Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Ask Buck

Altitude Memory

Do you think our bodies "remember" acclimating?

Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.

Question:

Do you think our bodies “remember” acclimating? I have been to Everest and many fourteeners, and seem to fare better at altitude than first-timers.

Submitted by – James, St. Louis, MO

Answer:

No study shows our bodies “remember” altitude. A few studies suggest our bodies forget: Quite a few climbers have succumbed to altitude illness after numerous successful trips to high elevations. There are climbers, however, who do acclimatize more easily and better than others, a factor some experts refer to as “genetic,” lacking a better explanation. It could be explained by the fact that some climbers are smarter than others, taking their time, eating well, staying hydrated, and balancing rest and exercise as they ascend.