Thursday, 22 August 2013

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You can be the fittest person on the plant, but unless you are already acclimatised to extreme altitudes faced on Aconcaqua then your fitness means absolutly nothing, infact it can have the oppostie desired effect. It can mean that you ignore the golden rules of climbing at altitude, ie climb high sleep low and only climb a max of 300 metres a day along with taking them all important rest days to allow your body time to acclimatise to the extreme barometric pressure you will endure at these extreme altitudes.

What can you and I do to help give us as much chance of making it to high altitude.
Below are some of the Golden rules along with some others which seem to have a growing body of experianced climbers that are fans of.

Cimb High Sleep low
This one is pretty obvious, and most people know this one, climb approx 300mts a day then come down to a lower level for sleep. Then the next day climb back to your previous 300mts to sleep and possibly rest for a day to acclimatise. Then climb a further 300mts and come back down to sleep, then climb up the next day to that higher 300 mtrs to sleep and acclimatise. Repeat this process moving slowly up not rushing.

Drink plenty of water and or isotronic fluids with electolytes in. It is absolutely vital to keep you body hydrated with approx 3 ltrs per day of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty. If your pee has no colour then as a general rule of thumb you are hydrated, the deeper the colour your pee is the more you need to drink. However this can be tricky if you are taking vitamin tablets as these do colour your pee. So just drink at least 3 ltrs whether you feel like it or not otherwise you will feel like someone is sticking red hot needles in your eyes and or have the worlds worst headache which will bring you too a sudden stop.

Medication you can take with you
The below are some that most people know about, but you should obviously take professional medical advice as well.
Diamox is the most widely used. It is not a magic tablet that cures and prevents AMS but it is the first thing most people will hear about when asking about what meds to take to prevent altitude sickness. I have taken it myself and I never suffered at all with the tingling fingers that some suffer with and I also never suffered from AMS. Obviously this doe not mean that I will be ok everytime I use diamox. Also because it makes you pee more you need to keep this in mind when you are drinking your 3 ltrs of fluids a day.
Asprin and Ibuprofen are effective at relieving altitude headaches below 14000ft but should be only be used if carefully. Asprin can also help to thin the blood and help the movement of blood hence help move oxygen around the body. Again what works for one person may not work for another and you need to take professional advice before relying on these.
The above are meds you can buy yourself before going abroad but Diamox is the most popular and effective

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