I recently just came back from a trip in Ecuador where I did the following:
Day 1 – acclimated in Quito (2900m)
Day 2 – took the cable car up the mountain for 3 hours (4000m)
Day 3 – summited ruco pichincha (4700m)
Day 4-7 – sick due to a bacterial infection from what I ate
Slept in Quito all of these nights
Day 8 – summited iliniza norte (5126m), slept at 3500m
Day 9 – slept at cotopaxi Refuge, 4800m
Day 10 – summited cotopaxi, 5897m, slept in quito, 2900m
Day 11 – hike around quilotoa lake, 4000m, slept at 4000m
Day 12 – slept at chimborazo Refuge, 4800m
Day 13 – summited chimborazo, 6310m
Although my stomach never fully recovered during the trip, I felt really strong before chimborazo and didnt feel the effects of altitude at all. I had trained with the 16 week mountaineering training plan and hardly missed a single day. I summited cotopaxi in only 4.45 minutes as my guide had a pretty fast pace and was fine.
Chimborazo though was different. During the night I kept waking up as I was drifting off, gasping for breath. I’ve heard this is quite normal but was a first for me and didnt allow me to sleep at all.
We summited chimborazo in 6.45 minutes from the lower hut, taking the long route up as el Castillo was too dangerous due to rock fall. The guide wanted to summit in 7 hours and I struggled to keep up and was tiring myself out I felt. When I started to go down, I began to feel the effects of the altitude and felt nauseas plus my stomach problems had returned. I felt dizzy and confused but had felt like this before so wasnt too worried. When we got to the hut, I got in the car, fell asleep and when we woke up in riobamba which is the closest town from the mountain at 3000m, I had a terrible chest pain that wouldnt go away so I went to a clinic and they gave me oxygen and said I had a high blood pressure and my bronchials had shrunken a bit but it wasnt any serious. My oxygen saturation was 92%.
The clinic I went to didnt specialise in high altitude or anything so I had a few questions:
Is chest pain common after going to a high altitude?
Is it dangerous at all?
Could my prior sickness be related to it at all?
As I was sick, I had to cram the mountains together a bit. Did I summit chimborazo without enough time to acclimate?
The only thing I could find about chest pains online was related to pulmonary edema which the doctor ensures me I didnt have at all. What are your thoughts?
Apologies if I’ve gone on a bit but I just wanted to know whatever knowledge you have on this as the pain was really sharp but after 4 hours on oxygen and some pain relief medicine, the pain completely went but I still dont know what it was.