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#51749 - 08/20/17 02:23 PM High Altitude experience
Test123 Offline


Registered: 07/22/17
Posts: 15
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area, USA
I have my Mt Whitney day hike on 3rd September, did the acclamation hike of Mt Dana in Yosemite yesterday. The hike starts at 9,950ft and goes till 13k elevation.

I had mild nausea feeling and very mild headache at 9950ft and I continued to hike to see how my body reacts. As the elevation gained, I did not feel much of AMS and was able to proceed past 12000 elevation, I returned as it started to rain and thunderstorm was expected. I did not see that the altitude pushing me to stop the hike. But after I returned from the hike and until I reach home for about 7-8 hours after the hike, I had nauseating feeling.

With this experience, I am pretty worried about whitney as the sickness may be prominent as elevation gains. I am planning to take Diomax and start hiking.

My question here is: Considering this experience with regard to altitude, will diomax be enough or consider taking oxygen or any herbal pills help?

Thanks


Edited by Test123 (08/20/17 02:25 PM)

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#51750 - 08/20/17 04:45 PM Re: High Altitude experience [Re: Test123]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
I'm guessing you started driving to Tioga Pass from near sea-level. You probably had a mild case of AMS then you started your hike up Mt. Dana, and should not have continued going higher. Yes, Diamox (not "diomax")will help, but you can only get it with a doctor's approval; it isn't a cure all. Herbal pills won't help much, if at all. Leave the oxygen at home; Mt. Whitney is not the Himalayas.

Yes, you can expect a recurrence of AMS at Mt Whitney, and be prepared to descend if you start to feel really bad.

Unfortunately, you experienced what a lot of us did on fast weekend trips from sea-level. It was part of the price we paid physically for bagging that big peak.

FYI: https://www.drugs.com/mtm/diamox.html


Edited by Bob West (08/20/17 04:49 PM)

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#51751 - 08/20/17 09:12 PM Re: High Altitude experience [Re: Test123]
HE_i Offline


Registered: 06/30/17
Posts: 19
Loc: CA
the two times I attempted to summit Whitney, (last Oct. at 10k ft.strong wind and rain stopped us/ last month at 14,400...about a mile away and heavy dark clouds made us trun around) I never had issue with AMS due to the Diamox that I took, starting 3 days prior to the summit. I never had issue also after going home.

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#51752 - 08/20/17 10:01 PM Re: High Altitude experience [Re: HE_i]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7578
Loc: Fresno, CA
HE_i, you might not be as susceptible to the altitude as the OP, so you can't really say that the Diamox helped, unless you did a trial trip before Whitney.

Test123: If at all possible, you should spend two nights at Whitney Portal before you hike up. That gets your body more used to the altitude.


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#51754 - 08/20/17 10:36 PM Re: High Altitude experience [Re: Bob West]
Test123 Offline


Registered: 07/22/17
Posts: 15
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area, USA
Yeah I live in Bay Area and started in mariposa (about 1800 ft elevation) the night before Dana hike. Drove around 8k in 2.5 hours and returned home back to sea level in 4 hours from 12k elevation hike. That could be a too much elevation back and forth in a day.

I got the diamox med from my doctor and will be taking twice a day from 5 days before hike. Hope it helps

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#51755 - 08/20/17 10:38 PM Re: High Altitude experience [Re: Steve C]
Test123 Offline


Registered: 07/22/17
Posts: 15
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area, USA
Okay I'll try that

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#51760 - 08/21/17 06:27 AM Re: High Altitude experience [Re: Steve C]
HE_i Offline


Registered: 06/30/17
Posts: 19
Loc: CA
Hi Steve, you are absolutely right. That's a good point. I did a combination of both..spending the night at Whitney Portal and Outpost Camp, plus Diamox. Prior to Whitney and Diamox, I did experience AMS when I went to Cloud Rest (that's below 10k). Found out about Diamox in this forum, talked to my doctor and tried it at Mount Dana (13k) and what a big difference.

