Adventures with Altitude Sickness

Last year I had the amazing experience of returning to Peru to hike the Huayhuash Circuit. This is a pretty amazing 11 day trek and rates as one of the best hikes in the world. It was my first time ever at altitude and I’d heard a lot of stories.

Before I left, I did a bit of reading on altitude sickness (OK, I Googled it a couple of times) and spoke with a whole bunch of friends who’ve been there, done that.

The strongest messages that came across were these:

  • You can’t predict how you will react to altitude
  • Your reaction doesn’t depend on physical fitness
  • Just because you had a bad experience once, doesn’t mean you’ll react the same again***
  • Take ascending slow
  • Take time to aclimatise
  • Trek high – sleep low
  • Keep your fluids/water up
  • Eat healthily

Well, I can pretty much vouch for all of these. Even though I did all the right things*, I still had a couple of really, super crappy moments up there.

The other interesting bit of advice I received, was that many of the experienced guides in the Huayhuash don’t recommend taking Diamox*. Certainly, our guide (and my friends who did the trek the previous year), felt this way. As a result, I took some with me to Peru, but didn’t start taking it until day 3, after a particularly bad morning.

This little video clip gives a few little insights into how my body reacted to being at altitude. I hope you find it useful!

Oh and if anybody asked me if I’d go back to altitude? I say, ‘there’s so much under 2,228m** that I want to do, it will have to wait***!’

(Stay tuned for the full trip video… coming soon!)

** Australia’s highest mountain is Mt Kosciuszko at 2,228m.

Bushwalking & Hiking Tips from an Unexpected Outdoors Chick

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