Acclimatization preparing for High-Altitude Goal

  • Creator
  • #67446
    keith brown

    As a flat-lander, we do not have immediate access to high altitude training in preparation for a high-altitude goal. Is there any significant benefit to going to a higher altitude town (eg Leadville, Co), training in the local area / mountains for a week or so in preparation for the goal climb?

    Is a week visiting a 10,000’ town and training to log higher elevation gain significant enough for some physiological adaptions?

    If yes, how long before the climb to sustain those adaptions and not overtrain – finish one, two or three weeks prior to the goal event?

    Would the best training benefit be acclimatization or working vertical gain?

    If it’s only building elevation, I could go to parts of the AT and log some great elevation gain gain over a week, but would never exceed about 4500’ in altitude.

    Thanks in advance,

  • Participant
    lapotka on #67447

    knowing what your specific objective is would help, I’ve taken a lot of folks from the midwest up 14ers and I like to go to Leadville and walk the downtown strip a few times and get a meal and then camp down near Salida which can be about 8k i think. Then go for a hike the next day or poke around a higher trailhead or Monarch Pass and just get used to the altitude. Two or three days of that makes a big difference and I think if you have the time and resources planning a week of hanging around Leadville could help you as long as you time the turnaround right for your main objective. the downside would be all that traveling and stress right before your objective and it’s impact on your tapering. The cumulative acclimatization benefit of this whole endeavor would diminish pretty quickly afterwards so spending a week in Leadville and then flying back to sea level for a week and then going to climb Denali or an international objective would probably harm your pre trip mojo more than it would help. I’ve never climbed anything above 14 but i’ve climbed about 1/2 the 14ers in a lot of one or two week vacations coming from lower elevations, so thats my experience with it all.

    MarkPostle on #67450

    The two best things you can do for high altitude trips will always be to train in a way that fully develops your aerobic capacity (I.e. Consistent, high volume, low intensity) and pace the goal trip in a way that you acclimate sufficiently as the trip progresses. Of course training in a sport specific way (doing lots of vert if your goal has lots of vert) will always be of great benefit but that’s a separate discussion and will not additionally assist in being ready for the altitude component. I have generally seen “pre acclimatization” trips do more harm than good for the reasons mentioned above, loss of fitness due to missed/reduced training, increased physical/mental stress, greater chance of illness with extra travel, complete ineffectiveness due to rapid loss of acclimatization when you travel between the place and the goal climb. Your best bet is to show up healthy, fit, rested and pace your ascent smartly.

    keith brown on #67451


    Crystal-clear guidance. Thanks!

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