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Anybody had altitude sickness hunting in the mountains #7990087 09/27/20 09:36 PM
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Setting her with this dang broke foot watching hunting shows. One show the guy was hunting at really high elevation. Made me think about my issues with altitude sickness.

People ask me about how much elk/mule deer hunting I've done. I've made probably 4 trips, Colorado, Idaho etc. Every time but once I got elevation sickness. One time I got so sick I thought I was going to die. Needless to say, never took an Elk or Mule deer. Kind of hard to when so sick you can't raise your head.

I guess all those years living and working in Corpus Christi at near sea level didn't work in my favor.

Hunting at 5-8k feet didn't seem to bother me. But the flat top hunting Colorado is not for me at 8-12k

Anybody else have trouble with altitude sickness.


Thanks, Billy
Re: Anybody had altitude sickness hunting in the mountains [Re: Gringocazador] #7990108 09/27/20 09:59 PM
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Yep at about 11,000 feet headache, nausea and throwing up. Guide asked if I wanted to stay in. Hell no let’s skip the breakfast and just go. Got much better over next 24-30 hours.

Re: Anybody had altitude sickness hunting in the mountains [Re: Gringocazador] #7990109 09/27/20 09:59 PM
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Fortunately I do not get altitude sickness. Been up to 11,800’ with zero issues.


I do get sea sick really easy however


For it is not the quarry that we truly seek, but the adventure.
Re: Anybody had altitude sickness hunting in the mountains [Re: Gringocazador] #7990110 09/27/20 09:59 PM
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It happens. I haven’t experienced it, but never really been in the 10,000+ range since I was a kid. One of the guys I used to work with was on a job at the Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii and had some troubles. Interesting thing was he had been there several times previously without issues, but that time was not good. Almost got him a trip to the hospital. Does not sound like fun.

Re: Anybody had altitude sickness hunting in the mountains [Re: Gringocazador] #7990170 09/27/20 11:00 PM
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I've read if you are going to be hunting in a place at high altitude, it's best to go a couple of days early to get accumulated.

Re: Anybody had altitude sickness hunting in the mountains [Re: Gringocazador] #7990232 09/27/20 11:59 PM
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My cousin is a doctor and he is also a sheep hunter. Makes lots of trips way up high. He said the magic number is 8,000. If you get sick and it can
happen to anyone, get below 8,000 feet or you will not recover enough to continue hunting on that trip. Also, water....drink more than you can stand.
A headache is the first sign of altitude sickness.


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Re: Anybody had altitude sickness hunting in the mountains [Re: Gringocazador] #7990249 09/28/20 12:11 AM
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Alt sickness usually occurs above 10k elevation. Below that our bodies do a good job of adjusting without too much problem. There’s multiple variants, with HACE and HAPE being the worst, high altitude cerebral edema and pulmonary edema. Those can be life threatening. The normal variant of headache is not normally life threatening, but can transition quickly if not taken care of.

Increased water consumption helps, adjusting/acclimating for a day or two can help, but honestly if you have it, the best thing is to decent and give yourself time to recover before trying again. Dexemethasone can help, supplemental oxygen can help, but the only cure is decreasing elevation. Problem is a acid base issue with your body, to account for lower levels of oxygen in the blood the body shifts the acid base balance via the kidneys and tries to make up for the problem. Because it is a kidney acid base issue, being dehydrated is a huge detriment, so increasing water consumption is critical for anyone going to altitude, and research has shown vigorous exercise right before going to altitude (within 24 hrs) also is detrimental. The theory there is not just one of decreased fluids from the exercise, but one of circulating myoglobulins and other break down products of exercise that can clog up the kidney functions temporarily (even if unnoticed usually).

Re: Anybody had altitude sickness hunting in the mountains [Re: Gringocazador] #7990335 09/28/20 01:25 AM
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If you spend atleast one night +- 7k before spending night above 10k, you reduce your chances of getting by 60%.

As far as prescriptions Diamox and Cilais. Hydration is a huge given but easily forgotten

Altitude sickness isn’t fun but Pulmonary edema is bad bad. If you start coughing up water get to lower elevation quickly


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Re: Anybody had altitude sickness hunting in the mountains [Re: BOBO the Clown] #7990353 09/28/20 01:50 AM
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Originally Posted by BOBO the Clown
If you spend atleast one night +- 7k before spending night above 10k, you reduce your chances of getting by 60%.

