High Altitude Tips

Your trip to Summit County is going to involve altitudes over 9,000’ and activities sometimes at an altitude of 11,000’ to 12,000’ if you traverse to the top of the mountains. These altitudes may cause altitude sickness which is normally manageable with a little rest and a lot of fluids. If you take the appropriate precautions in advance, you will lessen the negative impacts of altitude sickness. If you have any questions, please remember always to consult a physician first. There are additional high altitude travel tips for traveling to Summit County that will help to make your trip more comfortable in general.

Altitude Sickness
Symptoms generally associated with mild to moderate altitude illness include:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Rapid pulse (heart rate)
  • Shortness of breath with exertion

Tips for Avoiding Altitude Sickness:

  • Arrive in the area well hydrated – for at least a week before arriving drink at least 64ozs (8 cups) of water per day.
  • Do not travel immediately to 11,000’ – 12,000’ – avoid having dinner on top of the mountain the day that you arrive.
  • Avoid alcohol and rich food the day that you arrive – many visitors think that they have food poisoning when in fact it is altitude sickness.
  • Take Buffered Aspirin – it will increase the flow of blood and therefore oxygen to your brain and help you avoid altitude headaches, and the Buffered brands are not as likely to cause stomach problems.
  • Take it easy the first day that you are at altitude.
  • If you have experienced previous altitude sickness your physician can prescribe Diamox, that has to be taken prior to arriving at high altitude.

Tips for Alleviating Altitude Sickness:

  • Drink a lot of hydrating liquids: water, sports drinks such as Gatorade
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Take Buffered Aspirin
  • Take it easy and avoid a lot of exertion
  • Check your oxygen level if you feel really ill and buy a small bottle of oxygen or have oxygen delivered if your levels are low
  • Travel to a lower altitude if symptoms are severe and not improving

Other Tips for Traveling to High Altitude & Summit County:

  • If time permits, consider traveling a day early and spend a night at a lower elevation (such as Denver) to allow your body to adjust to altitude gradually.
  • Due to the lack of pressure, tubes of moisturizer, suntan lotion, shampoo etc may explode in your luggage as they expand. To avoid this happening, squeeze the tube and while holding the tube put the cap back on. This will give some space for the tube to expand. You may have to empty some of the contents for a new tube. Put all liquids in sealed plastic bags and make sure that you let all the air out of the baggie when closing to allow for it to expand. If some of your products do leak then at least the contents are not all over your luggage.
  • The climate in Summit County is very dry so plan accordingly with moisturizer. A bottle of Saline solution is also a good idea and should be used to prevent the drying out of nasal passages that can cause nose bleeds.
  • The sun at high altitudes is much stronger and we are fortunate in Colorado to have 300 days of sunshine per year. Pack at least an SPF 30 (15 is not strong enough for the sun’s intensity) and put it on whenever you venture outside.
  • The temperatures can drop drastically when the sun goes down, a hat and gloves or mittens are the best way to stop your body’s heat loss.
  • Decrease the amount of alcohol you consume from your normal amount, as it is stronger at higher altitudes.