What altitude should I start to pack Diamox?

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stel87

 
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What altitude should I start to pack Diamox?

by stel87 » Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:02 pm

When planning a trip, at what sleeping altitudes do you plan to pack Diamox or consider staged ascents?
I have read that AMS affects about 25% of people above 8,000ft (2,400m) and this is roughly the same for periodic breathing (Cheyne-Stokes breathing). I stayed at Bow Hut last year (~2,400m) and nobody seemed to be taking Diamox or staging their ascents, so I was curious about which altitude people really start to do these things. Any feedback is appreciated.

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rgg
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Re: What altitude should I start to pack Diamox?

by rgg » Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:47 pm

I very much prefer gradual acclimatization before climbing really high.

In Europe I have occasionally packed Diamox, just in case, but didn't use it.

On a number of climbing trips to South America I packed Diamox. I never did so with the intent to use it, but on one particular trip where I had limited time and still wanted to climb a whole lot of high peaks, I got a mild case of AMS (that is, I think I did - I'm no doctor), so I used Diamox for a few days. After that I didn't need it anymore.

I've never planned staging. Even when I climbed high peaks in the Andes, I acclimatized by hiking and climbing lower peaks first until my body had adapted well enough to sleep comfortably at 5000m. That's enough to climb anything in South America without needing additional acclimatization days.

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Yury

 
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Re: What altitude should I start to pack Diamox?

by Yury » Sat Nov 18, 2017 11:34 pm

stel87 wrote:When planning a trip, at what sleeping altitudes do you plan to pack Diamox or consider staged ascents?
Diamox is optional.
Most people do not use it.

stel87 wrote:I have read that AMS affects about 25% of people above 8,000ft (2,400m) and this is roughly the same for periodic breathing (Cheyne-Stokes breathing). I stayed at Bow Hut last year (~2,400m) and nobody seemed to be taking Diamox or staging their ascents, so I was curious about which altitude people really start to do these things.
I agree that some people have mild symptoms of AMS at this altitude on the first day.

The most important is to understand that your acclimatization (chance of getting AMS) is a function of (current altitude, exertion and altitude history in the current trip).
The slower you go, the lower is the likelyhood of getting AMS.
Also this function is different for different people.
You need to understand how your body reacts to altitude.

For example, now in the US South-West I can drive to a campground/motel/lodge located at 2000 - 3000 m, spend a night there and next day can go up to 4000m without any AMS symptom.
On higher mountains (e.g. Mount Whitney and Elbert Peak) I will get some mild AMS symptoms like mild headache.

From my previous hiking history I know that I need more than a week in order not to have any AMS symptom at 5000 - 5500 m.
After 20 days of hiking at moderate and progressively increasing altitude almost all people (including me) would not feel any altitude effect at 5500 m.

Just go there, pay attention to your body and be ready to turn back if you do not feel OK.
Next time budget more time for proper acclimatization.

P.S. I never tried Diamox so I would not comment on its use.
Last edited by Yury on Sat Nov 18, 2017 11:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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