Forum Index » Post-Trip Reports » My (failed) attempt at a SHR section.


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Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Re: Re: My (failed) attempt at a SHR section. on 09/09/2013 21:03:47 MDT Print View

Bob, my physician initially told me to take 2 per day at most as a low dosage to watch the side effects. She told me to double it if I handled the medication well and needed it.

I don't think she had heard of diamox before I asked.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: My (failed) attempt at a SHR section. on 09/09/2013 21:17:00 MDT Print View

"I don't think she had heard of diamox before I asked."

Yes, I've run into that before, in 1995. I was getting a pre-expedition check-up, and I asked my physician for a Diamox prescription. He looked at me funny, because I didn't look like a heart disease patient. I explained that it was for high altitude, and he started to realize that I knew what I was asking for. So, he went online to check my story. Then after he was doing it, he asked me if I agreed with the standard dosage. Lastly, he asked me for how many days I was going to be up high, so he added on about five days to that and then the prescription happened.

--B.G.--

M G
(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: My (failed) attempt at a SHR section. on 09/09/2013 22:06:05 MDT Print View

Justin,
Thanks for posting this. Lots of important lessons for many of us here.

I think planning adequate acclimatization time is critical. Bob's got the right idea, climb high on an acclimatization day(s) and sleep low. Increase incrementally. For example I'm going in next Monday over Kearsage. On Friday and Saturday night we'll sleep at 6,000 ft and hike up higher during the days. Sunday night will be at 9,000 ft. Monday night between 9,000- 10,000 then we'll do Forester pass. Hopefully fully acclimatized.

I've only take Diamox once before on Chimborazo in Equator since it is difficult to acclimatize there. Since then I've been to over 19,000 ft successfully witout it and I've also gotten very sick on at least two occasions at just over 16,000 in the Andes, both time having to bail/self evacuate. Once on horseback I was so weak. First time I got sick was very similar to what you describe. I actually lied down on the trail and just went to sleep. We never got further an had to set up camp there. Saw the same thing happen to my ex-wife in the Himalayas.

Some important lessons I've learned the hard way:

1. Health leading up to a trip is critical. Any lingering upper respiratory issues can lead to problems when you go up high. This led to my problems both times. Now I take extra time to get healthy before going up high. Sucks when you have limited vacation time but so be it.

2. A high fitness level can lead to problem as you move up too fast to properly acclimatize.

3. Diamox. I remember peeing like crazy while taking
it. Definitely important to stay well hydrated and also supplement electrolytes in the days leading up to going high and during.

4.When I need to discipline myself about drinking regularly I use the timer function on my altimeter watch. I set it to beep every 20-30 min and drink regardless of if I'm thirsty or not. Every nth drink I take a gel or snack to keep energy level up unlss I'm drinking a carbohydrate energy drink. For more intense efforts and the like I usually have two bottles one with plain water and one with drink mix to ensure I don;t overload my stomach. This sounds basic but the watch can help reinforce some discipline and it also forces you to keep track of the elevation change and your pace and alert you to any issues. These ideas come from Mark Twight's excellent book.

5. I recommend reading this:
http://www.amazon.com/Going-Higher-Oxygen-Man-Mountains/dp/0898866316/ref=pd_sim_b_2

6. Don't write-off herbal remedies: Coca leaf can help with acclimatization as can Gingko extract. Both have scientific evidence behind them. They shouln't replace Diamox for individuals prone to AMS but can certainly help healthy individuals aclimatize more easily and help relieve mild symptoms. Also good luck getting coca leaf in the US. Gingko is easy. Just bought a bottle tonite to start prepping for my jaunt coming up.


Some stunning photos BTW.

Edited by drown on 09/09/2013 22:33:28 MDT.

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: My (failed) attempt at a SHR section. on 09/09/2013 22:08:42 MDT Print View

Your pics are great.

Your symptoms describe exactly how I feel when I'm not eating enough. Slow, lethargic, walking up hill is suddenly much harder, poor judgement, more likely to make route-finding errors. And I get cranky. (Just ask my wife.) I eat something every 2 hours even if I'm not feeling hungry, or I bonk.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: My (failed) attempt at a SHR section. on 09/09/2013 22:38:33 MDT Print View

"5. I recommend reading this:
http://www.amazon.com/Going-Higher-Oxygen-Man-Mountains/dp/0898866316/ref=pd_sim_b_2
"

M G, I agree. I keep a copy of it right here next to my computer. I've read some of Houston's earlier work, so I've seen the high altitude medical science progress a bit over the last few decades.

--B.G.--

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Re: My (failed) attempt at a SHR section. on 09/10/2013 08:16:13 MDT Print View

+a whole lot on the dehydration front. You need to significantly increase your water intake while taking diamox, and it seems like you weren't even drinking enough without it.

