Pre acclimatization trips

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  • #27126


    I had noticed that people like Steve House and David Goettler have used pre acclimatisation trips before 8000m ascents. So I thought I would do the same ,I went to Peru for 3 weeks and climbed a few 6000m peaks then went home for 10 days before going to china and climbing a 7500m peak in 11 days from arriving in base camp. I think the pre acclimate trip worked wonders and had had nearly no headaches or other issues the whole time in china.

    So my questions are does anyone know the science behind why it works so well?

    Are there optimal amounts if time altitudes for and in between these trips?

    Some people thought that 10 days between Peru and china would be to long and I would simply loose everything I had gained…

    I think it work so well that I would not even attempt going for an 8000m peak without doing a pre acclimatisation trip.

    Thanks Matt

Posted In: Mountaineering

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    Anonymous on #27231


    Acclimatization is so complex that even the scientists can explain it completely. Anecdotal experiences like yours are why and how we make the recommendations we do about these trips. I coach Adrian Ballinger who was on the north side of Everest in April and May, returned home for a month and then summited K2 with out supplemental O2 in July. He felt very acclimated and strong on K2.

    David has typically used about 12-14 days on his high altitude training camps in the Khumbu. It is enough time to get a good stimulus without getting too worn down. I think this is highly individual and depends a lot on what you are doing while at altitude.

    So, trust in your experience rather than what the nay sayers have said. You know what works for you.

    Steve House on #27411

    The rule of thumb (read: estimate) for acclimatization is that your lose it at the same rate you gain it. So if you spend 21 days in Peru building up, you’ll be back to around zero after 21 days at sea-level. That said, this rule of thumb is for alitude ILLNESS, not performance. It is likely, and indeed has been my and David Goettler and other’s experience that the performance benefits last much longer.

    I would take this one step further and say that frequent trips to altitude over multiple years or decades seems to allow one to acclimate more easily, that is to say, with less discomfort like the headaches you mentioned. I think there is some truth to the old-mountaineers-tale that your body somehow learns or remembers how to acclimate.

    About 70% of the genes of the human genome are thought to either up or down-regulate when exposed to altitude for a long time. My point is only to illustrate how complex our bodies’ adaptation to this stress is and highlight how incredibly adaptable we are as a species.

    Keep up the pre-acclimatization trips!

    Matey on #27448

    Thanks for your thoughts guys.


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