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Could I do Aconcagua?

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Re: Could I do Aconcagua?

Postby ibelieveindevil » Thu Sep 05, 2013 4:23 pm

did you take any altitude medication when in Elbrus?
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Re: Could I do Aconcagua?

Postby drManhattan » Fri Sep 06, 2013 7:18 am

I have never taken any altitude medication anywhere.
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Re: Could I do Aconcagua?

Postby radson » Sat Sep 07, 2013 5:23 am

drManhattan wrote:I have never taken any altitude medication anywhere.


I think it prudent to read up on Altitude sickness and have some medications on you.

http://ciwec-clinic.com/health-information/altitude-illness-advice-for-the-trekker/

http://medex.org.uk//medex_book/Book%20update%20June%202011/English/TravelSafeHighv27.pdf
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Re: Could I do Aconcagua?

Postby ibelieveindevil » Sat Sep 07, 2013 6:01 am

drManhattan wrote:I have never taken any altitude medication anywhere.


then i strongly recommend you to take it when you do your aconcagua climb.

basic about altitude sickness: air gets thinner up there, depending on personal training, living altitude and fitness, one may need help from 3000m onwards.
a basic guide is that a healthy person training at sea level may need altitude sickness pill, something like Diamox or Acetazolamide, or other traditional medication above 3000m to around 7000m. Traditional medication do have slower effect and requires consumption 1 week before the climb.

above 7000m, one would require artificial oxygen.

Here is the thing, people experience different level of effect above 3000m, some need medication to proceed, others only need to slow down their pace to continue. However, the thing is, everyone do experience some form of discomfort. and when HACE hit, it can be very hard.

The common side effects of these medication is headache and tingling feeling, which can be unwelcoming for a technical climb, but that shouldnt affact you in a mountain like aconcagua or kilimanjaro.

You probably going to hear a lot of people telling you that it is not important for the medication, proper acclamatization is the key. The thing is, they know too little about altitude sickness. Altitude sickness is not just about unable to proceed, it is a matter of life and death. Nobody knows the condition of the mountain, so it would be bad if you are stuck with altitude sickness and the rescue team nor you can move under heavy blizzard.

Do read about this trip report regarding the mount shasta tragedy. it is about HACE, and those 2 guys are seasoned climbers.
http://www.summitpost.org/against-all-h ... sta/626323
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Re: Could I do Aconcagua?

Postby Catamount » Sat Sep 07, 2013 12:53 pm

I use Diamox in small doses basically anytime I go above 12K feet. Wouldn't recommend it for everyone as some acclimate quicker than others but your sluggish performance on Elbrus may not have been a lack of fitness but a personal physiology that doesn't adjust to altitude as well as others.

I'm planning on Denali in a little under 2 years. I will use as much Diamox as I feel I need and am not sure I'd have much of a chance without it. No shame in using doctor-prescribed Diamox to increase performance IMO ... we're not professional athletes here. Just hobbyists trying to get maximum enjoyment out of our mountain travels. The mountains aren't much fun if you feel like shit.
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Re: Could I do Aconcagua?

Postby Damien Gildea » Mon Sep 09, 2013 8:47 am

drManhattan wrote:I have never taken any altitude medication anywhere.


then i strongly recommend you to take it when you do your aconcagua climb.


Take what? Based on what? IGNORE

a basic guide is that a healthy person training at sea level may need altitude sickness pill, something like Diamox or Acetazolamide, or other traditional medication above 3000m to around 7000m.


No - a basic guide is take your time, stay hydrated and only use medication if regular symptoms of altitude - headache, nausea, dizziness, breathing problems - become serious. There is NO SUCH THING as an 'altitude sickness pill' and the fact that this poster is suggesting that indicates their ignorance. IGNORE

Traditional medication do have slower effect and requires consumption 1 week before the climb.


This statement is both false and nonsensical and the '1 week' is absolutely meaningless bullshit. IGNORE.

above 7000m, one would require artificial oxygen.