But I would also strongly encourage you to get a cardiology work up. No, they don't need to bring you to altitude, but an EKG, echocardiogram, holter monitoring, stress test, etc can bring out activity-related issues. There are some very serious congenital cardiac conditions that don't show up until the heart is under stress (which would be exacerbated at altitude) and you would be smart to make sure this isn't the case.

Good luck

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: My (failed) attempt at a SHR section. on 09/10/2013 08:58:01 MDT Print View

"My knowledge of nutrition is very limited, but I always end up eating a lot of carbs. So probably a lot more than 30%."


So, how Many calories did you actually eat?

Per Hour?

Per Day?

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: My (failed) attempt at a SHR section. on 09/10/2013 15:35:19 MDT Print View

Justin, I'm confused....you had no problem climbing Kearsarge Pass but had issues at slightly lower elevations? If I understand this correctly, most of your trips are at lower elevations right? Ie Ventana, Lost Coast etc. I think aclimation and dehydration might be the cause here. If you don't mind me asking, how much experience do you have above 9, 000 feet??? It's a totally different animal up there for sure... and yes we're all different animals of a kind. Hey we have bailed on trips for different reasons. Heck I bailed on one with Bob Gross a few years ago because I did not know I was diabetic and kept crashing. On the positive. ...you were in some great country out there

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: My (failed) attempt at a SHR section. on 09/10/2013 19:51:58 MDT Print View

""My knowledge of nutrition is very limited, but I always end up eating a lot of carbs. So probably a lot more than 30%."


So, how Many calories did you actually eat?

Per Hour?

Per Day?"

Other Greg, you took the questions right out of my mouth. My suspicion was basically a long slow hitting the wall. Unfortunately used to happen to me all the time. Happened big time on the High Route when I did it. You burn quite a few calories.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: My (failed) attempt at a SHR section. on 09/10/2013 20:43:05 MDT Print View

Thank you for all of the input, you have all given me a lot to think about. I'll look into seeing a physician.

Ken, I'm just as confused as you are. Before I left for a trip, I was talking to a guy and he said that sometimes you will be good for the first couple days and it will hit you on the 3rd or 4th day. That was my first time hearing that, I don't know how accurate his statement was but it happened to me.
Yes I mostly hike at lower elevations. I don't have much experience above 9,000 feet, just a few trips.

I carried about 1.25 lbs per day, not much. My guess is 2500 calories per day.

Here is a general list of foods I carried.
mh lasagna
mh chicken and rice
mh beef stew
mh potatoes/gravy
3 meals of instant mash potatoes
3 packets of ramen
4oz of bacon bits
13 oz of nuttella
10 oz of dried fruit
11 snickers bars
10 oz banana muffin mix
4 oz olive oil (poured into meals for extra calories)
powdered milk and cereal (enough for 6 breakfasts)
mh granola and blueberries (so bland and disgusting)
10 packets hot chocolate mix
picked berries in the lower canyons
and i ate 6 small trout

I know there was a lot more but I can't remember exactly. Just wanted to give an idea of what I'm eating. I have no idea if this is a good diet for hiking or not.

Edited by justin_baker on 09/10/2013 20:45:10 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: My (failed) attempt at a SHR section. on 09/10/2013 20:54:21 MDT Print View

Justin,
During the day, when you were hiking, what were you eating?

I see snicker bars, nuttella, and dried fruit.

If you don't know the calories, just give me a list of what you consumed and how much/many, and I can figure it out from there.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: My (failed) attempt at a SHR section. on 09/10/2013 21:05:56 MDT Print View

I had a bunch of snack foods with me - I just can't remember what I had exactly. Probably cheezits, gorp, raisins, ritz crackers, fig newtons, oreos, stuff like that. Junk food to shove down my throat.
I didn't bring enough no-cook food and the bulk of my eating was concentrated during the evenings. I never seem to get the cook/no cook food ratio right.


I wish I could give you a complete list of everything but it was a month ago. I don't put much thought into food selection and I don't write this stuff down. I will start recording my eating habits for future reference.

Edited by justin_baker on 09/10/2013 21:15:01 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: My (failed) attempt at a SHR section. on 09/10/2013 21:27:27 MDT Print View

Justin,
I'll go out on a limb here ....

The next time you do a hard trip at altitude, figure out how to eat 150 to 200 calories per hour, while you're hiking, rain or shine, want to or not. It means finding stuff that you like, and can eat, and will eat. Preferably high in carbohydrates, like 70% or more. And then take 300 calories per hour. When you feel like crap, stop, rest, and eat some more. You may bring some of it back, but that will diminish as you "tune the system".

Don't call it a hike. Call it a "food training walk". The goal is to learn what your body needs to be happy. Learn to recognize (early), acknowledge, and deal with the symptoms of "Low Fuel" and "Tank Empty". You mention them above. Andrew F. echos your observations.