As far as prescriptions Diamox and Cilais. Hydration is a huge given but easily forgotten

Altitude sickness isn’t fun but Pulmonary edema is bad bad. If you start coughing up water get to lower elevation quickly



Cialis?


For it is not the quarry that we truly seek, but the adventure.
Re: Anybody had altitude sickness hunting in the mountains [Re: Gringocazador] #7990361 09/28/20 01:57 AM
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One thing I learned pretty quick was to get to a lower elevation and stay there for a day, the next day go back up and would be ok for the most part.


Thanks, Billy
Re: Anybody had altitude sickness hunting in the mountains [Re: txtrophy85] #7990373 09/28/20 02:08 AM
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Originally Posted by txtrophy85
Originally Posted by BOBO the Clown
If you spend atleast one night +- 7k before spending night above 10k, you reduce your chances of getting by 60%.

As far as prescriptions Diamox and Cilais. Hydration is a huge given but easily forgotten

Altitude sickness isn’t fun but Pulmonary edema is bad bad. If you start coughing up water get to lower elevation quickly



Cialis?


Yes sorry misspelled it


Donate to TX Youth hunting program.... better to donate then to waste it in taxes

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Re: Anybody had altitude sickness hunting in the mountains [Re: Gringocazador] #7990375 09/28/20 02:18 AM
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I hunt a lot from 9-11K, and have had no ill effects in any of my trips. One thing I have going for me is a fairly high hemoglobin level, and good use of oxygen.Also, just like everyone has said, stay hydrated, taking iron supplements and vitamins A and B complex has been shown to help prepare you. Anytime you are going above 12K, you need to be very aware of all the symptoms of AMS and hypoxia, and descend immediately to lower elevations to recover. See a good physician experienced in high-altitude exertion for additional scrips such as Diamox.

Re: Anybody had altitude sickness hunting in the mountains [Re: Gringocazador] #7990378 09/28/20 02:22 AM
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Yep, years ago back packed up above tree line in the Flattops Wilderness area with bows for a DIY elk hunt with a friend. Young, stupid and in a hurry to hunt. We were in great shape and made it up the switchback trail to the top with a lot of light left. Heard elk bugling in the river basin and split up and headed that way after setting up the tent beside a nice little lake. Not long after we split the lower back of my head felt like a railroad spike was being driven into it. Vision was getting bad so I headed back to camp. Every step felt like my head would explode. my hunting buddy was having the same issues. We drank most of the water we had and force fed some noodles that we heated up. Couldn't really sleep and then about 3am all hell broke loose. a storm blew in and lightning was hitting all around us...it struck what few trees were there, the ground, everywhere. I thought we would get fried for sure. A lull in the storm came and we packed up and got off that mountain top with our heads about to explode. Crawled in the back of the truck at the lower altitude and slept all day. Felt like I had a bad hangover the next day.

As I remember the elevation was from 11000 t0 12990 on top with a 1800' climb from the truck to the top via the switchback trail. When we were on top there wasn't much of anything in sight above us.

Last edited by bronco71; 09/28/20 02:33 AM.
Re: Anybody had altitude sickness hunting in the mountains [Re: BOBO the Clown] #7990529 09/28/20 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by BOBO the Clown
Originally Posted by txtrophy85
Originally Posted by BOBO the Clown
If you spend atleast one night +- 7k before spending night above 10k, you reduce your chances of getting by 60%.

As far as prescriptions Diamox and Cilais. Hydration is a huge given but easily forgotten

Altitude sickness isn’t fun but Pulmonary edema is bad bad. If you start coughing up water get to lower elevation quickly



Cialis?


Yes sorry misspelled it



no that was a question that they prescribe Cialis for altitude sickness.


How in the hell is a boner at 10,000' gonna help with altitude sickness?


For it is not the quarry that we truly seek, but the adventure.
Re: Anybody had altitude sickness hunting in the mountains [Re: txtrophy85] #7990556 09/28/20 11:53 AM
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Plain ol alka seltzer is your best friend. Cures it and keeps you from getting it.


"Welcome to the desert of the real."
End of discussion and self analysis. Shoot the guilty and move on. Death is the only faithful thing in life.
Re: Anybody had altitude sickness hunting in the mountains [Re: Gringocazador] #7990584 09/28/20 12:25 PM
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Some of the guys I used to climb with used Dexamethasone but I'm not sure it would be applicable just for episodic trips to altitude. I do know hydration is important, and that HAPE and HACE can strike people that have gone years climbing and never had a problem previously with altitude related illness. If you want good info on the subject jump on some of the climbing forums, the guys that do high altitude climbing have a wealth of knowledge and it's a known entity in the community of mountaineering.

fwiw, when I used to fly I never had issues and I spent hours in unpressurized aircraft. I don'r recall anyone else that I flew with having issues.

