Short trips at altitude, how to prepare?


Original Post
Seth Monteleone · · Charlotte, NC · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 23

I live in Charlotte NC where the city sits at 750' above sea level.  In October I will be going on a climbing trip to Los Alamos NM where the altitude is over 7000' for only a week.  Is there anything I can do to prepare myself for the altitude change now, so that I will not waste whole time trying to acclimatize?  

Parker Wrozek · · Denver, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 83

You realistically shouldn't have an issue. Drink more water and then drink some more after that when you are there. 

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,530
Seth Monteleone wrote:

I live in Charlotte NC where the city sits at 750' above sea level.  In October I will be going on a climbing trip to Los Alamos NM where the altitude is over 7000' for only a week.  Is there anything I can do to prepare myself for the altitude change now, so that I will not waste whole time trying to acclimatize?  

Unlikely that you'll feel anything other than a little tired the first full day at only 7000'. I usually don't sleep great my first night at 7-8k, but it's not crippling and I usually climb fine the next day.

Jake Laba · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 0

Unless you're predisposed you really shouldn't have any issue at that elevation. Stay well hydrated and take it easy the first day or two. Expect your endurance to suffer for the first couple of days. Keep your pace comfortable and try not to overexert yourself.

BRB · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 40

Probably a good idea to also pack some Diamox in the case you blow through all your O2 canisters

Derek DeBruin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 585

Sleep quality may suffer a bit the first night as well. But hydration and pacing will do the job the first couple days. If it's unbearable, ibuprofen is a fine addition. Consider avoiding alcohol the first couple days as well.

Seth Monteleone · · Charlotte, NC · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 23

haha thanks guys, I've never been that high up and I really thought this was a bigger deal than it was for someone that has basically lived under 1000' their whole life.  I remember people talking about Denver when I was younger and how it was so crazy that the city was a mile above sea level so I guess that kinda led to this question.

Stiles · · the Mountains · Joined May 2003 · Points: 840

Order Osha tincture online. That'll keep you from any headaches or hiccups at all

Bill Lawry · · New Mexico · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,497
Parker Wrozek wrote:

Drink more water and then drink some more after that when you are there. 

My most regular climbing partner lives at sea level.  She is pretty careful about hydration just before and during our trips at higher altitudes.

When it comes to climbs at 10k and above, she works in some days and/or nights as close to that as practical.

Seth, you probably won't be hammered at 7k but do keep up on hydration (and food)?

amarius · · Nowhere, OK · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 20

Stay hydrated, stock up on Vitamin-I. The one time I got hit by altitude sickness was not fun, definitely ruined my day.

Ibuprofen decreases likelihood of altitude sickness, researchers find


Robert Michael · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 116

As others have said, you have little to worry about at 7K. But if it concerns you, why not spend as much time as possible hiking, climbing, and camping at 5 and 6K right there in NC?

trailridge · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 20

Do multiple sets of 55 pushups while holding your breath. Sometimes it is hard to actually hold your breath so with a partner put a plastic bag over your head.  If you look like you  might pass out have your partner pull the plastic bag off your head.  You may also use a safe word that when you yell it your partner knows to get the bag off your head.  But it may be hard to hear with the bag and no air.  Just don't die training for high altitude

Seth Monteleone · · Charlotte, NC · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 23
trailridge wrote:

Do multiple sets of 55 pushups while holding your breath. Sometimes it is hard to actually hold your breath so with a partner put a plastic bag over your head.  If you look like you  might pass out have your partner pull the plastic bag off your head.  You may also use a safe word that when you yell it your partner knows to get the bag off your head.  But it may be hard to hear with the bag and no air.  Just don't die training for high altitude

I needed that laugh today....wait are you serious?

Seth Monteleone · · Charlotte, NC · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 23
Robert Michael wrote:

As others have said, you have little to worry about at 7K. But if it concerns you, why not spend as much time as possible hiking, climbing, and camping at 5 and 6K right there in NC?

How I wish I had the time to get out more.  I'm limited to about 1 weekend a month outside climbing, and I think the highest climb I've done in NC is about 4500', but I didn't have any issues there.

Daniel T · · Riverside, Ca · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 35

As someone already said the biggest thing to avoid is alcohol 3-5 days prior to arrival and for your first 5 -7 days at altitude.  It takes the body almost 9 days to get acclimatized. to where you will not notice any issues in performance and or diet.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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