There is no need to hurry or
exert your self while acclimatizing. You shouldnít climb higher than
300-500 meters/900-1500 ft per day. Thatís not very hard to do and you
might be tempted to go farther. But all it will bring you is headache,
sleeplessness and possibly mountain illness in the morning. Use your
head, not your legs only.
These are the signs to watch for when climbing:
Some headache (relieved by aspirin), irregular breathing at night,
rapid breathing at day, increased urine output.
Some sleeplessness, decreased urine output, persistent headache not
relieved by aspirin. Stay at your current altitude for some time (1-2
days) until you feel well. Donít climb higher!
Acute mountain sickness
Dizziness, vomiting, losing your balance, persistent coughing,
sleepiness. Go down at least 500-m/1500 ft! Immediately.
Consult a doctor (on the walkie-talkie) and take emergency medicine.
High Altitude Cerebral (HACE)- and
Pulmonary (HAPE) Edema
is serious. Cerebral and Pulmonary Edema are caused by fluid collecting
inside the brain and/or lungs.
Cerebral edema shows as failure of motor function,
vomiting, hallucinations, extreme sleepiness and ataxia (canít walk heel
to toe). Try to walk a straight line or point your nose if you suspect
Oxygen, Gamow bag-treatment, Diamox and Decadron are helpful, but the
most important is rapid descent.
The same treatment counts
for Pulmonary edema (blue lips, very heavy breathing, gurgling sound
Both HACE and HAPE arrive upon pushing in spite of AMS.
They are the immediate result of too much, too fast and a general
negligence to the body's subtle or in the end, not so subtle
Sometimes we have to push the limits. Storms and other
acute situations might force us into circumstances that we donít like.
Thatís one thing. But to come up with AMS due to impatience and
ignorance is sad. It could cost you your life. HAPE and HACE kill fast.
Lastly, never cook inside a sealed tent. The gas
withdraws the oxygen from the air and this can cause HACE/HAPE
conditions in your sleep.