Mt Whitney Webcam
Mt Williamson Webcam
Feature Topics
Who's Online
0 registered (), 12 Guests and 42 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
3268 Members
13 Forums
5341 Topics
49596 Posts

Max Online: 382 @ 11/07/12 05:45 AM
Page 2 of 3 < 1 2 3 >
Topic Options
#10206 - 01/21/11 09:05 PM Re: recomendations for an acclimatization route up the summit? [Re: 2600fromatari]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
Quote:
Scientists at the Barcroft Research Station on White Mountain, discovered that when someone was asleep on the summit at 14,246 feet, they reacted physiologically the same as someone who was awake at 16,000 feet

Interesting! That is a new concept to me.

My interpretation then would be that it is better to spend a night sleeping at Horseshoe Meadows than hiking around during the day up there. ...Certainly interesting.

Top
#10212 - 01/22/11 07:15 AM Re: recomendations for an acclimatization route up the summit? [Re: Steve C]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
I am not sure. Looks like you are best off being active at a given altitude rather than sleeping, in terms of acclimatization. Seems like sleeping can be a difficult part of the acclimatization process, which is why you want to sleep low (and, in my case, take diamox to ward off periodic breathing, which apparently comes in part because you are no longer consciously engaging in breathing). After all, HAPE and HACE hit more often when you are sleeping. In short, the fact that, when you are sleeping low, your body reacts as if you were higher, would appear to reflect the difficulty of acclimatizing when you are sleeping, rather than a boost to the acclimatization process per se.

Top
#10213 - 01/22/11 07:18 AM Re: recomendations for an acclimatization route up the summit? [Re: Brent N]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
"Rather than acclimatize along the MT camping at Outpost and Trail Camp, I would like to look for a new backpacking route that would also achieve gradual acclimatization. I would like the trip on the trail to last three days and finish at the Portal. Any recommendations on where to begin and paths to travel?"

Brent, sad to say, there is no such route. The problem is that the main trail is about the most direct trail route possible. There are other routes, but they are definitely mountaineering routes, needing skill.

Also, the MT is about ideal, from an altitude profile standpoint. The Cottonwood Pass/NAP route drops you down until the last night at guitar lake. Plus, you have a real problem if you have to bail. I don't think I'd like to have a "no bail" route, in the situation you describe.

With the 3 day window, you really have no option but the MT.

So, how to optimize?

I agree, getting some "high time" on SoCal mountains would help. You don't have to get over 10k to see a lot of benefit, but I'd say you want to get to 8, if you can. Spending a sat night at the Sierra Club hut on Baldy at 8200 would make a difference, particularly if you could do that a couple of sats in a row.

Taking the tram up San Jacinto, then hiking into one of the camping areas would be a lot more effort, but would do the same.

The South Fork Trail up San Gorgonio to Dry Lake (9,000), is another option.

I've done them all, and they're all fun in their own right. You might mix and match for variety. It does seems like about a month is the limit for protection from acclimatization to endure.

I also suffer from AMS, more than average. I always start my hiking summer at Horseshoe Meadow for a couple of days. But it usually takes a month of weekend trips before I am free of symptoms. I can really relate.

Oh, one other comment. Your start time from Trail Camp of 3am is VERY unusually early, and in my mind, unnecessary. I have no studies to back this up, but I believe sleep deprivation is significant contributing factor to failure to successfully summit this mountain.

Top
#10217 - 01/22/11 10:49 AM Re: recomendations for an acclimatization route up the summit? [Re: Ken]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
If you're going to try the "weekend acclimatization program", do NOT skip the weekend immediately prior to your Whitney hike. You would probably lose all you had gained.

Top
#10218 - 01/22/11 05:00 PM Re: recomendations for an acclimatization route up the summit? [Re: Brent N]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1239
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
3 days on the trail ending at Whitney Portal, eh. Horseshoe Meadow to Whitney Portal can be done in 3 days, if you keep your pack light and if you can do a couple of big days. The problem will be sleeping at 11,700 at or near Guitar Lake.

Diamox is a fun drug. It works perfectly for some, partially for others and not at all for a few. I fall into the partial category. I still have a fitful night's sleep and a loss of appetite at 14,000' and after big days...sometimes.

I do not take Diamox day hiking in the locals. I don't have any problems to speak of during trips of this nature.

