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Altitude sickness at moderate gains


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I read that past altitude sickness experiences have no baring on future ones. I am starting to think that may not be true.

 

The first time I ever experienced altitude sickness was about four years ago in Peru. Since then, I seem to get ill pretty easily. For example, yesterday I barfed halfway up Safe Sex. Not long ago, I barfed a couple pitches up SEWS. This never used to happen to me. Now it seems to all the time. I don't want to live on Diamox, but I am starting to think that I'll have to start taking it even for moderate gains in elevation.

 

Is anyone else relating to this? Anyone find this happening to them too?

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Mid way through (where I got sick) was about 1,500-2000 ft.

 

Heat does make me sick, but it was slightly cloudy and even had a little thundershower yesterday. I've had no alcohol for quite a while, so my system should be pretty clean (too much sugar maybe).

 

You guys ask good questions, thanks for getting me thinking about these factors!

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Try taking Diamox and then climb something where you expect you'd get sick. If you still do, then it's not altitude.

 

Thanks guy. I'll take some diamox and climb up Eagle Mountain and see if I get sick. I won't drink any water and I'll carry a big pack full of my spring-loaded camming devices to simulate my upcoming Godzilla climb.

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I don't think the medical literature says that past experience at altitude is no predictor of future performance; I think if you read up on it you will find that they say it is not a consistent predictor. Some individuals do better than others, and if somebody performs poorly at altitude consistently you can bet they are likely to continue to do so.

 

I don’t think anybody suffers altitude related problems at 2,000 feet, though.

 

And Diamox is not a sure preventative. It is supposed to improve body chemistry slightly, and it helps, but I don’t think the test Catbird suggests will answer your question.

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my ill-informed opinion is that it is blood sugar related coupled with the scrunching of your body that comes with wearing a harness and climbing less than vertical rock.

 

these are things that make me feel barfy. Especially in combination. I have only ever barfed under exertion when it involved movements that scrunch me - like rowing or situps - on an empty stomach. Same with climbing, if I eat nothing and have to hang at belays I get crippling stomach cramps. Now I often fill my pockets with plain raw almonds so I have a non-messy source of slow release calories.

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Try taking Diamox and then climb something where you expect you'd get sick. If you still do, then it's not altitude.

 

Thanks guy. I'll take some diamox and climb up Eagle Mountain and see if I get sick. I won't drink any water and I'll carry a big pack full of my spring-loaded camming devices to simulate my upcoming Godzilla climb.

is it hard to be a dick all the time? confused.gif

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my ill-informed opinion is that it is blood sugar related coupled with the scrunching of your body that comes with wearing a harness and climbing less than vertical rock.

 

these are things that make me feel barfy. Especially in combination. I have only ever barfed under exertion when it involved movements that scrunch me - like rowing or situps - on an empty stomach. Same with climbing, if I eat nothing and have to hang at belays I get crippling stomach cramps. Now I often fill my pockets with plain raw almonds so I have a non-messy source of slow release calories.

Good point!

I will bring almonds and give this a try, thanks!

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I'm not prone to altitude sickness but the two times I've been headachey and puked my dinner were the two times I've been heading up towards the climbers base camp at Mt. Whitney. Because of that, I'd lend my vote to willstricklands comments apropos heat and dehydration.

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If you were getting sick at altitudes of 1,500 to 2,000 feet it would extremely unlikely for this to be acute mountain sickness. It just isn't seen that low. I would look into other possible causes.

 

As for prior experience being a predictor for future performance at altitude, mattp is right on the mark. There are very few things you can use to predict whether or not someone will develop altitude illness. One of the few reliable things is how someone has done before. If someone got sick at 10K on a prior trip, the odds are good (but it is still not a guarantee) that they will get sick on another trip to 10K if they go up at the same ascent rate etc. There's now some interesting data about how it's possible to identify HAPE-susceptible people (with exercise in normal air or with breathing a hypoxic gas mixture their pulmonary artery pressures measured non-invasively with an echocardiogram rise much higher than in non-HAPE susceptible people. No such test is out there for AMS

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Re: Sugar

 

My partner consumed a pack of donuts and a 32-oz. soda and felt sick on the approach to Blueberry Hill Saturday. It makes me a little nauseous just thinking about it.

 

Maybe you're just pregnant.

 

Just be happy he didn't break out the cold big mac like he did on one of our trips together. It still makes me nauseous a year+ later.

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