No, you do not 'require' artificial oxygen above 7000m. People choose to use it to more easily and safely ascend to summits over 8000m and do not usually start to use it until their last, or second last camp, depending how much assistance they need and how much money they have. Plenty of mountains are climbed by many people every year over 7000m and they do not use artificial oxygen.

You probably going to hear a lot of people telling you that it is not important for the medication, proper acclamatization is the key.


Which is correct. Medication - Diamox, dexamethasone etc - is only needed if if undrugged acclimatisation has not worked or serious symptoms occur suddenly higher up. They are not aids to progress for most climbers in most situations.

The thing is, they know too little about altitude sickness.


They know more than you, who have shown yourself to be dangerously ignorant and arrogantly presumptuous.



This reply by 'ibelieveindevil' is one of the worst advice posts I have ever seen on Summitpost. :o

drManhattan, please IGNORE this guy. I have climbed Aconcagua twice unguided, various other summits over 6000-7000m and live in Australia. PM me for more info.
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Re: Could I do Aconcagua?

Postby Damien Gildea » Mon Sep 09, 2013 8:56 am

drManhattan wrote:I don't think I am particularly fit. I just summited Elbrus last week and that felt very hard.


'Very hard' is meaningless without context Mr drManhattan! How old are you? Do you have a history of exercise? Had you done any trekking/walking much before?

How long did your Elbrus expedition allow to do the climb? Most commercial expeditions are too rushed.
How long did your summit day take? Way too many commercial mountain clients suffer too much on summit days, or fail, because they are insufficiently acclimatised to make the summit safely and enjoyably. They only just make it and are too extended and exhausted if anything goes wrong.

The other posts by radson in this thread are good advice.

Living in Australia is no excuse and irrelevant for these kinds of climbs. You can do Aconcagua safely and enjoyably in 3-4 weeks from Australia. If you're worried about your performance, allow 4 weeks, go out to the Cordon del Plata - a 1hr, $50 taxi ride to 3500m - and hike up and camp and maybe climb a hill there, then come back to Mendoza, have a shower and a few steaks and head out to Aconcagua. Spend two nights at Confluencia and three days at Mulas BC before you even set foot on the route.
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Re: Could I do Aconcagua?

Postby Scott » Mon Sep 09, 2013 1:27 pm

Agree with Damien about the acclimatization issues and medications.

Also be aware that Diamox can have unpleasant side effects. I admit that I have taken it once because I got food poisoning at the Houston Airport on the way down to Ecuador and missed several of our acclimatization climbs. The side effects were unpleasant.

It's a good thing to along just in case, but no substitute for acclimatization. People sometimes abuse the medications (especially on "tourist mountains") by taking some and still ascending even when they are not properly acclimatized.

I would only take it if you need it and wouldn't take it just to ascend higher if you are already experiencing any type of AMS.
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Re: Could I do Aconcagua?

Postby ibelieveindevil » Mon Sep 09, 2013 2:51 pm

Damien Gildea wrote:
drManhattan wrote:I have never taken any altitude medication anywhere.


then i strongly recommend you to take it when you do your aconcagua climb.


Take what? Based on what? IGNORE

a basic guide is that a healthy person training at sea level may need altitude sickness pill, something like Diamox or Acetazolamide, or other traditional medication above 3000m to around 7000m.


No - a basic guide is take your time, stay hydrated and only use medication if regular symptoms of altitude - headache, nausea, dizziness, breathing problems - become serious. There is NO SUCH THING as an 'altitude sickness pill' and the fact that this poster is suggesting that indicates their ignorance. IGNORE

Traditional medication do have slower effect and requires consumption 1 week before the climb.


This statement is both false and nonsensical and the '1 week' is absolutely meaningless bullshit. IGNORE.

above 7000m, one would require artificial oxygen.