Top
#10219 - 01/22/11 05:23 PM Re: recomendations for an acclimatization route up the summit? [Re: 2600fromatari]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Originally Posted By: 2600fromatari
Adhere to the old adage of "climb high and sleep low."


The one caveat I would add to that quote is to remember that "high" and "low" are relative concepts. While this practice is generally in place for extremely high altitude climbs, remember that the interval between "high" and "low" is often only around 2000 feet. If you are attempting 14K', sleeping at 4K' the night before is not the wisest move. Most people should sleep as high as their body can tolerate to get a reasonably sound night's sleep, while allowing acclimation to continue.

Top
#10223 - 01/23/11 05:49 AM Re: recomendations for an acclimatization route up the summit? [Re: Ken]
Brent N Offline


Registered: 01/20/11
Posts: 278
Loc: Orange County, CA
Ken, thanks for the trip reports about alternative routes up to the Summit, especially the notation about the lack of a retreat option. Unfortuantely, I have needed the retreat option. You and I have spoken before, but I wasn't aware that you have similar acclimitization problems.
So, it sounds like weekend overnight 8-10K sleeping opportunities prior to the hike are important, including the immediate weekend before are key. And it sounds like the MT is my best option.

As for the comment about sleep deprivation, both my experiences would make for good anecdotal evidence for your theory. On that first trip, when we left that early, neither I nor my sister were able to sleep much. The winds were fierce at Trail Camp that night and we hardly slept at all. We both made the decision that we might as well get up hiking. On the second trip, I probably slept 4-5 hours the night before. I'm normally a very sound sleeper, but not the night before a big hike. My mind is too busy anticipating what is to come.

Top
#10226 - 01/23/11 11:25 AM Re: recomendations for an acclimatization route up the summit? [Re: Ken]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 579
Loc: Manchester, NH
Originally Posted By: Ken
...Oh, one other comment. Your start time from Trail Camp of 3am is VERY unusually early, and in my mind, unnecessary.


I disagree with this part of your post, and am not sure what's unnecesary about it. I use 3AM as a goal for Whitney dayhikes via the main trail. I never make it, as usually it's closer to 3:30-4AM before I actually get on the trail, but invariably there are others above me who left much earlier. Occasionally I'll overtake someone, and compare notes with departure times. Sometimes I'll learn they left as early as midnight.

Getting an early start has much to commend it, as it's safer to hike up in the dark when you're rested than to hike down in the dark when you're tired. Sometimes when I'm having a strong day I'll be back by 3PM, but sometimes it's 6:30PM, especially if I visit with too many people. And, since I'm frequently affected by AMS, I have ample time to stop, take a drink of water and rest for a few minutes, letting the headache "twinges" subside before pushing on without feeling the pressures of time.

There's lots of good advice to give people, including "slower is better", not only because it can minimize the impact of AMS, but because you're less likely to exhaust reserves of glycogen. The conditions of the permit allow the dayhiker to leave after midnight.

Getting enough sleep is very important, as is proper food and hydration. But, going to bed at 7 or 8PM the night before the hike will, in my experience, offset the early start to a large degree.

As always, everyone's MMV.

Top
#10228 - 01/23/11 01:49 PM Re: recomendations for an acclimatization route up the summit? [Re: KevinR]
CaT Offline


Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 694
Loc: Blacklick, OH (formerly SoCal)
Kevin,

In responding to Ken's post, are you disagreeing with his "too early" opinion of a 3am start time from Trail Crest or 3am from the Portal? I know Ken mentioned 3am from Trail Crest, but your response to that almost sounds like you thought he was referring to starting at 3am from the Portal. Can you clarify? Just curious. Thanks.

CaT
_________________________
If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them more than the miracle of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.
- Lyndon Johnson, on signing the Wilderness Act into law (1964)

Top
#10229 - 01/23/11 02:02 PM Re: recomendations for an acclimatization route up the summit? [Re: CaT]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 579
Loc: Manchester, NH
Originally Posted By: CaT
Kevin,

In responding to Ken's post, are you disagreeing with his "too early" opinion of a 3am start time from Trail Crest or 3am from the Portal? I know Ken mentioned 3am from Trail Crest, but your response to that almost sounds like you thought he was referring to starting at 3am from the Portal. Can you clarify? Just curious. Thanks.

