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.

YouTube video

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.

Writer, producer and content creator by trade, search and rescue volunteer by passion, Caro Ryan started to inspire, teach and encourage people to get into hiking and the outdoors safely.

It’s all about connecting people to wild places in meaningful ways, so they can look after themselves, their mates and these precious places we visit.

She teaches wilderness navigation, authored the book, ‘How to Navigate’ and hosts, ‘Rescued - an Outdoor Podcast for Hikers and Adventurers.

In the bottom of her pack you'll find coffee grounds, instant noodles past their used by date and an insatiable curiosity.

Bushwalking & Hiking Tips from an Unexpected Outdoors Chick

Join my eNewsletter and get the latest articles, videos, pics and inspiration.
No charge. No spam. Only love.