Mike Matty's Mt. Everest Journal

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Acclimation for high altitude

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Wednesday–March 30

Okay. We’re gearing up for a hike, one that will help our bodies acclimate to the thinner air that comes with high-altitude mountaineering.  In a nutshell,  acclimatization is the body’s way of adjusting to the decreased amount of oxygen.  The process can take days.

Age, overall physical condition, mental preparedness and other factors contribute (or hinder) one’s ability to adjust. I’m told if you’re born and live at a high altitude that this helps. There’s a good reason why these Sherpas do so well in this environment: their bodies have been here since day one!

A few things I’ve learned in doing these adventures is that you must stay hydrated and avoid overexertion.  You need to take your time and to be well aware of high-altitude symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness, fatigue, decreased appetite, nausea among others.  Some climbers can experience a few, others more.  Like many activities, mountaineering has a bunch of sayings and truisms.  One that comes to mind right now is climb high, sleep low.  If for example you happen to reach, say, 7,500 feet, then climb down to sleep at 7,000 feet or lower.

If you need more detailed information, click here and read up on the range of high-altitude concerns and ailments that can make or break these excursions. More to come….

Written by mmsummits7

March 31, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Posted in Mountaineering

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