No, you do not 'require' artificial oxygen above 7000m. People choose to use it to more easily and safely ascend to summits over 8000m and do not usually start to use it until their last, or second last camp, depending how much assistance they need and how much money they have. Plenty of mountains are climbed by many people every year over 7000m and they do not use artificial oxygen.

You probably going to hear a lot of people telling you that it is not important for the medication, proper acclamatization is the key.


Which is correct. Medication - Diamox, dexamethasone etc - is only needed if if undrugged acclimatisation has not worked or serious symptoms occur suddenly higher up. They are not aids to progress for most climbers in most situations.

The thing is, they know too little about altitude sickness.


They know more than you, who have shown yourself to be dangerously ignorant and arrogantly presumptuous.



This reply by 'ibelieveindevil' is one of the worst advice posts I have ever seen on Summitpost. :o

drManhattan, please IGNORE this guy. I have climbed Aconcagua twice unguided, various other summits over 6000-7000m and live in Australia. PM me for more info.


well i guess i just ignore everysingle ignore that you give cause you seems to provide nothing in explaination as well. oh feel free to give your life. dont expect everyone tobe the same as you, because a simple hike can lead to death at kili because too many people think that they can acclimatise like you. the very fact that these medication even exist simple prove that acclamitaisation is not enough for most people.
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Re: Could I do Aconcagua?

Postby Catamount » Mon Sep 09, 2013 3:18 pm

It always seems that this turns into a contentious issue every time it comes up. Not sure why. It's been pretty thoroughly proven that different individuals react differently to altitude. The most responsible thing that anyone can do is study up on the issue and make decisions based on how he/she feels and reacts at/to altitude. One or two mountains (even if fairly high) may not yet be enough to understand your own physiology.

I like the below-linked website. Explains the issues fairly well and also explains exactly what Diamox does to you and why it works ...

http://www.traveldoctor.co.uk/altitude.htm
Last edited by Catamount on Mon Sep 09, 2013 3:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Could I do Aconcagua?

Postby ibelieveindevil » Mon Sep 09, 2013 3:19 pm

Scott wrote:Agree with Damien about the acclimatization issues and medications.

Also be aware that Diamox can have unpleasant side effects. I admit that I have taken it once because I got food poisoning at the Houston Airport on the way down to Ecuador and missed several of our acclimatization climbs. The side effects were unpleasant.

It's a good thing to along just in case, but no substitute for acclimatization. People sometimes abuse the medications (especially on "tourist mountains") by taking some and still ascending even when they are not properly acclimatized.

I would only take it if you need it and wouldn't take it just to ascend higher if you are already experiencing any type of AMS.


well, the effect of diamox depends a lot on individual kidney, and the normally doctors will recommend you to take the pills 2 days before the climb, as the effect may be too slow when you really need it.

side effects of diamox are not where near unplasent for me, in fact the side effect is so weak for me that i only manage to realised the tingling feeling of my fingers when i touch my face in cold wind. but i never mentioned that in my previous post, for the simple reason that i know that people react differently to medication. if you guys think that everyone is like you, then i wonder if the topic should be changed to "can you do aconcagua?"

also note that some people can have all the time and cash you want to go around the world to climb mountains, while some others need to really squeeze out the time for that. So imagine when you are at 5000m ASL, struck with light AMS, your climbing partner seems worried and pissed at the same time. this is his first aconcagua climb. He took the medication and you didnt, because when he told you so, you told him that somebody told you that it is not needed. Now you seems screwed, but he is the one paying for you. he need to call a rescue team, he need to take care of you, he need to give up his trip, and he need to go back to work for another 6 months without taking leaves because of you.

Just a simple note for reminder in case somebody never learn to read properly.

I never says that proper acclimatisation is not important.
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Re: Could I do Aconcagua?

Postby Sarah Simon » Mon Sep 09, 2013 4:10 pm

Standard Disclaimer: Mountaineering is an inherently dangerous activity. If the risks make you uncomfortable enough that you anguish over climbing decisions in a public forum, reconsider your choice of hobby and/or climbing objectives.

