Originally Posted by Curtis
We're flatlanders heading for our first trip to the Rockies (Copper) and I'm wondering what people's experiences have been flying into that altitude (base 9712', summit 12,313') from near sea level.
I've done the basic research (limit activity at first, drink lots of water, no alcohol, give yourself a chance to aclimatize) ... but have people in this situation found it helpful to use medications like Diamox (Acetazolamide)? Or do folks generally just give themselves a few days to adjust?
I now live over a mile high and do all of my recreating at altitudes up to 14,000 so it's not so much of an issue anymore. We used to fly in from SF to CO for skiing though, and had a couple of *interesting* experiences with altitude.
Don't ski a massively hard day the first day. Certainly don't stay up until 2:00am in Denver *dehydrating*, then drive up to ski first thing in the a.m., ski hard all day, have a beer at lunch, have a few glasses of wine after, sit in the hot tub, and then forget about drinking a bunch of water. Been there, done that. Thankfully I was 23 and could recover a bit more quickly than I can now!
My FIL, who is a doctor, has used the altitude meds and found them helpful. We about killed him on 11,000ft + a hike a couple of years ago, when he had just come from sea level. When he came out to ski at Copper this winter he used altitude meds the first couple of days and they helped, although he thought they might have been overkill.
I find that the basics work well. Certainly spend a night at lower elevation if you can (Denver or Idaho Springs). Avoid pushing yourself too hard the first day or two. Drink a little more water than you think you should, and avoid all but the bare minimum of booze. Eat well. Have some *vitamin A* (Advil or Aleve) on hand.
That said, you never know who altitude sickness is going to affect. Sometimes it's the youngest and strongest and healthiest in the party. My sister has been unable to sleep well at altitude ever since she was a kid. I usually don't have problems and spend a ton of time at altitude, but every once in a while I still get what are clearly altitude-related symptoms. Thankfully, altitude sickness is highly unlikely to be serious at CO elevations, usually just an annoying headache, maybe an upset stomach.
Glad to hear you're coming out. It's been snowing again, and it's maybe supposed to dump today and tonight.