Any Altitude problems on elk hunts?

jdmaxwell

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I had it once not elk hunting but snowboarding in Colorado.
Ended up in Emergency room with a Doctor telling me I had 5 hours to live if I had not come in. I still have the chest x ray they took showing 1 lung full to the top and the other 3/4 full of fluid. It was bad. I knew I was in serious trouble coughing up bloody stuff like crazy.
Problem was we did multiple days above 12000 ft hiking alot with no acclimation at all coming from just above sea level.
They put me on 24 hr oxygen for remaining days of our trip and I was done riding.

Dr said affects everyone differently but I was prime candidate because young healthy non smoker.
I have hunt Colorado now for 10 years and have not had any issues since.
Acclimation and tons of water seem key for me.
 

Backyard

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I come from 785’ and have been going out to 10K in Co. every other year since ‘98. Got it once in the early 2000’s. Ever since I start hydrating a lot a few days prior to heading out from home and continue to stay hydrated during my entire trip, I even have a small cooler full of water on the seat next to me for the drive. Not a problem at all since. An aspirin a day in the morn dont hurt either.


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Bjandrews

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So last year I left 500' one evening and drove all night to 10, 000'. Started hunting as soon as I got there in the morning which is usually typical for us. Met up with a friend who was already out hunting and got on a herd which he shoots his first elk. The herd stayed close so I tried to stalk in on the bull and ended up stepping on a yellow jacket nest. They hit me at least 7 times, one right on my left eyebrow, swelled it shut for two days. Well that ended the stalk pretty quick so I got back, tended to the stings and cleaned up his elk and we packed it out. Headed out the next day and my cousin ended up shooting a cow which we trailed forever into an area with no running creeks. Never found the cow and I ran outta water for the hike out. The next morning I woke up sick as can be. Threw up, no appetite and could barely drink anything. I hung around camp for a few hours and it wasn't getting any better. I had my dad take my down the mt to around 8500' and hung out there for about an hour. Instantly felt better and got some water down. Headed back up the mountain and hunted that evening and the rest of the week with no problems. I figure it was just the strain on my body from the stings, the first day packout, and running out of water on the second day that lead to the altitude sickness. Pretty rough hunt last year. Plus I missed a good bull on the next to the last day that added some more pain. 😪
 

3darcher2

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Have any of you seemed more problematic as you've gotten older? I live around 1200', the last time I went to Vail (not for hunting) which is like 8000' I didn't have any troubles at all but that's been 9 years now. I'm 56 now, I'm hopeful to still be able to carry on in my old age without any major issues. I'm looking to camp around 9000' so definitely easing my way into hunting. No 6 mile spike ins here, I'll be truck camping.
 

Backyard

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Have any of you seemed more problematic as you've gotten older? I live around 1200', the last time I went to Vail (not for hunting) which is like 8000' I didn't have any troubles at all but that's been 9 years now. I'm 56 now, I'm hopeful to still be able to carry on in my old age without any major issues. I'm looking to camp around 9000' so definitely easing my way into hunting. No 6 mile spike ins here, I'll be truck camping.

Im 57. See my other post.


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Roughwater

Roughwater

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I come from 785’ and have been going out to 10K in Co. every other year since ‘98. Got it once in the early 2000’s. Ever since I start hydrating a lot a few days prior to heading out from home and continue to stay hydrated during my entire trip, I even have a small cooler full of water on the seat next to me for the drive. Not a problem at all since. An aspirin a day in the morn dont hurt either.


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I've always felt hydrating helps.
 
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Bearwhisky

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If you smoke a pack of cigarettes every day before your trip then stop when you get on the mountain, your body will feel like there is more oxygen in the air even at altitude. Its science.


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Scooter90254

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The biggest thing I’ve noticed being at altitude is sleep deprivation, and irregular/racing heartbeats at night. Worse when I camp over 10,000 ft. Any recommendations on how to sleep at higher elevations?

I suffer from whatever it is you have as well. And it sucks.
I’ve done a fair amount of research and apparently it’s not actually altitude sickness like we are talking about here.
It’s clearly our bodies reacting to the altitude but not altitude sickness.

Last we drove from sea level Overnight to10,500 and started hunting. I wear a Garmin watch when I hunt and couldn’t slow my heartbeat down when I went to bed. Almost made the call to head down the mountain becauseI was getting worried. The next day everything was fine.
 

afdiamond1

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Texas
Altitude effects my sleep more than anything. I started getting a prescription for Diamox from my Nurse Practitioner and start taking it 2 days before I get to camp. Last year we camped over 10.5k and i felt great.
 

Tock-O

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This thread is meant for anyone that has experienced Altitude sickness or any issues related to hunting at altitude. So if you have had Altitude issues please explain in detail what happened and what elevations were you feeling it at? Thanks.


It doesn't matter how athletically fit a person is, he/she can still have altitude sickness problems and as you probably know, can be life threatening very very quickly. If the person only has mild issues with it, being in really good aerobic shape can help mitigate the symptoms to an extent. But if you're one of the people who has it bad, then you have it bad and being in shape won't help.

I spend a fair bit of time running around on high mountain trails, as does my wife, and there's at least one person I know of that is in very good shape but has horrible altitude sickness. There's a peak in the Wind River range that he has tried to do multiple times, but can't get passed 11k without developing symptoms that are similar to a sloppily drunk person.

The most important thing is knowing the symptoms and when to head back down the mountain. Headache, nausea, confusion, losing fine motor skills, brain swelling, and pulmonary edema are all symptoms. Sometimes, some of the minor symptoms can be caused by dehydration or just the environment of lower atmospheric oxygen. Your nose bleeds could have been caused by the much lower relative humidity since you're coming from NC. And, the lower relative humidity can cause much faster dehydration than you're used to. Also, yes it will screw with your sleep if you're not used to it. But, if you spend a bit of time at that altitude or working up to that altitude, the sleep issues may get better. I know that's generally the case with me when I go on a backpacking trip up high.

I've never really had much issue with altitude sickness, but have always been in great shape since I've been out west. I went on a 24 mile run starting at about 10k up to about 11,200ft last weekend. I've let my fitness slide over the last year or so. One the way down, I was feeling terrible... horrible headache and slight nausea and lightheaded. I don't think it was altitude sickness because I haven't had and issue with it before at that altitude. I'm really out of shape, drank wayyy to much beer the night before, and ate hardly anything that day before and during running. But as you get older, things change, so a person can develop altitude sickness issues even if they've not had them before. So, it could have been my fitness level and not taking care of myself that day, and I could also be developing issues with altitude. But, I wasn't too worried about it because I was on my way down and knew I could make it out. I was also with my wife who knows the symptoms and could help get me to safety if I developed really bad symptoms. So, having a partner that you trust is also key!
 
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Roughwater

Roughwater

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Anyone ever pack in one of those oxygen canisters? Do those things actually work?

I'm wondering the same? I have to assume they would work assuming we are talking about those battery operated machines that make O2. I saw a used one somewhere and was thinking they might be useful for a guide service. I know mountain climbers that do the rally high peaks sometimes carry bottles of oxygen. With one of those the climbers might only need a spare battery? Or do they loose efficiency at higher altitudes?
 

Brooks

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Mar 19, 2019
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This is a half full plastic gas jug at high altitude elk country that wasn’t run over it just has the air sucked out of it at 8500 feet. 746D11F9-7145-470B-BA38-DA23C2849ED4.jpeg
 
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