Re: Anybody had altitude sickness hunting in the mountains [Re: aerangis] #7990632 09/28/20 01:22 PM
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I've at altitude sickness once. I recommend starting hydration and aspirin to thin your blood a few days before you leave.


God bless John Wayne!
Re: Anybody had altitude sickness hunting in the mountains [Re: txtrophy85] #7990651 09/28/20 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by txtrophy85
Originally Posted by BOBO the Clown
Originally Posted by txtrophy85
Originally Posted by BOBO the Clown
If you spend atleast one night +- 7k before spending night above 10k, you reduce your chances of getting by 60%.

As far as prescriptions Diamox and Cilais. Hydration is a huge given but easily forgotten

Altitude sickness isn’t fun but Pulmonary edema is bad bad. If you start coughing up water get to lower elevation quickly



Cialis?


Yes sorry misspelled it



no that was a question that they prescribe Cialis for altitude sickness.


How in the hell is a boner at 10,000' gonna help with altitude sickness?


I quote it’s decreases systolic pulmonary artery pressure... what ever that means.

But yes lots of stuff on it



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Re: Anybody had altitude sickness hunting in the mountains [Re: txtrophy85] #7990666 09/28/20 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by txtrophy85
Originally Posted by BOBO the Clown
Originally Posted by txtrophy85
Originally Posted by BOBO the Clown
If you spend atleast one night +- 7k before spending night above 10k, you reduce your chances of getting by 60%.

As far as prescriptions Diamox and Cilais. Hydration is a huge given but easily forgotten

Altitude sickness isn’t fun but Pulmonary edema is bad bad. If you start coughing up water get to lower elevation quickly



Cialis?


Yes sorry misspelled it



no that was a question that they prescribe Cialis for altitude sickness.


How in the hell is a boner at 10,000' gonna help with altitude sickness?



Sounds like a Bobo trip the mountains resembles closer to Deliverance than a hunting trip to me confused2


Originally Posted by Phil Robertson
Don't let your ears hear what your eyes didn't see, and don't let your mouth say what your heart doesn't feel
Re: Anybody had altitude sickness hunting in the mountains [Re: Judd] #7990718 09/28/20 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Judd



Sounds like a Bobo trip the mountains resembles closer to Deliverance than a hunting trip to me confused2


I’ve never gotten AMS(bad enough to make me come off mountain), HACE, Or HAPE. I’ve climb a few 14’ers also. I’ve never not spent at atleast on night at 7k/8k before going up to attempt to summit. I also try to not spend night above 10k if I can, for atleast two three days.

Even when I lived in CO, I was cognitive of where I stayed the night.

More people probably already have cilais then diamox. I keep diamox in my pack though



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Re: Anybody had altitude sickness hunting in the mountains [Re: Gringocazador] #7990768 09/28/20 02:36 PM
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I have taken at least a couple hundred kids backpacking in the Sangres over the years. It is rare that we don't have at least one case on a trip. Alka seltzer or baby aspirin does work if you can keep it down. Conditioning helps but I have had very in shape kids get sick. Hydration and going up slow helps the most! I take Zofran with me which is a common prescription nausea medication for emergency situations and this seems to help people get over it when it gets to the puking part. We live at 600' in DFW so driving to 8000' to start a hike in one day is a big jump.

Re: Anybody had altitude sickness hunting in the mountains [Re: Gringocazador] #7990869 09/28/20 04:16 PM
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I've seen several guys that need to change their maxipads at elevation but none that were legitimately sick.

Re: Anybody had altitude sickness hunting in the mountains [Re: ducknbass] #7991191 09/28/20 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by ducknbass
I've seen several guys that need to change their maxipads at elevation but none that were legitimately sick.



I’ve seen AMS a few times, but HAPE only once. When I was at the Academy we went and climbed San Luis. For reference we all lived at 7200ft and my buddy still got HAPE.


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Re: Anybody had altitude sickness hunting in the mountains [Re: Gringocazador] #7991227 09/28/20 09:46 PM
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I spend about 4 weeks per year in CO at 9100 feet. Sure, spending a night at lower elevation and adjusting gradually to elevation is one way to get acclimated. But many people either fly or drive in one day and that is not an option.

