There are several kinds of antibiotics for different kinds of
infections. The downside with antibiotics is that they affect your
climbing performance while you are on them. Also, they kill the natural
germs in your intestines and make you prone to food poisoning. They are,
however, very effective for the Khumbu cough, serious diarrhea and
Many climbers pop some aspirins for the altitude headache. The best
way to treat that headache though is to drink it away! Simply drink
until itís gone. The headache is a very good measurement on when your
body is saturated with liquid. Taking aspirins will only kill the
symptoms of what the body is trying to tell you - that it needs fluid.
Last year, on acclimatization, we climbed to camp 1,
then straight to camp 2 and stayed there for ten days. This was only
possible due to our large fluid intake.
did take aspirins some nights to get rid of the Cheyenne stokes (irregular
breathing at night). The aspirin thins the blood and seems good for
circulation. Some climbers take a baby aspirin daily thorough the entire
climb. But you need to take them as an additional help to your body -
not to replace low fluid intake and covering up possible AMS.
Tylenol and the like will be milder on your stomach, but
lacks Aspirins blood thinning benefits.
We donít use them, since they suppress respiration at
One medical research has shown though, that the benefit
of getting good nights sleep could outweigh the side effects of sleeping
aids on alpine climbs. Some climbers we know uses tranquilizers at night
and wouldnít go climbing without them.
Since a disturbed breathing pattern at altitude at night
feels quite dangerous to us, we still canít recommend them. Yet again
though - after a sleepless night at C3 just before summiting last year,
we canít be too rigid about the subject.
Stressed by some technical problems in the internet
experiment, Tina didnít sleep during the entire night at C3. Obviously
not a very good situation if you have another 30 hours without sleep
ahead of you, including 20 hours of tough summit climb. Well, she found
the strength to do it after all and quickly too. Sleeplessness doesnít
have to be as debilitating as one might suspect.
Today though, thinking back, she figures that it
actually might have been helpful to have a weak sleeping pill at hand
that last night.