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Altitude tablets and rehydration packets
I'm headed out west for the first time elk hunting with a bow. I've been hiking and training. what is the deal with rehydration and altitude tablets before going out our Hunts will probably be around 9 thousand feet
Drink a lot of water. Give yourself a day at 9000 to acclimate. There is nothing here in WI to do that will help. If you were sleeping at 11000 i would say get a Diamox prescription from your doc but you should be ok at 9000. First day headache. Maybe some loss of appetite. Nothing serious.
Get a prescription of Diamox. It’s cheap, only take it for a few days, and worth it’s weight in gold!
9k? Piece o cake.
You prob won’t need anything. Get up to 10k+ is where problems start happening to people
A person's ability to deal with high altitude is physiological and everybody is different. It is not based on fitness. Very fit people can be stricken by altitude sickness and total couch potatoes may not suffer any ill effects.
The best thing way to acclimate is to slowly work your way up to elevation, but I understand that is difficult when time is limited and you are traveling for a hunt. Flying from low elevation to a place like Denver and then driving up to 9000 feet the same day would be the riskiest way to travel to the hunt, but many people do it and are fine. This also happens a lot with skiers coming to Colorado, most do fine but some get sick.
Altitude sickness can happen at elevations above 8000 feet so at 9000 feet you will be at the lower end of the spectrum. I was on top of a 14,000' peak a few weeks ago and three people arrived at the summit. Two of the three were doing fine (a female in her 60s and a female in her 30s) but one was definitely hurting (a male in his 30s and he didn't look to be out of shape). The younger couple had flown into Denver from D.C. the previous day.
OTC "altitude tablets" are gimmicks in my opinion. If you are very concerned that you will have altitude issues, Diamox is the drug used by climbers as a preventative. It must be prescribed so you'd need to discuss it with a doctor. Though I would think that Diamox, in most cases, would be overkill. And the biggest joke are those little cans of oxygen they sell in stores, a total waste of money. Staying hydrated is very important. I'm not familiar with "rehydration packets" by name, just drink lots of non-alcoholic fluids.
A saying in the climbing community is climb high, sleep low. Just being short of breath isn't necessarily altitude sickness. You should be concerned about altitude sickness If you start getting headaches that won't go away with aspirin, Tylenol, etc. and/or unexplained nausea. The best solution is to go lower until you feel better. Simple altitude sickness rarely kills people but it will make a person feel quite miserable. However, if you get to feeling so bad that you don't want to get up, you are in trouble and need medical attention.
All that said, odds of being ok at 9000' are in your favor. Good luck on your elk hunt!!
No alcohol the night before heading up to elevation...like Aluminum Rain says, super hydrate on the way up.
You should acclimate in about a Day...my first trip, I just wondered why I was out of breath with so little exertion. Gets easier every Day.
Thanks I need all the help I can get!!
Stay away from alcohol and carbonation (soda pop). I've been told to take couple aspirin tables every day for a couple weeks prior to going - that will help to thin blood a bit. Drink lots of water - if you are peeing yellow you need to drink more.
We hunt at about 9,300, one of our group was affected by it one year - dizzy, disorientated, headaches, blurred vision. He stayed in camp and drank lots of water and came out of it in a day - retrospect we should have gotten him to lower elevation as alt sick its no joke - it can kill you!
Water, Water and more water! Start drinking water a week out and lots of it. You should be good to go.
Coming from a mere 600 ft elevation where I live....if I'm planning to camp high, say anything above 9000 feet, I like to take it easy for at least the first day after arriving. Would prefer to take more time to acclimate, but of course that's rarely practical, since, like most guys, I don't have unlimited time. I drive to a modest elevation and relax there, staying well hydrated, and will usually sleep the first night at 7500 to 8000 feet of elevation before doing any real climbing. The second day I'll go to the trail head, where I slowly climb to the desired elevation to set up camp. All the while drinking way more water than seems necessary. Works pretty well for me, but I'm not overly susceptible to altitude sickness. The only pills I've ever tried are Ginkgo Biloba, but IMO the jury is still out on whether this supplement actually does a speck of good.
I have a problem with electrolyte imbalance and muscle cramping after strenuous activity. One of the best electrolyte replacement I have been using is called "Liquid I.V." It comes in skinny packages and is a powder you add to any drink.
I start a Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen program before and during the trip. I use 600mg 3-4X daily.....you can use either but the Ibuprofen users had a smaller % of altitude sickness.
Diamox IS overkill and not really needed at that elevation. The side effects sucks and are worse than the altitude sickness you will have for the first few days in the mountains.
Cnelk is right. Big difference once you hit 10,000 compared to 9. Truly the best thing you can do is show up a few days early and do some light hiking even at camp elevation if it’s only 6000-7000 feet. Most likely the only symptoms you’ll experience is dry mouth and a slight headache. But as was also mentioned everyone is different. If you have any type of health condition it could flare up. But I’ve seen people become ill... really ill, and get relief simply by dropping down to 6000 feet. Also if you are camping below 7000 feet and only going above that daily to hunt there’s a big difference compared to camping at 8 and above. Whatever you do don’t over exert yourself on day 1. Good luck!!!
