Hiking at high altitude

I'll be hiking with RS in Colorado this summer and I'm a bit concerned about the altitude.  I live at sea level and really won't have a chance to get in any 5000'+ hikes before the trip.  The hiking on the Colorado trip will be up to 12000 feet.  I went hiking in the Swiss Alps last summer and though the hikes not as high as the Colorado trip, I didn't experience any problems.  I plan on arriving in Colorado a few days early to help adjust.  Does anyone have any other tips that might help?  I'm aware that I should go slow, drink lots of water, and avoid excess alcohol. 

Thank you in advance. 

  • Hi Pat,
    As a Colorado resident for 17 years, here is my advice. Get as fit as you can, drink lots of water and take it slow the first few days, to see how you adjust. At 12000 ft. you have 80% of the oxygen you have at sea level, and at 14,000 ft. - say the height of Pikes Peak - you have 70% . I live at 7000 feet at find 12,000 a little difficult if I'm not taking my time. At 14,000 I have to go really slowly and train first.

    That said, I'm not the most fit individual under the best of circumstances. :-) YMMV.

    Yes, alcohol will be much more potent here, so drink carefully, but don't miss all our wonderful craft breweries, if you have the opportunity.

    Best of luck,
  • In reply to yaelhayom011436:

    Thank you, Yael! That's very good advice. And thank you for the tip on the craft brews. Do you have a favorite?
  • Pat, you've probably been on your trip and I hope it went well.
    I would suggest for folks going to high altitude that they bring aspirin with caffeine. According to the Institute for Altitude Medicine at Telluride, caffeine can be helpful at altitude, and a mild headache from high altitude is treatable with aspirin. Diamox, a prescription drug, is also helpful to prevent altitude sickness.
    Of course, severe headaches, nausea, breathing difficulties, etc, require immediate evacuation to a lower altitude along with medical treatment.
  • I used Diamox prescribed by my doctor in the highlands of Peru, as I was leery of chewing the local remedy (you know what I mean). The Diamox worked very well. Yael's advice is also spot on.
  • In reply to vaughnharrison052319:

    I was prescribed Diamox for tram/hiking in the Tetons coming up this summer. I'm glad to hear it worked very well. What I am concerned about is the medication making me feel like a zombie. I'm kinda sensitive to stuff like that. Did it whack you out when you took it? Thx.
  • In reply to lchavez6307100659:

    It didn't whack me out at all. I would recommend it. But everyone is different.