1. Kathy J
    Kathy J December 14, 2012 at 8:01 am

    A couple of things to add if you don’t mind:

    1. Climb high, sleep low is not a cure-all, and it’s important to understand how this works. For instance, if you live at sea level, and were dropped off by helicopter to a 10k peak every day for 3 days, yet slept at sea level, you would not be acclimated to 10k. You really only truly acclimate to a level you sleep at. The most effective way to climb high and sleep low, is to sleep no higher than 1k above where you slept the previous night, yet climb higher during the day to give your lungs a workout. Mild to moderate exercise during the day is more effective than complete rest, because the very symptoms of breathlessness that you experience at higher altitude is what helps you acclimate. During the day, you can ascend more than 1k as long as you sleep no higher 1k above the previous night.

    2. For every 3k in altitude gained, (at the point of where you are sleeping) you should have a rest day. Once again, a rest day is not total rest, but a day consisting of mild exertion.

    3. Exertion level, in my personal experience, is of huge importance, and there are studies that bear this out. Hiking at high altitude going super fast, (where I was constantly out of breath) resulted in bad AMS, but doing the same trail and greatly slowing down my pace resulted in no symptoms at all. You often see this on Whitney. Marathon runners, used to pushing their bodies reaching trail camp in only 2 1/2 hours have trouble, while people who are greatly out of shape and take 6 hours to reach trail camp have no problem at all. My rule of thumb is to hike at a pace slow enough to enable me to hike for 3 hours without stopping to rest (a much more leisurely pace). This ensures you are not over taxing your body.

    Following the three items above, I went from a person who experienced several episodes of pretty bad AMS above 10k (and thinking I would never get above 10k) to someone who can easily make the top of Whitney with no symptoms at all.

    1. Ray
      Ray December 15, 2012 at 8:58 am

      All great points. Thanks, Kathy!

  2. Jessy
    Jessy December 17, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Great article! And I wanted to chime in with an alternative to the prescription drug: Diamox that you mention. Acli-Mate Mountain Sport Drinks have a great track record helping people avoid altitude sickness. We receive testimonials from a majority of our customers who have previously experienced altitude sickness and then found Acli-Mate which has alleviated symptoms for them. Acli-Mate comes in a powder you mix with water and has all natural ingredients. Great for kids and adults – any mountain visitor or athlete. We have testimonials and more information on our website; http://www.acli-mate.com Happy hiking!

    1. Ray
      Ray December 18, 2012 at 7:41 am

      Sounds interesting. I may give it a try on my next JMT hike. Thanks!

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  4. Diane
    Diane September 30, 2015 at 5:19 am

    I would like to add that there is a product from Royal Body Care called Microhydrin which has been proven effective in oxygenating the blood. It is a powerful anti-oxidant that we have used for years. Personally I wouldn’t hike without it.

    Aloha, Diane

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