*disclaimer: others might react differently to Diamox.

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#51761 - 08/21/17 07:00 AM Re: High Altitude experience [Re: HE_i]
retarded Offline


Registered: 06/01/17
Posts: 19
Loc: SanFranfreako Bay Area
Here's my experience coming from sea level:

I had nausea "like a boss" from just below trail camp both times I day-hiked whitney (this year and 5 years ago), and both times with diamox. I pushed through both times and made it. Many people give up and turn around by trail crest. Most of the people I talked to on the switchbacks that were going slow had the same symptoms I did, with nausea subsiding while resting or not going up.

If the altitude doesn't tear you up, just remember you'll naturally feel horrid from exhaustion, and remember to add plenty of hydration.

You should probably talk to your doctor about adding a nsaid like ibuprofen also. I'm a big time coffee drinker and didn't have any on the day of my hikes, so naturally you might get a caffeine headache. I actually did not have a headache either time but took otc aleve.


Edited by retarded (08/21/17 07:02 AM)

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#51766 - 08/21/17 08:15 AM Re: High Altitude experience [Re: Test123]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7578
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: Test123
I got the diamox med from my doctor and will be taking twice a day from 5 days before hike. Hope it helps

That's way too soon to start. Don't start more than 48 hours before you head to altitude. Most people start 24 hours before.

I hope your prescription is correct for hiking usage -- 125 mg twice a day is the maximum. Many people cut that in half. Do not take the dosage prescribed for glaucoma -- 500 mg twice a day. The side-effects will make you miserable.

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#51769 - 08/21/17 10:22 AM Re: High Altitude experience [Re: Steve C]
retarded Offline


Registered: 06/01/17
Posts: 19
Loc: SanFranfreako Bay Area
I wonder about diamox too. Both times I've taken it I started at least 24 hours prior to ascent, however I notice I feel "off" from the diamox itself (125mg twice daily) before even getting to the mountain.

Anyone here try day hiking/ rapid ascent with and without diamox?

This last time, i stopped taking it during descent.



Edited by retarded (08/21/17 10:24 AM)

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#51780 - 08/21/17 10:43 PM Re: High Altitude experience [Re: retarded]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7578
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: retarded
I wonder about diamox too. Both times I've taken it I started at least 24 hours prior to ascent, however I notice I feel "off" from the diamox itself (125mg twice daily) before even getting to the mountain.

Anyone here try day hiking/ rapid ascent with and without diamox?

This last time, i stopped taking it during descent.
Try taking half the 125 mg twice a day. I'd end taking it once at the summit, too.

There are a few people who can day hike Whitney with the rapid ascent with no altitude preparations, and they do just fine.

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#51864 - 08/25/17 11:05 AM Re: High Altitude experience [Re: Test123]
Bobby49 Offline


Registered: 07/04/17
Posts: 41
Loc: California
I've had prescriptions for Diamox and carried it three times, but only for big peaks. Never for anything as moderate as Mount Whitney. Although Diamox does give most hikers some extra degree of safety against AMS, it is mostly unnecessary for Mount Whitney unless you suspect that you are susceptible to AMS.

Diamox has its own set of side effects. If you know them and recognize them, then they might not upset you. However, they bother some people, and the anxiety can be defeating. The side effects tend to worsen with the dosage and duration that you take it.

From the time that you first start taking Diamox, it takes two to three days for your body to attain a new water balance point, so it probably is unwise to start taking Diamox on the very day that you expect to climb. I once started taking Diamox at a half-dosage, let that run for 48 hours, and then increased to the standard dosage. Some people are allergic to it, so you would like to know that before you get in too deep.

When climbing a big peak one time, I felt good, so I wasn't taking any Diamox that I carried. The trip leader got desperate, so I gave him half of the Diamox that I had, and he was distributing it to others who had none. However, they were taking those pills without sufficient drinking water, and that is just plain silly.

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