I having been trying to understand my AMS problems (mostly nausea/vomiting). This summer:
White Mountain Peak (Whitney Dry Run)(Success):
- Slept 10k (Horseshoe Meadows Campground)
- Slept 12.7k (Barcroft Observatory)
- --> Peak 14.25k (Success!)
- Slept 10k (Horseshoe),
- Slept 11.3k (Chicken Spring Lake),
- Slept 3.7k (Lone Pine)
- --> Puked once at 14k. (But summited).
Matterhorn Peak (Mountaineering Course)
- 11.7k dayhike (on Mt Dana).
- Ate Dinner 6.7k.
- Slept 9.6k (Tioga Lake Campground)
- Ate Breakfast 6.7k
- 7.1K --> Puked at 9k on approach to Matterhorn Peak Base Camp. (Game Over for Moutaineering course).
- Slept 10.3k (Outpost Camp)
- Slept 12k (Trail Camp)
- Slept 12k (Trail Camp 2nd Night) Started hike a bit after 1:30am.
- --> Nausea near Trail Crest (13.6k). Puking while rushing down from Trail Crest (Whitney Summit aborted).
I am starting to understand go high sleep low now. In the Matterhorn Peak
fiasco, I drove from ~0 to 10k and then strolled up to 11.7k in a
short time (to see the views). Got mild altitude sickness, slept at 9.7k (I usually have
trouble sleeping at a higher altitude initially) and then started the
Matterhorn Peak hike 14 hours later and I believe I had
lingering AMS as I actually puked at a lower altitude than I had slept at!
Instead of doing altitude acclimitization, I instead preloaded myself
with AMS. The sleep low part gets your body out of an (mild) AMS state quicker.
I thought with my first Mt Whitney hiking sleeping down in
Lone Pine for the last night was the problem (there was
a heat wave, my air mattress was popped/leaking, car problems and
needed the Whitney permit (the Rangers wouldn't issue the Whitney
permit 3 days ahead)). But actually, it may have helped lower
my "AMS level" before the dayhike.
In my final Whitney failure ("overnight" (3 nights) permit). I kept pushing
higher getting mild AMS (0-->10.3k, 10.3k-->12k, 12k->13.7k), recovering
a bit and then pushing higher again. I was disappointed
that my final ~1.66 days at 12k did not prepare me to go up
another 1.6k feet. 3+ days at Trail Camp?
To add insult to injury, I saw a guy run up Mt Whitney
almost butt-naked with just a tiny little pack (saw him going
up, passed me going down).
I have now given up avoiding Diamox. In fact, I took a full dose
at Trail Camp after my failure to try it out. My body just
takes too damn long to acclimitize. One reason I have
been avoiding Diamox is that I hike with my dog and I am
afraid my dog would not be properly acclimitized if I was
"turbo charged for acclimitization" with Diamox
(put dog on Diamox too?)
One reason I dislike go high, sleep low, is that I am "lazy".
It seems lame to say instead of sleeping at Trail Camp (12k),
to hike say to the Switchback Cables and then retreat down
to Outpost Camp to sleep and then repeating the same path
the next day. Kind of like doing "laps" on the same trail.
Another problem is forcing myself to do little
during car camping acclimitization when surrounded by a
beautiful area to explore (see above fiasco). Even if you don't
burn your legs out (right before dayhiking Whitney),
you could slip into AMS. Also, car camping in the Sierras is
limited to around 10k elevation, unless you brave the White Mountain
Road to get to 11.7k (maybe walkin camping to 12.7k).
Of course, taking so many days off work is also a problem...