A 20 mile, 4000', 10 hour day, all by itself requires about 3000 to 3500 calories, maybe more. (YMMV and all of that.) If you are fit, and your 2 mph pace is 20 beats below your lactic threshold (you can easily carry on a long-winded conversation), you can get 25% of those calories from body fat. Otherwise, you have to eat more carbs.

For Instance:
For hard 10 hour "first days" I'll eat 5 PowerBars (1,200 calories), a ProBar (360), a 2 ounce snack bag of chips (300), a 2 ounce bag of Chex Party Mix (300), a "Fun Size" Snicker Bar, and some gum drops, for a total of 2,500 calories. (Which is probably to little, and why I lose about 1/2 pound a day.)

I don't think you were anywhere close to that. (Not counting dinner and breakfast.)


...stepping off the soapbox.

Edited by greg23 on 09/10/2013 22:41:29 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: My (failed) attempt at a SHR section. on 09/10/2013 22:18:35 MDT Print View

"a 2 ounce bag of Chex Party Mix (300)"

I found a good way to get that done. I mix up my own, and I add some maltodextrin powder to the melting margarine to help increase the calories. It is a little bulky, but it is tasty.

--B.G.--

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: My (failed) attempt at a SHR section. on 09/11/2013 01:07:47 MDT Print View

Hi Justin

Diagnosis at a distance of several thousand miles ... always risky.

First of all, over 9,000' your digestion does go downhill a bit. You will need a lot of oxygen to handle any fats, especially if you are not experienced at those altitudes. Simple carbos become your friend.

You will also need MORE water to handle the exertion, the reduced humidity, and the digestion problems.

The amount of food you used, 20 oz/day, was grossly inadequate. You should have been eating at least 28 oz/day. Otherwise you are chewing into your reserves. OK for a couple of days, but then it starts to hit.

We have a large breakfast with a big drink, a large (substantial) morning tea with a big drink, a large solid lunch (more drinking), and if necessary a medium afternon tea. Then we have as big a dinner as we can manage. With more drinks. Even so, we still get into the snacks like chocolate and energy bars.

UL gear is great, but do remember that UL weight does NOT include either food or water!

Cheers

ROBERT TANGEN
(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Do GU Chomps precisely meter out body fuel? on 09/11/2013 16:50:22 MDT Print View

FWIW: ELIMINATE THE GUESS WORK? On the outside of a package of GU Chomps it says: "This packet will fuel 1 1/2 to 2 hours of activity. Hydrate along the way."

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Do GU Chomps precisely meter out body fuel? on 09/11/2013 16:55:41 MDT Print View

You are kidding, Right?

"Each serving of GU Chomps contains 4 pieces (90 calories) and will provide enough fuel for approximately 45-60 minutes of activity."

Like couch surfing, reading the paper, looking out the window.

Baseline metabolism is about 90 calories per hour.

Edited by greg23 on 09/11/2013 16:58:31 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: My (failed) attempt at a SHR section. on 09/11/2013 17:12:39 MDT Print View

"I will start recording my eating habits for future reference."

It would be highly beneficial to keep track of your carried food for each trip, and have a breakdown of how much is carbs, protein, fat, and fiber, along with total calories. This will allow you to correlate how you feel on a trip with the food you were using, and make adjustments accordingly. It would also give you data to bring to a continuation of this thread, where a lot of experienced folks could analyze it and perhaps come up with some useful suggestions. Another thing yuou might consider is to weigh yourself before and after each trip. This will give you a rough idea of how much body fat you are using to supplement your carried food, and allow you to adjust the amount of food you carry accordingly. I say rough idea because it is hard to differentiate completely between fat loss and water loss without doing a formal measurement like hydrostatic testing before and after a trip. Too much hassle, expensive, and probably unnecessary for ballpark estimating, which is close enough for your purposes.

Steve S
(idahosteve) - F

Locale: Idaho
my two cents on 09/11/2013 17:23:55 MDT Print View

After having done about 1/2 the SHR, and having some experience at climbing at high altitudes, all I can add to the mix is the following observations:

When going up to altitude, you can only control a few things; you need to be in the best physical shape you can possibly be in. You have to eat and drink, especially drink, to the point of copious amounts, regularly. You may have to augment with some form of drugs, aspirin, Tylenol, or Diamox. Its still a crap shoot after all that!

The monitoring of your body is critical. Keep working on it. You seem to be learning and on the right track regardless of this trips outcome.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: My (failed) attempt at a SHR section. on 09/11/2013 17:43:26 MDT Print View

You can take all sorts of shortcuts to the advice about eating and drinking enough. Sometimes, those might even work. However, sooner or later it will catch up to you.

One time I was doing the Mount Whitney dayhike. I went from Whitney Portal to Trail Crest, drank only eight ounces of Gatorade, and then went on to the summit. However, that was kind of a fluke, and I would not expect to get good results with that little food or water.

--B.G.--

Edited by --B.G.-- on 09/15/2013 00:17:14 MDT.