CaT


My response was based upon a start time from the Portal, not Trail Crest.

In skimming the thread, I realize now that Brent's initial post asked for advice for a 3-day backpack.

Hopefully my post above hasn't created confusion. Thanks for noting the disconnect.

Top
#10232 - 01/23/11 04:15 PM Re: recomendations for an acclimatization route up the summit? [Re: 2600fromatari]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Originally Posted By: 2600fromatari
If this study is true, sleeping at altitude adds several thousands feet versus being in the vertical position.

http://timberlinetrails.net/ClimbingAltitudeSickness.html



I just read this webpage in detail for the first time, and the comment about atmospheric pressure changes intrigued me:

The cause of high altitude sickness is two fold, less oxygen and less pressure (they go hand and hand). At sea level, we have a reading of 29.92 inches of mercury, but this drops to 20.57 at 10,000 feet. This means that at 10,000 feet above sea level, you will have about 1/3 (31.25%) less pressure. Now if a low pressure weather system moves in, this can drive the above numbers down a bit lower. Meteorologists estimate that low or high pressure systems can make up to a 3 to 4 percent difference in the barometric pressure. Those who find themselves highly subject to altitude sickness may want to consider this when planning for a trip to higher altitudes.

I suppose it's possible that the 3-4% difference in atmospheric pressure during a low pressure event could account for someone who summits Whitney just fine one time, but suffers AMS another trip - even though their acclimation regimen, diet, hydration, etc. may have been the same. I had never given much thought to the effect of weather on AMS, but I suppose it stands to reason that AMS might be more prevalent during a low pressure sytem than when a high is in place. That 3-4% may not sound like much, but for those prone to altitude issues, it may be worth bearing in mind.

Top
#10233 - 01/23/11 08:00 PM Re: recomendations for an acclimatization route up the summit? [Re: Bulldog34]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
Kevin, for the record, I TOTALLY agree with the 3am or earlier start from the Portal. I STRONGLY recommend this for those who have not done the dayhike before, and know exactly how they will do.

As noted, I was responding to the the notation of a multiday hike, with a summit day beginning at Trail Camp at 3am, which I think is a waste of good sleep time. smile

Top
#10236 - 01/24/11 03:49 AM Re: recomendations for an acclimatization route up the summit? [Re: Ken]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 579
Loc: Manchester, NH
Sounds like we're on the same page, Ken.

Top
#10239 - 01/24/11 06:35 AM Re: recomendations for an acclimatization route up the summit? [Re: Ken]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1239
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Ken,

I don't like later starts at Trail Camp/Guitar Lake, especially if your intentions are a drive back to SoCal after being on the summit.

We have been on the summit at dawn 2 of our last three trips then home that night. There is nothing like being on Mt. Whitney at dawn.

Top
#10240 - 01/24/11 06:51 AM Re: recomendations for an acclimatization route up the summit? [Re: wbtravis]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
WB, I can see that goal, and in that specific situation, that'd be the right call.

In the situation being discussed, though, where the climber has had two failed attempts, I'm looking at it from the standpoint of what can he do to maximize his chances of FINALLY getting on top of the ol' rock.

Also, people certainly vary, but I'd much rather try that drive after a very strenuous day, having gotten a full night's sleep....with only a few hours, for me it would be a major struggle to drive. Nap on the side of the road! Certainly nap after Portal snack!

However, main thing was increasing chance of summit safely, was what I was thinking.

Top
#10245 - 01/24/11 10:02 AM Re: recomendations for an acclimatization route up the summit? [Re: 2600fromatari]
bobpickering Online


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 311
Loc: Reno, Nevada
Altitude discussions can go on forever. I'm not going to get into any endless debates, but here are a few quick points from an old guy with 242 summits above 14K (including Denali):

Don't let anyone tell you that you don't need to eat while climbing. Eat a little bit often, rather than a lot all at once. Eat what you like, but take it easy on the fat. Digesting fat takes a lot of oxygen that you probably can't spare.

Conditioning and acclimatization are better than drugs, but some people need a little help. If you expect trouble, start Diamox a day or two before you start up. If you consider AMS to be a possibility, rather than a probability, you might want to bring Diamox and see whether you can do without it. Diamox DOES work when you wait until the onset of symptoms, and that's how everyone used it 15+ years ago.

