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  #1  
Old 26 Sep 2008
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Thoughts on high altitude sickness

Crossing Paso de Jama is around 15000 feet with about 180 miles between towns. Should that be considered risky for travelers? Anyone know about the altitudes leading to Cuzco?
Thanks
Bob
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Old 26 Sep 2008
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Assuming the road is sealed and the towns are below 2500m altitude you will be safe. At worst you risk a headache on the way down.
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  #3  
Old 26 Sep 2008
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The good news riding your bike is that you will climb gradually
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Last edited by mollydog; 26 Mar 2009 at 20:23.
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Old 27 Sep 2008
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Hey Forsellini,

Ditto to the you should be ok comments. A rough rule of thumb is that at 13,000 feet you start watching altitudes and how you feel. Above that height, it is suggested that you only ascend as little as 1,000 feet per day to allow your body time to acclimatize. That is hiking of course so on a bike the bad thing is that you can ascend way above that quickly but you can also descend before you are exposed to those altitudes for too long of a period. 180 miles is pretty short, you'll be through there pretty quick. Keep in mind that climb high, sleep low is something that all mountaineers follow. You expose your body to a higher altitude, that kicks the body into gear and you descend lower to sleep.

It depends on where you are coming from and the altitude you have been exposed to before you get there, but in general you should be fine. I would say that there is a very high probability that you will get altitude sickness (eg, headache, loss of appetite, insomnia) but not AMS (acute mountain sickness) of which the less ideal symptoms are pulmonary edema or cerebral edema (bleeding in the lungs or brain). You can die from those later things, but just be aware they exist. For most people, they won't be affected but I have seen a few people whose physiology simply didn't adapt to altitude very well and had to descend. That is the miracle cure if you are one of those rare people, you will feel it and you can just descend.

Have fun, I'm sure it'll be a beautiful ride.
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Old 27 Sep 2008
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Thanks for the thoughts

Molly/Mountain
Sounds like good advice!
Thanks
Bob
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Old 27 Sep 2008
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Different people react in differing degrees, I am quite susceptable to altitude.

I flew in from sea level at Lima to Juliaca and found I had real dizzyness problems in the airport building. But after a week or so acclimatising I did the Inca Trail at 4200m. Cuzco was around 3500m I think.

The good news is that you get tipsy on the smallest amount of alcohol!

Timm
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Old 28 Sep 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
......... I recommend eating some good hard candy as you climb. The Candy idea came from a local Peruvian business man who lived in Lima but traveled into the Andes for work several times a year. On the train they offered Oxygen. I never used it, never felt sick. Just ate a couple pieces of Candy and was fine.
.........
The advice from MountainMan and beddhist is sound advice, but please don't tell anyone they can avoid AMS with candy! As already said, AMS can be deadly if not understood.

PS: for the record, oedema/edema is liquid build up, not bleeding, but in the brain or lungs, it will kill you anyway.
Oedema Introduction - Health encyclopaedia - NHS Direct
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May you enjoy peace and good health !
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Old 28 Sep 2008
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Take your time and you may be ok. I got altitude sickness at around 13,500 feet on hike up pikes peak not any fun. Puking, tired, stumbiling around. Good thing is the fix is easy gust go down a few 1,000 feet and rest. If you have the time take a few days for the run and spend some time up there. if you smoke try to little of that. Go for little walks rest often helps the body to ajust. Dont do what I did and push your self.

The candy was was probably to off set the body's burning of caleroies, more fule on the fier so to speak. Wont stop you from getting sick water wont just help with the symptoms.
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Old 28 Sep 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DLbiten View Post
...I got altitude sickness at around 13,500 feet on hike up pikes peak not any fun...
I think I had it just driving over the Alps. It was the mother of all headaches (painkillers didn't touch it) and I felt sick and light-headed. Reminded me of a really bad hangover. I just put it down to tiredness and not drinking enough water. When I got down to the flat, I drank lots more water with some more painkillers and had a nap - which helped a bit. I thought this only happened to mountain climbers. I'm reading now that some people are more prone than others and it could even be dangerous.
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Old 28 Sep 2008
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Most overland MC travelers will have been at altitude before they arrive in Peru'
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Last edited by mollydog; 26 Mar 2009 at 20:24.
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  #11  
Old 5 Jun 2016
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Sorry to revive a dead post. I want to share a nasty altitude experience.
I'm southbound through the Americas and now Ecuador is the first sustained, serious altitude. After two weeks of acclimation (Quito 2800 metres) and day trips to progressively higher altitudes (4-5000 metres), I thought I was doing OK. I failed to recognize my shortness of breath as a warning. Idiot.
I continued on backroads over 5000 metres and camped/hostaled at 4000 metres.
A week ago my inability to breathe became serious, along with loss of cognition and severe fever. I was deteriorating quickly and unable to help myself. I'll spare you the messy details. A week at much lower altitude has cleared my lungs mostly, but headaches and fever persist.
I'm probably more suceptable than average and definitely more stupid for ignoring warnings. If you are riding high, please take precautions.
Steve
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altitude_sickness
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