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Acclimatization Insight

Does hiking and sleeping at altitude for the weekend one to three weeks prior to taking a hike at 14,000 help acclimating? I would be back at sea level for the work weeks in between.

Question:

Does hiking and sleeping at altitude for the weekend one to three weeks prior to taking a hike at 14,000 help acclimating? I would be back at sea level for the work weeks in between.

Submitted by - Charley, Detroit, MI

Answer:

Unfortunately, you can’t expect any benefit from intermittent time at altitude. Acclimatization to higher elevations is lost at approximately the same rate as it is gained. Two or three days at high altitude followed by two or three days back down low and you’re right back where you started—possibly in more ways than one. Some people will take Diamox, a prescription medication that mimicks your body’s response to altitude, several days in advance of their high-altitude trip. It can prevent and treat symptoms of altitude sickness.

1 Comment

  1. Nick

    The human body has two ways to acclimate to high altitudes. The first one is for short term exposure which usually normalizes in up to 4 days, but you’ll still be lethargic till long term adaptation occurs. The long term depends on how high you are. This takes 2 to 6 weeks as your body progressively produces more red blood cells, myoglobin, mitochondria along with other cellular adaptations to accommodate your new oxygen levels.

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