"Climb high, sleep low" is a slogan we hear all the time. It applies to climbing big mountains expedition-style. You spend one or more days carrying loads to a higher camp, sleep at a lower camp, and finally move yourself and the last of your gear to the higher camp. Repeat until you're high enough to tag the summit and return to camp (or lower) in one day.

Some people like to chant "climb high, sleep low" without understanding it. The best acclimatization hike is one that takes you as high as possible without exhausting you or making you sick. What many people don't understand is that the best sleeping altitude is the highest altitude at which you don't get symptoms. You will always be able to climb higher than you can sleep, but BOTH should be as high as you can comfortably tolerate.

Edit: I somehow miss-read the timberlinetrails.net article that I commented on. It wasn't backwards at all, so I deleted that paragraph. Sorry for the "senior moment."


Edited by bobpickering (01/24/11 01:41 PM)

Top
#10247 - 01/24/11 10:56 AM Re: recomendations for an acclimatization route up the summit? [Re: bobpickering]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 579
Loc: Manchester, NH
Many years ago I did Whitney with a group of friends, none of whom had been to 14K before. Shortly above Lone Pine Lake, one of them pulled up and said he felt terrible, and just looking at him we could see he was hurting. He was ready to head down, but we convinced him to have some food and water, and rest for 30 minutes, and then make a decision, assuring him at least one of us would return with him if necessary. He took a couple of Diamox as well, and 30 minutes later he was much better and decided to continue. We all kept a close eye on him, but he seemed to get stronger as the morning wore on, and made the summit (and back) without further trouble.

Have always wondered about that incident, and the role that Diamox might have played. Your post confirms what I suspected, that it might have helped, at least to some degree.



Edited by KevinR (01/24/11 10:57 AM)

Top
#10252 - 01/24/11 12:54 PM Re: recomendations for an acclimatization route up the summit? [Re: KevinR]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 989
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Bob,
I have not studied the article, but perhaps (???) the authors were somehow trying to say that the lower oxygen saturation that naturally occurs when one is hypoventilating (under-breathing) while sleeping at 14,000 results in similar O2sats as if one were awake at the lower pressure 16,000 (?)

I rather doubt that. The significantly lower O2sats seen while sleeping are far more than the drop that would occur by going from 14,000 to (and being awake) at 16,000.

Finally, a reason sleeping altitude is so important to acclimatization is that it is a prolonged exposure to the lowest O2sat one will experience (if not ill,dehydrated, exhausted, etc) at that altitude. (Note that we all have lower heart rate and breathing rates while sleeping.)

PS your advice and experience is appreciated. Harvey


Edited by Harvey Lankford (01/24/11 12:55 PM)

Top
#10329 - 01/25/11 05:57 PM Re: recomendations for an acclimatization route up the summit? [Re: Brent N]
Norris Offline


Registered: 06/14/10
Posts: 22
Loc: Del Mar, CA
Originally Posted By: Brent N
I would like ... a new ... route that would achieve gradual acclimatization. I would like the trip on the trail to last three days and finish at the Portal. Any recommendations on where to begin and paths to travel?

Hi Brent, a relative of mine got severe altitude sickness (pulmonary edema) at under 10K and the following year successfully climbed Whitney main trail with me with no issues or discomfort. But it took more than 3 days. The recipe was:
1. Took physician prescribed Diamox (single dose of 125 mg and Nifedipine slow release 30mg daily). Did *NOT* start Diamox several days early, it is apparently a faster-acting drug than once believed, so starting it early is apparently a deprecated approach, as is taking huge doses that cause side-effects.
2. Slept the first night at Lone Pine lake.
3. Slept the second night at Outpost camp.
4. Slept the third night at Trail camp.
5. Summited Whitney on day 4 and returned to Trail camp.
6. Packed up and hiked out on day 5.
I would try something like this before trying to reduce the length of the trip to 3 days.

Top
#10337 - 01/26/11 06:44 AM Re: recomendations for an acclimatization route up the summit? [Re: Norris]
Brent N Offline


Registered: 01/20/11
Posts: 278
Loc: Orange County, CA
You said that taking diamox early was a "deprecated" approach. Is that because it lessens the effectiveness of the drug, unnecessarily prolongs side effects, or for some other reason?

Thank you for sharing your relative's experience. I really appreciate it.

Top
Page 2 of 3 < 1 2 3 >