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Author Topic: Altitude sickness or gaper sickness?  (Read 1558 times)
Jeff Huber

Posts: 771

Altitude sickness or gaper sickness?
« on: 07/15/03, 10:46 AM »

I'm frequently confused as to if I'm feeling ill due to altitude or due to exertion/diet.

This past weekend is a good example. After ascending from the Cold Springs TH (5800ft?) to the Lunch Counter (10k?) I felt like I was going to throwup. As I continued my ascent the nausea went away but I felt lethargic, didn't want to eat/drink and had to rest frequently. This didn't go away until I descended.  Sometimes I experience these symptoms as low as 8000ft (when I did St. Helens I felt like this also--and I was doing St. Helens two weeks after spending a month living in Lake Tahoe at 6000ft). Frequently when I feek ill like this (especially at altitudes as low as 8000ft) I'd always blame exertion and being out of shape (aka gaper sickness).

In the TRs I read of those who do Adams in a day I never hear of altitude problems. Am I predisposed to altitude sickness?




Posts: 373

Re: Altitude sickness or gaper sickness?
« Reply #1 on: 07/15/03, 11:14 AM »


I experienced near the same thing as you.  Mostly what bothered me was my rapid heart rate that would not recover above 10500'.  Just below the last pitch to the false summit at Adams.  We left our house at 1:20am with a 5hr drive to the Mountain and climbed it the same day.  An overnight at the trailhead maybe would have helped...I don't know.  Mrs Wickstad didn't have any trouble.  I have since been trying to keep my heart rate up more in training.

Where did you sleep?
What did you eat?
How much water did you have?


Re: Altitude sickness or gaper sickness?
« Reply #2 on: 07/15/03, 02:35 PM »

Hey man, I think I was sitting next to you on the false summit Saturday. Tried to make conversation, but you seemed toasted....Personally, I don't feel altitude until around 13,000, where the head becomes a little lighter feeling. Alot of what may be hitting you, especially at lower elevation, is dehydration. Drink tons of water a day or two before your climb, then pound it all the way to the trailhead. Keep alcohol and coffee to a minimum, and try GU packets to settle an uncomfortable stomach....Just try it. Nothing to loose. Hope you find a good solution. Toby.
Jeff Huber

Posts: 771

Re: Altitude sickness or gaper sickness?
« Reply #3 on: 07/15/03, 07:26 PM »

hey toby, i think i was sitting next to you. were you on rossignol megabangs (or bandits) w/ g3s? i remember at some point someone met up with you? sorry i wasn't more social, i was feeling pretty awful.

i was pretty well hydrated before the trip (pissing clear) but at the end of the day i was pretty dehydrated (dark piss). above the lnch cntr i felt if i drank/ate i'd throwup. i'll keep experimenting.


Jim Oker

Posts: 1591

Re: Altitude sickness or gaper sickness?
« Reply #4 on: 07/16/03, 03:23 PM »

I think ascent rate/exertion level is also a BIG factor. If you push at what feels like a normal rate, I believe you are more prone to feeling altitude symptoms (and you are likely to worsen the dehydration). Try consciously slowing down a little, and force some bigger breaths frequently. I think I read this somewhere long ago (Medicine for Mountaineering, maybe??), so this may possibly be more than my own random musings. Or maybe not.
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