Enjoy your climbing and be safe. Life is stressful enough; don't stress yourself over climbing plans.
Go climb a mountain
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Re: Could I do Aconcagua?

Postby Scott » Mon Sep 09, 2013 4:20 pm

well, the effect of diamox depends a lot on individual kidney, and the normally doctors will recommend you to take the pills 2 days before the climb, as the effect may be too slow when you really need it.

side effects of diamox are not where near unplasent for me, in fact the side effect is so weak for me that i only manage to realised the tingling feeling of my fingers when i touch my face in cold wind. but i never mentioned that in my previous post, for the simple reason that i know that people react differently to medication. if you guys think that everyone is like you, then i wonder if the topic should be changed to "can you do aconcagua?"

also note that some people can have all the time and cash you want to go around the world to climb mountains, while some others need to really squeeze out the time for that. So imagine when you are at 5000m ASL, struck with light AMS, your climbing partner seems worried and pissed at the same time. this is his first aconcagua climb. He took the medication and you didnt, because when he told you so, you told him that somebody told you that it is not needed. Now you seems screwed, but he is the one paying for you. he need to call a rescue team, he need to take care of you, he need to give up his trip, and he need to go back to work for another 6 months without taking leaves because of you.

Just a simple note for reminder in case somebody never learn to read properly.

I never says that proper acclimatisation is not important.


I am not against anyone bringing it or taking it (in fact it's probably a good idea to have it along just in case), but only agreeing with Damien that some of the information you provided is incorrect.

For example; no doctors I know recommend the drug for a normal climber for any peak above 3000 meter peak, especially if one is expecting to climb Aconcagua. This is not normal or a “basic rule” as you seem to be claiming.

Where did you hear to start the drug a week in advance before starting a climb? No medical information I have seen backs this up. It is true that it can take 12-48 hours for Diamox to take effect, but this doesn’t mean you take it a week before you even set foot on the climb.

Also, you say that above 7000 meters, supplemental oxygen is required. Very few expeditions (almost none) use supplemental oxygen for a 7000 meter peak except for in emergency situations. 8000 meter peaks, yes, many expeditions do.

Statements like this; You probably going to hear a lot of people telling you that it is not important for the medication, proper acclamatization is the key. The thing is, they know too little about altitude sickness seem to imply that medication is more important than proper acclimatization.

It was those kinds of things I was agreeing with Damien on. None of my post had anything to do with ethics, but with the fact that much of the information you provided was not correct.

The links provided by radson and Catamount do contain some good information.

The rest of the post, starting with the word "also" and concerning side effects didn't have anything to do with your post, but was a heads up as a consideration as was the warning to not use it as a substitute for acclimatization (hydration and taking the time to acclimatize are of most importance). That part of my post wasn't in response to anything you said.
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Re: Could I do Aconcagua?

Postby ibelieveindevil » Mon Sep 09, 2013 5:07 pm

Scott wrote:
well, the effect of diamox depends a lot on individual kidney, and the normally doctors will recommend you to take the pills 2 days before the climb, as the effect may be too slow when you really need it.

side effects of diamox are not where near unplasent for me, in fact the side effect is so weak for me that i only manage to realised the tingling feeling of my fingers when i touch my face in cold wind. but i never mentioned that in my previous post, for the simple reason that i know that people react differently to medication. if you guys think that everyone is like you, then i wonder if the topic should be changed to "can you do aconcagua?"

also note that some people can have all the time and cash you want to go around the world to climb mountains, while some others need to really squeeze out the time for that. So imagine when you are at 5000m ASL, struck with light AMS, your climbing partner seems worried and pissed at the same time. this is his first aconcagua climb. He took the medication and you didnt, because when he told you so, you told him that somebody told you that it is not needed. Now you seems screwed, but he is the one paying for you. he need to call a rescue team, he need to take care of you, he need to give up his trip, and he need to go back to work for another 6 months without taking leaves because of you.