One of the best pieces of advice I can give is to drink lots of water with high potency electrolytes. I use Recover ORS (sold on Amazon) and I drink ~150 ounces of water in the first 24 hours I'm there. So many people are so happy and excited to be in the mountains that they drink too much alcohol on day 1. If you can avoid alcohol early on, that helps a lot with getting acclimated.

Re: Anybody had altitude sickness hunting in the mountains [Re: Gringocazador] #7991390 09/29/20 12:11 AM
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One of the best resources I have come across online is www.Altitude.org. This website provides an in-depth description of what Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)/Altitude sickness, High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) are, how they differ, symptoms of each and medical management for each. They also have created a "registry" for people that have suffered from "High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE)". I would be surprised if this website does not answer or address most of your questions regarding this topic.

I will defer from re-writing definitions, causes, etc of Altitude Sickness since the website does a great job at answering those.

Current recommendations for "PREVENTION" of altitude sickness are the following:

- Acclimatization: above 8,000ft, ascend no faster than you bodies ability to acclimate. Usually 24 hours for every 1,000ft above 8,000ft (some variation in consensus here). This is the BEST preventative treatment/option available. Once above 10,000 ft. move sleeping altitude to no more than 1,600ft in a day. Sleeping at high altitude produces the most hypoxemia; day trips to high altitude with return to low altitude are much less stressful on the body.

- Avoid vigorous/strenuous exercise at elevation until acclimated (roughly 48 hours). Even after acclimatization, go easy, giving your body time to recover.

- Don't smoke, drink alcohol or use medication such as tranquillisers and sleeping pills while you're at altitude, as they could make any symptoms of altitude sickness worse.

- Stay well hydrated.

- Consume a high calorie diet

There are only a handful of evidence based medications effective for prevention and treatment of Acute Mountain Sickness currently that I am aware of.
a. Acetazolamide (Diamox)- 125mg dose twice a day, started 24-48 hours prior to altitude exposure. This is the "go to prescription medication". Higher doses have no added benefit per research studies, yet are typically prescribed. Common side effects are tingling of the hands, toes and face, nausea, & drowsiness. If allergic to Penicillin or Sulfa drugs, this maybe contraindicated for your use.
A few supportive Articles:
http://jtm.oxfordjournals.org/content/19/5/281
http://www.bmj.com/content/328/7443/797

b. Ibuprofen - 600mg three times a day, started 6 hours prior to altitude exposure. Contraindicated if you have a history of stomach ulcers, GI bleed, liver or kidney failure among others. (Not as widely accepted as a preventative medication but support is growing).

A few supportive Articles:
https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2...chers-find.html
http://www.wemjournal.org/article/S1080-6032(12)00274-8/fulltext

c. Dexamethasone - typically used when one has a contraindication to Acetazolamide (I.e. sulphonamide allergy or COPD). While it is effective in preventing and aiding in treatment of AMS, some studies have shown it to inhibit the bodies ability to acclimatize. It also may cause some neurocognitive impairment, mimicking symptoms of AMS.

d. Tadalafil (Cialis)/Sildenafil (Viagra) - these are phosphodiesterase inhibitors which basically work by dilating pulmonary blood vessels thus lowering pulmonary artery pressures which decreases the drive of forcing fluid into the lung tissue decreasing pulmonary edema. These are not first line treatments of AMS Prevention but more geared towards HAPE treatments.

- If you start to develop mild symptoms stay at current altitude or descend
- DESCEND, DESCEND, DESCEND - only truly effective prevention once symptoms present

Current recommendations for TREATMENT for altitude sickness are:
- DESCEND, DESCEND, DESCEND

Really nothing else needs to be said regarding treatment. Once you have true symptoms if you don't descend, much of the above including medications aren't going to have a big impact. You have to descend down the mountain.

As for herbal remedies ie. Gingko biloba - has had widely conflicting results and is not currently recommended. Anti-oxidants (Vit C, E ,& Alpha-lipoeic acid) and magnesium have not shown to be effective. Other remedies/treatments are out there but there is little to no valid literature to support it's use. That's not to say they are not effective. Some haven't been studied in small or large trials.

In the end, use what works for you under direction of a medical professional. Common sense and educating yourself is key. I would seek medical advice prior to taking any of the above as each of us have our own problems/issues. Self medicating can get us in trouble even when it comes to herbal remedies or over the counter medications. I would encourage you to look at the Altitude.org website. Some extremely valuable information there.

Last edited by Theringworm; 09/29/20 12:12 AM.
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