Talk:Altitude sickness

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Guide status?[edit]

Is there anything glaringly obvious about this article that prevents it being upgraded to "guide" status? Wikitravel:Travel topic status suggests that a useable article "has at least a good overview of the topic, and some useful material under each outline heading" and a guide article "effectively covers most aspects of the topic with no obvious omissions. If practical, it should contain a listing of relevant destinations. The format should closely match the manual of style." We seem closer to guide than useable here. I don't think there's much of a case for listing destinations, it would just be a huge list of "here's places you can go to get altitude sickness!". It makes much more sense for those articles to link to this, as many are doing. Hypatia 22:22, 15 June 2006 (EDT)

I agree, this is a Guide. - Todd VerBeek 23:19, 15 June 2006 (EDT)
Agreed. I've made the change. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 23:34, 15 June 2006 (EDT)



At 3500 meters (11 500 feet), make sure you drink at least 3 litres of water every day. That means, two large bottles of water. Do not leave anything in the bottom, drink it all, even if it feels bad. If you ascend from there, drink even more. A head-ache is the punishment for those who do not heed this advice, and that feels worse.

Anyone got a source for this recommendation? It's mostly one of the leftovers from when I imported the original info in from Peru. I'm a little bit wary of recommending people drink such a large amount of water without a source. Over-hydrating is nasty. Hypatia 08:46, 23 July 2006 (EDT)

I agree with the first part ( drier air means some extra loss of water) , and heartily disagree with the later parts . There is no documented good effect from pouring in large amounts of water in to the system , and some experienced docs expressly warns against it :

"Adequate amounts of fluid (about 3 liters a day) are necessary in the mountains:- dehydration mimics altitude sickness and may even predispose to it. On the other hand excessive water drinking should also be avoided as this may lead to electrolyte imbalances."
(from )

As the body responds to altitude by concentrating the blood by diuresis, you actually work against the body with excessive fluid intake.


In case anyone feels keen, I think this article could benefit from a map of the world with high altitude regions colour coded for various heights above sea level. It's only a rough guide at that scale, but will help put things in perspective for travellers. Hypatia 08:50, 23 July 2006 (EDT)

The Tibet thing[edit]

I shortened this at some point and User:Pashley has restored it in a slightly changed form. It's not an enormously big deal to me, but I'm wondering whether there's a reason for going into this detail here, rather than on the Tibet page:

For example, flying from sea level to Lhasa Tibet (3650 meters/12 000 feet) is distinctly unwise. Consider spending a week or so somewhere like Kunming (2700 meters) en route. If you are going to travel around Tibet — where some inhabited areas are over 5000 meters and some mountains over 8000 — do not set out until your are thoroughly acclimatised in Lhasa.

Hypatia 01:00, 14 August 2006 (EDT)

Vistet 16:35, 22 August 2012 (EDT)Kunming is an unfortunate example , since it is at 1900 meters. Little if any acclimatization below 2000 in the travellers time scale.

It's not a big deal to me either, and it needs to be mentioned on the Tibet page too, but doesn't the detail belong here? Most of the altitude sickness page is heavy on details relevant only to mountain climbers. It seemed sensible to me to have a more purely travel-related example, and Tibet is an obvious one. Pashley 11:58, 14 August 2006 (EDT)

As altitude sickness is not only a problem in Tibet, but throughout the whole Himalayan range as well as in the Andes and other mountain ranges over 3,500mts, I think the best place for this info is on the 'altitude sickness' page and with a link from the Tibet article - which actually is already there. However, as Hypatia mentioned, it might be a good idea to also add some specific recommendations for Tibet, such as suitable places for acclimatization, to that article. What do you think? WindHorse 13 Aug 06
It just seems a bit specific for me, to be heavily emphasising "If you are going to travel around Tibet... do not set out until [you] are thoroughly acclimatised in Lhasa," because that's not some special property of Tibet. There are also, for example, parts of Nepal you don't want to travel in until thoroughly acclimatised to 3000m+. So I guess my problem isn't so much with the example as that the wording somehow makes it sound less like an example (yes, I know it begins with "For example...") and more like a conclusion to the whole section. Perhaps we need a second example of somewhere else, say, in the Andes: "likewise, you wouldn't travel to X until you were thoroughly acclimatised to Y..." Hypatia 23:00, 14 August 2006 (EDT)
Now I realize Hypatia's point. I thought initially it was just a request to place more of the acclimitization info directly onto the Tibet article - I guess I should have read the article first!! Anyway, how about changing the paragraph likewise: 'It is distictly unwise to fly from sea level to any area that is over 3,500 meters. Please see specific country/region articles for recommendations on where to break the journey in order assist acclimitization.' WindHorse 15 Aug 06
I think it would be reasonable to say at some point "some areas in which many tourists will want to travel above 3500 metres include Tibet, Nepal etc etc...". The map I suggested some time ago would help too. I just want to avoid any implication that Tibet is the only area in the world where this is a real problem. Hypatia 23:49, 15 August 2006 (EDT)
I recently added Overland to Tibet and put some of it there. Pashley 05:25, 17 March 2007 (EDT)

Mountain climbers[edit]

What parts of the article seem "heavy on details relevant only to mountain climbers" (quoth User:Pashley above)? It doesn't really read this way to me: I was thinking of my friends who have hiked to Everest base camp when I wrote most of it. There's plenty of non-climbing activities you can do where you will need to do a slow ascent and descend to sleep etc etc. That said, should we change something? Hypatia 23:00, 14 August 2006 (EDT)

Ascent rates[edit]

The day one 1500 meter limit appears to be undocumented to me, and goes against known practice. It excludes normal modes of travel to a lot of places (like Golmud , Darjeeling , Manali and Shimla) and even normal cabin pressure. The International Society of Mountain Medicine talks of a first night ("if possible") below 3000. Another example is that the FAQ dont mention the possibility to descend to 2500 after flying in to Lukla , and advises to spend the first night there.

The Death Thing[edit]

Deleted the " rare , but not unheard of " comment about death from AMS at 2500 meters : no references for this. It also seems to contradict specialist doctors advice that says get a first night below 3000 - "if possible". See, highaltitudemedicine or International Society for Mountain Medicine.

Adjusted the acclimatisation rates accordingly : 2400 meters/8000 feet max first night, same as cabin pressure. Vistet 11:49, 19 January 2007 (EST)