Just a simple note for reminder in case somebody never learn to read properly.

I never says that proper acclimatisation is not important.


I am not against anyone bringing it or taking it (in fact it's probably a good idea to have it along just in case), but only agreeing with Damien that some of the information you provided is incorrect.

For example; no doctors I know recommend the drug for a normal climber for any peak above 3000 meter peak, especially if one is expecting to climb Aconcagua. This is not normal or a “basic rule” as you seem to be claiming.

Where did you hear to start the drug a week in advance before starting a climb? No medical information I have seen backs this up. It is true that it can take 12-48 hours for Diamox to take effect, but this doesn’t mean you take it a week before you even set foot on the climb.

Also, you say that above 7000 meters, supplemental oxygen is required. Very few expeditions (almost none) use supplemental oxygen for a 7000 meter peak except for in emergency situations. 8000 meter peaks, yes, many expeditions do.

Statements like this; You probably going to hear a lot of people telling you that it is not important for the medication, proper acclamatization is the key. The thing is, they know too little about altitude sickness seem to imply that medication is more important than proper acclimatization.

It was those kinds of things I was agreeing with Damien on. None of my post had anything to do with ethics, but with the fact that much of the information you provided was not correct.

The links provided by radson and Catamount do contain some good information.

The rest of the post, starting with the word "also" and concerning side effects didn't have anything to do with your post, but was a heads up as a consideration as was the warning to not use it as a substitute for acclimatization (hydration and taking the time to acclimatize are of most importance). That part of my post wasn't in response to anything you said.


1: diamox for ASL 3000m for tourist traveller is pretty common advice from a doctor. and that was the exact advice i received when i started.

2: diamox- 2 days in advance, standard advice by pharmacist, i didnt make this up. you can go visit my doctor if you want.
traditional medication- 1 week in advance. i stay in south east asia, traditional medication are in rather abundance. most common tradition medication for altitude climbing is a chinese medication call Rhodia rosea, which chinese physician recommend taking it 1 week before the climb.

3: 7000m for professionals, definately. for ameteurs, i doubt so. for tourist, hmmm i would be surprise if they never prepare. i mentioned already, do not gauge yourself to the mass population. Messner climbed them without artificial oxygen, so everyone should do it. usian bolt run under 10s, and every runner should be able to do it. It stuck me particularly when Damien was saying things like " hey i done aconcagua without pills and guide, and some 7000m without oxygen" seriously, the thread starter best climb is Elbrus and he felt the struggle, use some common sense to know that he is not a professional climber.

Now am i not clear or am i telling fake things, or simply some people are just too lazy to think.
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Re: Could I do Aconcagua?

Postby Scott » Mon Sep 09, 2013 6:37 pm

1: diamox for ASL 3000m for tourist traveller is pretty common advice from a doctor. and that was the exact advice i received when i started.


3000m has about the same pressure as a commercial airline cabin. Most people on a commercial flight do not take diamox. You say a basic guide is to use diamox at 3000 meters. This isn't true in any place I've climbed. Did the doctor also recommend it when flying a plane?

When did you start? Who was the doctor? What mountains have you climbed? This information could be useful.

3: 7000m for professionals, definately. for ameteurs, i doubt so


I know it has been used before (even on Denali), but rarely. Please show us one expedition to a 7000 meter peak that uses supplemental oxygen for anything but emergency use.

Here are the two most popular 7000 meter peaks:

http://www.bing.com/search?q=climbing+l ... b008fd6778

http://www.bing.com/search?q=climbing+m ... &FORM=AWRE

Even on all the guided trips that I know of, they don't use supplemental oxygen. Can you show us one expedition, guided or otherwise that commonly uses it for an 7000 meter peak?

(Note: Sometimes it is used for sleeping on peaks like Everest at not that much over 7000 meters, but that's an 8000 meter peak and they don't use it just to climb to 7000 meters).
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