International Man of Mystery...

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I grew up in the Boston area and lived there until my junior year in high school when I attended the Mountain School, a semester program run by Milton Academy in Vershire, VT. I then attended Colby College in Waterville, ME. During my time at Colby I studied anthropology, spent a semester in Northeast India, and became fluent in Nepali. Before I became a guide I earned my black belt in kenpo karate and taught karate for 6 years. I began guiding in college on the rocky coast of ME with Acadia Mountain Guides and on ice at the International Mountain Climbing School in NH. After graduating I took to the highway and drove from ME to WA for the big mountains and glaciers. I spend my winters in lovely Ouray, CO guiding in the famous ice park. I am currently working towards becoming a certified guide through the American Mountain Guides Association. I live, work and play in the hills and on the rocks. On the rocks both literally and, well, with ice.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Training Questions Answered Part IV

Altitude throws a monkey wrench into the whole fitness game, but you can set yourself up for success. If you are headed to Rainier, Denali,or some other high-up place, you are probably wondering about altitude. First of all, it is important to know what is 'altitude' and what is out-of-shape. Altitude is considered around 7,000-8,000 ft. Full acclimatization takes a couple weeks of climbing high and sleeping low. So what to do?

Set your self up for success: At altitude, your body is hypoxic. It has to work over time for normal functioning. Staying well hydrated and eating enough calories are a huge help. If your body has to fight dehydration and hypoglycemia in addition to hypoxia you are not setting yourself up for success. This is not easy since a symptom of altitude sickness is loss of appetite and fatigue. That is, you might not want to eat. Do it anyway. Find food you like. Most people do not want to eat energy gels and bars at 13,000ft. I often find myself sharing my gummy bears though! Also, though I enjoy snacking on pepperoni and beef jerky at low altitudes, on the summit of Rainier, gummy bears and M&Ms are all I want.

Drugs, Tricks, and Snake Venom Potion: There are a number of drugs on the market that are supposed to help reduce the effects of altitude. I am not a doctor but I do see the effects of these drugs. Do your own research. Doctors (medical experts not mountain experts) tend to prescribe them like they would antibiotics for an infection, that is automatically.

Suggestions: 1)Bring food you like such as candy rather than energy goop.
2)Ear plugs will help you get a good nights rest even if it is stormy
3)Eat,drink,rest and repeat
4)Excedrine seems to work best for altitude headaches.

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