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#54818 - 03/15/19 01:28 PM "Mt Whitney: Determinants of Summit Success and AMS"
sumptimwong Online

Registered: 03/15/19
Posts: 34
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Getting excited to plan our first trip to MW, and stumbled upon this very interesting scientific paper in the process. It was published in 2008 by Dr. Dale Wagner (Utah State University) et al.

One of the things that jumped out at me was the high correlation between usage of people who took analgesics (e.g. ibuprofen, acetaminophen) and incidence of AMS. 51% of people who took analgesics reported AMS symptoms, while only 32% of people who didn't take any reported AMS symptoms (according to the "Lake Louise Self Assessment Score"). At first blush it would seem that it might be a bad idea to pop a Tylenol if you want to avoid AMS, but this is a great example of correlation vs. causation when looking at stats.

The main take-home point for me was that if I want to maximize my odds of success (namely, not letting AMS turn me around), it is prudent to spend at least two nights at high altitude before attempting our day hike. We'll likely be planning to spend a couple nights at Horseshoe Meadows (10k ft) before the day of the hike. A short hike up to Trail Pass up there probably wouldn't hurt either.

#54819 - 03/15/19 03:42 PM Re: "Mt Whitney: Determinants of Summit Success and AMS" [Re: sumptimwong]
Steve C Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7908
Loc: Fresno, CA
From the paper:

The final variable with a significant relationship to AMS was the ingestion of analgesics, which included aspirin, acetaminophen, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. As in our summit study (27), analgesics use was associated with an increased risk of AMS; however, this finding is likely the result of trekkers with AMS taking analgesics to alleviate their symptoms rather than analgesics "causing" AMS.

Makes sense... if you're getting a headache, it's quite likely you will be taking something like ibuprofen, acetaminophen.

suptimwong: You're two nights at Horseshoe Meadows is the best AMS conditioning you can get!

#54820 - 03/15/19 04:21 PM Re: "Mt Whitney: Determinants of Summit Success and AMS" [Re: Steve C]
sumptimwong Online

Registered: 03/15/19
Posts: 34
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Thanks, Steve. Also I want to say thank you for being so active here on WZ. I have learned a tremendous amount from reading your posts over the last several years, as I'm sure countless lurkers have as well!