People that come from low elevations cannot acclimate in a day. It's impossible. It takes your body a couple weeks or longer to truly acclimate 100%. Your cells actually have to change. Like MulePower said a few days with increasingly more strenuous excercise is the way to go.
I'm in the same situation as Chad who started this thread (1st time elk hunter) but I'll be camping at 10,500 ft. The peak is 14,000. We will hunt where we find the elk whether higher or lower. I presume advice is generally the same? We will try to acclimate but won't have a lot of lead time for this 6 day hunt.
Little Bear, you could be screwed :-) Everyone is different, going from W. VA to 10,500 could do nothing to you, or could put you in bed. That's a big jump. I now live at ~5000, been here for 5 months, when I go hiking at 8500+ I can feel it. - no booze - lots of water - take it easy
Camping above 10 and hunting above that... you won’t be acclimated for 10 days. What makes you think you need to hunt so high anyway?
LIttle Bear- If you stick with those elevations, I would suggest Diamox, (Or generic substitute). No guarantees, but a copay is cheap insurance. I have not experienced much for symptoms, (But I don't drink pop). Your @ss will be kicked for a few days. By day 4, you are pretty much who you are going to be for the rest of the hunt. Worst thing you can do is trying to pack 3 days of hunting into day 1. You will pay for it, dearly. Pace yourself for the first 3 days at elevation.
Just go to Wilderness Athlete website and buy Altitude Advantage. Take a week before going and every day you’re there. It works.
Mule Power, I was simply stating the max height. As I've been advised, hunt the elk where you find them, so hopefully they will be at 6,000 ft and we can go down from camp but my four-some is determined to hunt where we find them (high or low). Appreciate all advice from those who have been there and done it to learn from your experience.
Just remember the bulls will be where the cows are and the cows will be where life is best for the calves. I find that’s usually a bit lower. Not 6000 feet but less than 10. Of course like answer to most questions that’s based on where I hunt. Good luck!
Little Bear, go to your doctor and get a script for generic Diamox (Acetazolamide). Start taking it a day before you leave home. Take it for 2 or 3 days after you arrive. It's cheap and proven to help prevent AMS. See my link or just google it. I wouldn't risk it on an unproven supplement that probably costs more. Have fun and good luck!
We live at 5k and my wife’s had altitude sickness at 8800 feet. I wouldn’t say problems don’t start until 10k because it can maybe not commonly but at the same time why risk it if you don’t know your body at altitude? September only comes once a year.
I went to Colorado for the first time when I was 30. I was a bodybuilder and very fit in those days. I never even knew about altitude sickness and for the next 4-5 years everything was fine. Then one year we went and set up camp which is 8600 feet. We were there a few days early and one day went to Rifle to buy some stuff for the wives and kids, and on the way back up the mountain a few miles from camp I started to get sick. Even though I was driving it felt like motion sickness. As the day progressed I got sicker and sicker. We were suppose to backpack up the mountain and bivey that night but I was to sick and so I stayed behind. I vomited a lot and that's something I have never done more than a half dozen times in my whole life. I went to a doctor and found out that I had altitude sickness.
Since then I've never gone to Colorado, which I have once or twice a year for the last 36 years without taking Diamox, and have never once experienced it again.
I see people talking about taking aspirin or this or that and not having any problems. Well you probably wouldn't have had any problems anyway. Diamox is a cheap insurance in something that you wait all year for. You start taking it 48 hours before you go up and that's it.
Well almost...… It does have a couple of side effects like tingling lips and the inability to drink anything carbonated, but for me, all I ever drink is water and I drink over a gallon of it every day of my life so it doesn't matter. I usually quit taking it after about the 3rd or 4th day on the mountain.
Stay away from the booze while hunting. I only time i have had altitude sickness was when i was drinking in camp.
If you have time, take an extra day to spend at 7000-8000' before going on up to your hunting elevation. Take it easy. Force water down your gullet constantly. It will make a huge difference. If you get to feeling bad, headaches, pack up immediately and get below 8000' and spend a day or two before going back.
Can't imagine trying to take it easy for even the first day on an elk hunt.
sleep at altitude!
sleep at altitude!
Get one of these altitude tents and start sleeping in it a month before!
I get altitude sickness at sea level if I have too much alcohol. :-)
That’s “attitude” sickness, Brotsky!
My partner gets ill at 5000 feet. Last year camping at 10,600 he laid in his cot and puked yellow bile for 2 days. Then was good to go. My doctor said for him to try viagra?!? Altitude advantage from WIlderness athlete has worked well for me. Lots of water, and no booze til we come out
I take Viagra every night when camping on the mountain. It keeps me from rolling off.
Franklin mentioned “liquid IV” for cramping. Anyone else have anything else they’ve had good luck with for relieving cramps......besides Midol!
