Mountaineering with Celiac Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

  • Creator
  • #62940

    Hello all,

    As someone who is new to mountaineering (first course this upcoming summer!) I was curious what the communities experience has been like for people with Celiac Disease and/or irritable bowl diseases like Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis? I manage them both well at home but I am concerned about extended periods of time in the backcountry. Any advice and/or gluten free options would be much appreciated!


Posted In: Nutrition

  • Participant
    Lauren Barthenheier on #63658

    I was recently diagnosed Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS). I have been mountain climbing for a few years; however this year is my first climbing season with NCGS. There are many certified gluten free (CGF) options available. This blog post has links to many brands that are “gluten free” and CGF ( During your climb I suggest bringing all your own food, even if there is group meals. In addition, I suggest you bring your own utensils, bowls, and mug to avoid cross-contamination. Depending on your severity of reaction when “getting glutened”, it may be advised to pack your own Jet Boil to boil water on the mountain. This ensures that your Jet Boil is gluten free since only you will use it.

    Stress often triggers autoimmune diseases such as celiac disease, IBS, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis due to mast cell deregulation. Mountaineering is an inertly stressful sport not only on the body but also the mind due to lack of sleep, exhaustion, and fasted exercise. Stress management is key to controlling inflammation and repairing the digestive system. You must eat well to sleep well. You must sleep to eat well. You must control stress to eat well. You must control stress to sleep well. It is a vicious cycle so learning to control your stress response is key.

    When on the mountain, try to get as much sleep as possible – it is hard due to the anxiety and excitement. Breath work before sleep can help quiet the mind and lessen anxiety through box breathing. Try to eat as often as possible or at least when you are hungry. Try to drink water often, especially with electrolytes such as Cure Hydration (gluten free), to keep the bowels moving while climbing.

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