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Acclimating Suggestion - Thoughts?
It has been 16 years since I camped/hunted above 11,000'. That is going to change in a couple weeks. I'm planning to arrive a few days prior to the season opener for the acclimating benefit. Original plan was to drive from Indiana to Colorado Springs on day one at spend the night at 6,000'+. Then finish the trek to the hunt area the following morning and spend two days/nights in the high country.
It has been suggested to me that I would benefit from spending day two at Pike's Peak (14,000') instead of the hunt area (11,500'). Shuttle (or drive if allowed) to the peak. Spend a few hours, shuttle down to one of the lower lots for an hour. Shuttle back up to the peak and repeat.
Personally I would not go the route of Pikes Peak up and down, because I know that is something that bothers me. Quick elevation changes of that magnitude up and down seem to mess with me some, but everyone is probably a little different. Your original plan with a lot of drinking water mixed in sounded good to me. You're hunting sheep at 11.5k and not goats at 13.5k right? To me that is a pretty significant difference and the latter would have me significantly more concerned.
I agree with Franzen. Altitude has never bothered me and I've been as high as 18k but you will feel the effects when you go from say 6K to 14K in a matter of minutes.
For most people, life changes above 13K, I'd think you will be below that in there. As suggested, I'd go with your first option.
If possible get a couple days to camp or hang out at a good elevation to allow your body to slowly get used to the lower amounts of oxygen. If you do feel week, tired while up high, sit down and drink lots of water and have a good snack. Taking your time is key.
I'd start taking Diamox a couple of days before leaving home. Continue first few days at altitude. This always allows me to sleep much better the first few nights at higher altitude.
If I hydrate well on the way up to camp, I can usually somewhat acclimate within a day. I try to limit my first day hunt to something "less extreme". After that, I pull out all the stops.
Every day, it gets a little easier to manage the mountains. You'll be a warrior by the time you return!
You will not be here long enough to get truly acclimated.
It takes months to build up the red blood cells to carry more O2.
You can reduce the effects of high altitude and the associated dehydration by drinking lots of water. I have heard that roll aids can help, not sure the physiology. Aspirin can help with the headaches. There are some products out there that are supposed to help from wilderness athlete. You may need to start early.
Being in good shape helps a lot for recovery, but it can still get you. I have a buddy that is a serious marathon runner and he has been whipped coming up and hunting above treeline with me. The only guy that has done really well up high that I have hunted with is my Peruvian buddy, but he hunts at 14,000-17,000’ a lot so he is acclimated to very high altitudes.
You will do best to come up to altitude as early as possible and take it easy hiking around. Drink lots of water and avoid alcohol and caffeine. Drop down in elevation if you start feeling bad. Make sure someone knows where you are and can check on you if you don’t check in.
+1 on the Diamox.
So excited for you, Paul!
Which unit are you hunting?
Thanks for the detailed feedback guys. Based on the responses, I'm going to pass on Pike's Peak and stick with the original plan. Spend a couple easy days in the hunt area, enjoy the views, take some short hikes and maybe wet a line.
Franzen, yes this is a sheep hunt in S35. Camp will be roughly 11,500'...highest peak in the unit being roughly 12,400'. Anticipating spending the majority of my time >12,000' on this hunt.
He posted in another thread that it was S35
Edit: his response beat me to it
Did I mention you guys are the best! Bowsite rocks!!!!
That can be a very tough unit. The sheep are not necessarily up high. Look for them lower in the rocky areas down in the trees as well.
pav, be sure to jump on the RMBS website forums. Link posted for your convenience. Your guide would’ve been Al Vallejo but sadly, he passed away a couple of months ago. He knew that unit well. I assume his son, Garrett, will be guiding you? Sangre is a great outfitter. I hope you get to spend a little bit of time with Tom Schultze. Tom’s the best.
I ran the Pikes Peak Ascent race 3x and was living in Texas. Two times I arrived a day or two before the race. Once I spent 8 days in the mountains at 7 to 10,000 feet to prepare. I was just a recreational runner and there was no difference in my result. The Pikes Peak marathon website advised at the time that it takes 2 weeks at altitude to make a real difference. In my opinion, any time at altitude is better than no time. Good luck on your hunt.
Start taking B-12 and Iron tablets about 2 wks before you go out west. Will help in building up red blood cells for higher altitudes. U.S. pilots did this in WWII to deal with thinner air when flying.
A day or 2 in elevation should be enough....the most important part is where you sleep. Sleeping in the elevation is more important than spending the day, so to speak. Let`s put this "antacid theory" to bed once and for all. All it does is make you feel better if your nauseous. Diamox actually acidifies your blood aiding in acclimation.
I've actually been a RMBS member ever since my first Colorado sheep application 19 years ago. Been in contact with Tony Marostica (RMBS herd manager for S35) off and on all summer. There is some good info regarding the Greenhorns on the RMBS website, albeit a bit dated. That Spring Creek fire definitely had me sweating it there for awhile.
Talked to Tom earlier this week. Garrett will be in camp for my hunt, but the primary guide will be Chris. Tom said he will be back and forth between S35 and S49 all week. I'll be hunting with Sangre de Cristo the first week of season (with an option to add a few days). Could be up there hunting solo a significant portion of the season. Plan is to hunt until the tag is punched or the sun sets on August 30th....whichever comes first!
Again, I appreciate all the feedback guys!
Easy solution! Athletes and Mountaineers have been doing this for a while- Rent an "Altitude Chamber" and start sleeping in it at least 2 weeks prior to your hunt at home. That way you can get your benefit of "Sleep High, Train low" and have a full 2 weeks jump start on the altitude. Your mention of Pikes Peak brings back many memories of my sheep hunt there last year!
Diamox, leave for leadville tomorrow for some 14ers and started taking it this morning. I've never had a problem with altitude.
Go to your local high school track starting five weeks before your hunt.
1. Sprint the straights and jog or walk the turns for as many reps as you can. Do this twice per week for four weeks. Do not do it the week before you leave for the hunt.
You need to train your body to adjust to the lack of oxygen you'll experience at high altitudes and this will do it. When you sprint, you go anaerobic, which means 'without oxygen.'
Lungs adapt very quickly to the amount of oxygen available.
2. The night before you pack in, if you can, stay at a motel at a high elevation, then once you arrive, go out for a 4-7 mile run or fast hike
You'll be amazed how much this helps.
See also the Bowsite feature my partner and I did for Pat a few years ago.
I don't know squat about sheep hunting, and very little about extreme elevation, but GOOD LUCK and take pictures !
I too am a Rolaids guy even though I live in 1 of the Rocky Mnt. states and hike plenty up high, it isn't the same as staying up high (9k--12k) a week or more so I carry Rolaids and drink plenty of water.
Very excited for ya Paul--------->
You sure have done quite well out here in the Rockies with your bow and your hunts!
Good luck, Robb