How To: Get Altitude Sickness On 14er


The author puts on a happy face at the summit of Mt. Bierstadt

I was in Colorado the other week for a business trip and was jonesin’ to get a first 14er under my belt. The only way I could make it happen was to fly into Denver on Friday afternoon and make a summit push the next morning.

What transpired was a perfect recipe for altitude sickness. I reached the summit, but also experienced a headache so bad it made me crave the sweet relief of a simple hangover. I gave my snacks to the trail so many times I needed more than 10 fingers to keep track.

Follow these simple steps to ensure you’re own fun bout of altitude sickness the next time you go peak bagging!

Drink the night before: Beer is greater than water! Drink enough to be sure to prove it the hard way.

Stay out all night: You can sleep when you’re dead, right? Well, once you’re experiencing altitude sickness that might be a quick reality. Or at least you’ll wish you were dead so the pain will go away.

Think you’re God and can acclimatize faster than any other human being: One great way to experience all the effects of altitude sickness is not acclimatizing properly, like going from 0 to 14,060 feet in less than 20 hours.

Ignore the warning signs: A pounding headache, worse than any hangover, is normal on the way up. Keep trucking through the pain, only sissies bail.

Pick a 14er with a steep ascent: Nothing like pushing your sea level body to its limit on a route that gains almost 1,000 vertical feet per mile.

Forget breakfast: Who needs extra calories in their system when they’re pushing their body to its limit? Not to mention that keeping a low calorie intake is all the craze these days.

Follow these six steps and you’re on your way to feeling like crap at some point on the mountain, vomiting, and wishing you were laying in a soft bed rather than retching on a beautiful mountain.

Do you have your own recipe for getting altitude sickness? Leave it in the comments section below.

Justin Fricke is a writer, weekend warrior, and all-around fun-haver based out of Winter Springs, Florida.

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