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post #1 of (permalink) Old 03-07-2004, 09:14 AM Thread Starter
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Elevation Sickness semi o/t

I finally made it out to my sisters in Colorado Springs, I thought I was going to have a blast, but.. I ended up with severe elevation sickness about 10 minutes after stepping off the plane, this lasted for four days. I've spoken to my doctor and he said to stay hydrated. I did not drink any alcohol, and drank tons of water before and during the trip. I was hoping to bring my Jeep out to Ouray, and possibly the Rubicon in the not to distant future. Has anyone living in the Mountains either have had this or friends/relatives that where visting? Does anyone know of any medications or tips? I'm now leary of planning any Jeep trips that are going to bring me to high elevations. Thanks Rick
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 03-07-2004, 09:33 AM
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Re: Elevation Sickness semi o/t

When I lived in Co my sis and her roommate visited. My sis had a bad time with altitude sickness but her roommate didn't. We always told everyone to drink alot of water and eat an aspirin or two a day for about a month or 6 weeks before coming out. I think it's still hit or miss but most people don't have problems that do it. Be careful if you do get sick, especially in higher elevations, but you should be ok. There are some pretty bad horror stories I know.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 03-07-2004, 11:43 AM
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Re: Elevation Sickness semi o/t

Sorry to hear about your problems with altitude. I live in Colorado Springs and as you know at about 6500' it is pretty thin up here. I have a few friends that visit from time to time and there does not seem to be anything you can do to adapt quickly to altitude. As you mentioned you can drink plenty of water, minimize physical activity, and avoid alcohol, but that will serve only to minimize the effects. That is to say if you live at 100' and get off a plane at 6500' you may have a problem, not everyone does. Here in the mountains the idea is to gradually gain elevation over period of days gaining evelation slowly. This is difficult to do. It can take a week to feel 'ok' after arriving. I have not heard of any medication to prevent altitude sickness only medication to reduce the effects in serious cases.

Keep in mind that going to Ouray from Colorado Springs you may cross mountain passes that are over 11,000' high!. If you do intend to make this trip my recommendation would be to stay in Colorado Springs for a week before venturing higher.

In the end it is really a matter of personal physiology that determines who will get sick or not. I have seen people fly in from Florida and stand on Pikes Peak (14,110') the next day without any problems. I have also seen native Colorado Springs residents pass out on the Peak.

Good luck and take it slow. In the end the only way to cure altitude sickness is to go DOWN!
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 03-07-2004, 07:45 PM
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Re: Elevation Sickness semi o/t

As a trained EMT and Outdoor Emergency Care instructor with National Ski Patrol what you are experiencing is High Altitude Sickness. This as you have stated can occur at 6500 Ft. Treatment is apply oxygen and get your a.... to lower altitude, 1000 ft at a time until you feel better.
Now, how to prepare for future ascents. Get in shape!!!! Start walking. You don't need to jog. Your goal is 5 miles at 10 minutes per mile 3 - 5 times a week. Just good cardiovascular execsize. Or if time is no object go to 4000 ft for 1 week and increase altitude by 1000 ft each week. You will need to do some cardio exersize during this week to prepare yourself for the next increase anyway so, you may as well do it at home.
I'm going on 54. I recently went from my home, at sea level where I lived all my life, to Colorado for work. I took a weekend ski trip at +10,000 feet with no problem other than getting short winded when I climbed an additional 500 feet for some untracked powder. I am physically active, but don't consider myself to be in real good shape, just fair.
Good luck, start preparing now. It will be worth it

PS: High altitude sickness is not serious. However it's follow on HACE and HAPE, High Altitude Cerebral Edema and High Altitude Pulminary Edema can be. Heed the warning signs, get in shape, take it easy and if the headaches continue go to lower altitude. I've had friends die from HAPE.
post #5 of (permalink) Old 03-08-2004, 08:39 AM
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Re: Elevation Sickness semi o/t

Just came across an article on altitude sickness and adjustment on abcnews.com: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/SciTe..._040308-1.html

Don't know if it'll help, but it's interesting reading...
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 03-08-2004, 09:47 AM
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Re: Elevation Sickness semi o/t

Sorry to hear that. It has to be hit or miss.


I grew up in Maine on the coast (0-50' above sea level) and went to school in Colorado when I turned 18. No problems for me. I even climbed Longs Peak (14k) shortly after getting there. But I know others who went to school there who had some problems. It just takes some times to get aclamated to the thin air. My biggest problem was that I sunburned a lot easier because of the thinner layer of ozone! Found that one out the hard way!
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 03-08-2004, 12:34 PM
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Re: Elevation Sickness semi o/t

Sounds like you need to spend a little more time on Scray's Hill... [img]images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

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post #8 of (permalink) Old 03-08-2004, 12:52 PM
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Re: Elevation Sickness semi o/t

</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
Scray's Hill is one of the highest naturally occurring points in our area. In fact, it's elevation is right around 950 feet.

[/ QUOTE ]

That the one?
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 03-08-2004, 06:04 PM
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Re: Elevation Sickness semi o/t

Hey man, I've felt your pain. I'v visited Colorado and the western states numerous times (note, I'm from Florida, elevation 14 feet.) As stated by the EMT, physical fitness, specifically cardiovascular fitness is what helps ya the most. Other than that, it's take it easy.
I went snowboarding at Monarch on my third day in Colorado. You wanna talk pain? It felt like someone had taken an ice pick and shoved it into my brain, right between the eyes. By 1 pm, i was toast. An sudden movements bought pain like someone taking that ice pick and violently jerking it around. NOT FUN.
SO... preperation, acclimation, and moderation's what ya need.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 03-08-2004, 10:10 PM
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Re: Elevation Sickness semi o/t

Yep, it doesn't consist of much so that description sounds about right. It's the hill where all the Green Bay area kids USED to go "makeout." The top consists of a few corn fields and radio towers.

Where did you get that piece of info from?

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