Mt Whitney Webcam
Mt Williamson Webcam
Feature Topics
Who's Online
1 registered (dbd), 12 Guests and 4 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
3955 Members
10 Forums
5763 Topics
52086 Posts

Max Online: 1443 @ 07/29/19 08:40 AM
Topic Options
#12687 - 04/12/11 02:21 AM Climb high - sleep low ( or is it lower?)
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1024
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
In another post, someone mentioned dayhiking high, then sleeping in Lone Pine as a way to satisfy the maxim, "climb high-sleep low." That is way too low.

Bob P. added a corrective, thanks. I'd like to say that the maxim should maybe say "climb high-sleep lower" to be a little clearer. For the gospel, here is an excerpt from
http://www.ismmed.org/np_altitude_tutorial.htm#goldenrules


The key to avoiding AMS is a gradual ascent that gives your body time to acclimatize. People acclimatize at different rates, so no absolute statements are possible, but in general, the following recommendations will keep most people from getting AMS:
  • If possible, you should spend at least one night at an intermediate elevation below 3000 meters.
  • At altitudes above 3000 meters (10,000 feet), your sleeping elevation should not increase more than 300-500 meters (1000-1500 feet) per night.
  • Every 1000 meters (3000 feet) you should spend a second night at the same elevation.

Remember, it's how high you sleep each night that really counts; climbers have understood this for years, and have a maxim "climb high, sleep low". The day hikes to higher elevations that you take on your "rest days" (when you spend a second night at the same altitude) help your acclimatization by exposing you to higher elevations, then you return to a lower (safer) elevation to sleep. This second night also ensures that you are fully acclimatized and ready for further ascent.

Top
#12700 - 04/12/11 07:27 AM Re: Climb high - sleep low ( or is it lower?) [Re: Harvey Lankford]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7880
Loc: Fresno, CA
Thanks for posting that, Harvey.

The "climb high, sleep low" rules were created for hikers in higher altitudes than the Mt Whitney area. When they talk of sleeping low, that means return to an elevation lower than where they are climbing. But it was not intended to mean dropping more elevation than can be climbed in a day.

By sleeping at Lone Pine's elevation (3700'), people are actually halting the acclimation process.

Top
#12716 - 04/12/11 02:14 PM Re: Climb high - sleep low ( or is it lower?) [Re: Steve C]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Thanks for noting that , Steve. I was taught that CH-SL is a Himalayan assault strategy designed for moving progressive camps up the route, back in the day when Himalayan technique was much frowned upon when it began to encroach on Alpine assents ( Eiger North face, Jungfrau etc). Himalayan survival strategy, not Alpine acclimation technique. Note that the term is "climb" high, not "hike" high. Fair assessment?
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

Top
#12720 - 04/12/11 02:53 PM Re: Climb high - sleep low ( or is it lower?) [Re: saltydog]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1024
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Originally Posted By: saltydog
Himalayan survival strategy, not Alpine acclimation technique.


well yes and no.

Even the fast/light/Alpine style people must acclimatize first. Alpine style may help you avoid obvious risks by reducing time spent under hanging seracs or threatening weather, but the increased workload may aggravate the risk for complications of AMS like HAPE and HACE, plus, you just can't go as fast as your potential unless acclimatized.

This is certainly true at extreme altitudes where no one can go Alpine-style on day one, not even Messner.

It also applies to moderate altitudes (like Whitney) where the stakes are not as high, but the effects of even mild AMS are still significant for many folks. Yes, some people can drive up from LA, do Whitney in a day. Half cannot.

Climb high-sleep low is appropriate for acclimatization for both moderate and extreme altitudes.

edit: Alpinism or alpine climbing pretty much means rock or ice technical climbing, originally on the Alps or other moderate altitudes (Eiger is 13,000 or so). Alpine style means lightweight/little gear or support but can be done at any altitude all the way up to 29,000. Alpine start means before dawn.


Edited by Harvey Lankford (04/12/11 04:36 PM)

Top
#12768 - 04/13/11 06:52 AM Re: Climb high - sleep low ( or is it lower?) [Re: Harvey Lankford]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
All of the above I completely agree with for multiday Whitney trips, where the start time need be as late as noon, and certainly does not need to be middle of the night.

However, I remain somewhat of two minds about the dayhike option. I believe that the intelligent climber follows an acclimatization schedule. The thing I have trouble with is the night prior to the climb, in which most people are definitely getting an alpine 1-3am start.

I am a strong believer in the power of sleep, and the deleterious effect no sleep has on hiking efficiency, energy, and just feeling good.

I, personally, do not do well when I've not gotten sufficient and high quality sleep.

So, I've taken seriously those who've suggested it is better to go down into town, and get a good (and early!) nights' sleep in prep for the alpine start. I personally have no trouble sleeping on the ground, as soon as it gets dark....but I appreciate that others don't have that gift, and won't get a wink at the Portal, to their detriment.

IF a person has followed an acclimatization schedule, I don't believe that the 8 or so hours in LP will lose anything that they've gained.

Although it does not apply to Whitney, there is a school of thought, most prominently espoused by the great climber Anatoli Boukreev, that on the huge mountains, after following the acclimatization schedule, one should descend WAY down for a night or two, to really saturate the lungs with oxygen, and replenish the body from the harsh environment of extreme altitude. It seemed to work for him, although we are not dealing with "death zone" altitudes on Whitney.

Top
#12786 - 04/13/11 10:16 AM Re: Climb high - sleep low ( or is it lower?) [Re: Ken]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
By Alpine style I mean moving only up on the ascent with all gear in one push. As distinct from Himalayan, which means moving to higher camp in one or more round trips. You sleep at the lowest camp in any round trip. That's where CH-SL has the most meaning for me. For an Alpine ascent, I would just call it taking a couple day hikes to acclimate.


Edited by saltydog (04/13/11 02:10 PM)
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

Top
#12900 - 04/15/11 04:52 AM Re: Climb high - sleep low ( or is it lower?) [Re: Harvey Lankford]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Good advice Harvey. I worked for ten years at 8,100 feet elevation, at a tungsten mine, but lived and slept at 4,200 feet. I was only slightly more acclimated than if I hadn't worked at high altitude, but would have been better to have slept at 8,100 feet every night.

Locals who live in places like Mammoth Lakes, CA, at 8,500, are usually more acclimated to altitude than "flat-landers."

Top