Glad I mentioned this lots of good ideas. No booze and take some Viagra. Probably wait for both till I get home.
I brought this up to begin with cuz I remember going to co 15-20 years ago and a guy we went with gun hunting, Appeared to be in go shape was worthless the entire week and spent most time at base camp. He was sick at the time and we had no idea what was wrong with him.
Don't think Viagra was around back then? If I knew anyone I hunted with rolled like that. Call me the solo, diy man.
"Franklin mentioned “liquid IV” for cramping. Anyone else have anything else they’ve had good luck with for relieving cramps......besides Midol!"
For the last 5 or 6 years I have been taking potassium and magnesium supplements (pills) that help reduce most of the cramps. If I sweat real hard during the day doing yard work or whatever....I know I still need to drink alot of water prior to going to bed. Otherwise I'll be paying the price with severe leg cramps in the middle of the night. It sucks as it feels like the muscle is going to separate and there is nothing you can do except take the pain and ride it out.
A friend that guides got High altitude pulmonary edema. He had been to the same location sheep hunting many times before but for some reason one time about killed him. He said if he’d been by himself or the wrong people he would have died. He passed out and couldn’t breathe. One of the guides was an EMT and the hunter was a fireman and knew first aide also. One of the fellas had an asthma inhaler that allowed him some relief to head downhill while the hunt went on. He passed out in the dark and fell off the trail. Fortunately when the rest of the party came down they spotted him. He might have even had cerebral edema since he would pass out. He was bed ridden the next day. Be prepared to deal with it. You might have never had it before at the same altitude but that doesn’t mean you’re completely safe. GOOGLE it and learn about it and how to treat it. Just might save your life or someone else’s.
Just stay hydrated. It's your best defense. Personally I crack a cold one as soon as I hit the gravel road in NF I'm hunting......doesn't matter what time of day or night.
I dunno man...I think you better let your hunting partner know you plan on cranking out viagra if you’re sharing a tent. Just sayin. May bring two tents for that situation.
I had my annual physical today and my Dr. advised against it and said to stay hydrated in advance of going to Co. I will be at 9000 feet.
Shedhead is correct. Viagra can be used for altitude sickness. However Cialis is the better choice because its half life is more than 4 times longer than viagra. I know a doctor here that uses it. A different set of side effects than Diamox.
My wife and I were visiting a friend who lives in S. Lake Tahoe a couple of weeks ago and she got altitude sickness. She had a headache, bloodshot eyes, stomach cramps and huge water retention. The day after we got home she weighed 8 pounds less than the day we got home. Elevation by the lake is 6200 feet. I went on two hikes up the mountain from there gaining about 600 feet and had no issues other than a headache when we first got there and bloodshot eyes the whole 5 days we were there. We live on the NJ shore with an elevation of about 2 feet. I noticed my heart rate was 3-5 beats per minute higher while there too. Curious how I will react to hunting at 9-11k in Colorado in a few weeks?
I took Diamox last year for our elk hunt. Wow, changed my taste buds. Stuff tasted weird, especially liquids. I mean REALLY messed them up.
Ditto the altitude simulation tent. It's not perfect, but does help. You can rent them now from some manufacturers... I think Hypoxico rents for example. 1-2 months would help a bit.
Someone mentioned Ibuprofen. Given a lot of hiking in the mtns likely comes with fluid loss (IE, potential, or more realistically, becoming some what dehydrated) be real cautious with Ibu and it's family of NSAID's. Plenty of data out there regarding kidney damage odds going up when using NSAIDS during endurance activity - a challenging elk/sheep/goat hunt would sure count. Just be cautious and hydrate well if you simply can not use Tylenol or similar options.
Performance goes down steadily for a non acclimated to altitude person. So pace yourself - GO SLOW. For example, at only 6k you only have about 88% of your aerobic ability available... Go up to 9K and you are down to about 82%... 10 to 11K and you are 77-80%. So... even if you dont get altitude sickness (most dont at that altitude), you still need to manage pacing, especially when climbing, since your engine size is really reduced and given aerobic metabolism controls recovery rate... if you go to hard on a pitch, it will take longer to recover from that effort. So, again, manage your pacing!
Stay hydrated, make sure you eat enough carbohydrate (less oxygen going from the air to your blood ultimately means a higher % of your fuel mix is coming from carbohydrate than body fat regardless of effort level, so a diet with plenty of carbohydrate and snacks on the trail/hunt can really help)... And should you start having those odd symptoms of altitude illness noted above, get down lower, ASAP.
Mostly though, enjoy the heck out of it. Should be a really fun hunt!
Awesome advice here. Thanks
The only time I take Viagra on the mountain is when I forget my tent poles.
I've summited Mt Whitney at 14500ish and not suffered altitude sickness. I've also hiked in Alaska at much lower altitude and become so sick I had to leave the group and head down, puking and sh>>ing all the way. Get the Diamox it can save your trip, why chance it?
JL hit on I good point....I forgot to mention the Magnesium and Potassium. I take that as well along with B-12.
LMBO Midwest!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : )