevate blood pressure.

03-28-2003, 07:45 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Originally posted by Dave Roth:
[QB] Here's what works for me. I have found that "prehydration" is the first, most important step. Start several days early and drink a lot of pure water. I drink water all day long for 2 or 3 days. I drink as much as I can.</div></div>This not only works for high elv. but for long hikes. Usmchq did a study with marines proving this metoid. Those who started drinking water 2 days prior preformed better than those who started 1 day prior(logical Ha Ha).

03-30-2003, 12:03 PM
Thanks everyone. At first I didn't know if I was just trying to borrow trouble, or if this was something else I should be concerned with. Looks like with a little preparation, alertness to symptoms, a day or two getting acclimated and a guy ought to be able to go out and have fun. Actually, after the long drive from Wis. it is kinda nice to take it easy a day or two and recharge the batteries. Too much excitment to sleep on the way out.

Sgathak, again, thanks for the terrific link. And Stan, if you catch this, where are you and what are you doing there?

03-30-2003, 06:13 PM

Work thru-out most of the Andean countries in mineral exploration, based in Peru. Gold in the Andes likes to hang-out at those altitudes. I guess I've been lucky with Diamox and the serious side effects - it makes a big difference for me. Out of a half-a-dozen other people I know who use it, only one developed an uncomfortable level of the extremity tingling. By the way, there was a detailed explanation of Diamox use in one of the recent Safari Times issues (second to the last?), by a doctor/hunter in central Asia. Good luck on your hunt!


05-30-2003, 09:18 PM
Hi All, Just a quick FYI. I just saw another article in the current 'Outside' mag on ****** and high altitude studies. Seems to work very well in preventing pulmonary edema, not great at preventing cerebral edema. As w/all the other posts, lots of water, lots of carbs probably best bet.

06-02-2003, 03:40 PM
MikeM, I agree with the rest. I'd add that I've had more of a problem with the dry air. Saline nasal spray several times a day and sucking on Jolly Ranchers stopped the problem for me.
If you end up in a motel room during the trip filling the tub with hot water by running the shower helps a little bit also.

06-07-2003, 05:47 PM
I always use tums, don't know what's in 'em or why they work, but they do the trick for me in the high country.

06-07-2003, 05:49 PM
I always use tums, don't know what's in 'em or why they work, but they do the trick for me in the high country.

06-07-2003, 05:50 PM
I always use tums, don't know what's in 'em or why they work, but they do the trick for me in the high country.