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Old 11-26-2012, 01:34 PM
 
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I've never lived at a high elevation before, so I have a few questions for people who do:

-Have you ever known people to move to your town, but who couldn't handle living at the altitude (for health reasons I'm assuming, or perhaps others I might not think of)?

-Besides adjusting cooking time and boiling time, are there any other common day to day changes you make relative to someone living at a low elevation?

-When you visit low elevation places, does your endurance go up? (I'm thinking of the people who do distance running at high elevations, but wondering if it helps everyday people as welll)

-are winters subjectively less harsh than they would be in low elevation areas far to the north? for example, much of Colorado has a temperature/snowfall regime that you could compare with Canada. However, I've always heard stories about walking around in the sun w a tee-shirt because the sun is so intense. not sure if this is exceptional or commonplace. never hear stories like that from winnipeg in the winter!
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Old 11-26-2012, 02:19 PM
 
Location: Colorado
11,828 posts, read 7,297,740 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktaadin View Post
I've never lived at a high elevation before, so I have a few questions for people who do:

-Have you ever known people to move to your town, but who couldn't handle living at the altitude (for health reasons I'm assuming, or perhaps others I might not think of)?

-Besides adjusting cooking time and boiling time, are there any other common day to day changes you make relative to someone living at a low elevation?

-When you visit low elevation places, does your endurance go up? (I'm thinking of the people who do distance running at high elevations, but wondering if it helps everyday people as welll)

-are winters subjectively less harsh than they would be in low elevation areas far to the north? for example, much of Colorado has a temperature/snowfall regime that you could compare with Canada. However, I've always heard stories about walking around in the sun w a tee-shirt because the sun is so intense. not sure if this is exceptional or commonplace. never hear stories like that from winnipeg in the winter!
I can't speak to people leaving because of altitude, haven't really been here long enough (about a year) to say...

Biggest altitude adjustment I am aware of, is the need to drink water. It's also because it's really dry in CO but if you do not do so, then you will suffer. Some people get sick. Some people adapt easily. For some it takes about a week. For me, it took months...but my worst symptom was simply getting winded if I exerted myself, like if I ran up my stairs. Also, I am a smoker. At worst, some people experience headaches, dizziness, extreme fatigue (to the point of actually passing out or needing to sleep more) and even nausea. Everyone I know says that drinking more water than usual during the adjustment period can greatly ease symptoms. Also, the altitude and/or dryness can cause nosebleeds and sinus irritation. That is pretty common.

As for winters. We've got microclimates here. So taking Colorado Springs for example, which is where I live...even in just one city you might have a snowstorm going on either in the mountains or up north, or Denver (less than 2 hrs drive north) might get pummelled...but central or southern Springs and Pueblo might get no weather at all. It does not snow all the time, but it does snow...at least a few times per month during the core winter months. It gets colder, sometimes really cold at night. It is often very windy. If it snows, the snow usually melts in 24-48 hours or less. When it's not snowing, which is most of the time, it's not strange to see temps in the 50's or even as high as the 70's. We have 60's in the forecast most of this week. On those days, we're talking blue skies and sunshine. But while we might see 65 degrees one day, that night it could get down to 20 or colder. It's dry. Really, really dry.

People think of Colorado as this mountain state, like the whole state is all ski resorts and we're up to our bums in snow all winter...but the reality is that Colorado is where the Rockies meet the desert. So we have all of that and everything in between. Having lived in Iowa, and felt what winter can be like further north, I'd say it's vastly different from Canada, and even vastly different from Wyoming just to the north.
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Old 11-26-2012, 02:41 PM
 
Location: On the corner of Grey Street
6,071 posts, read 8,363,374 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktaadin View Post
I've never lived at a high elevation before, so I have a few questions for people who do:

-Have you ever known people to move to your town, but who couldn't handle living at the altitude (for health reasons I'm assuming, or perhaps others I might not think of)?

-Besides adjusting cooking time and boiling time, are there any other common day to day changes you make relative to someone living at a low elevation?

-When you visit low elevation places, does your endurance go up? (I'm thinking of the people who do distance running at high elevations, but wondering if it helps everyday people as welll)

-are winters subjectively less harsh than they would be in low elevation areas far to the north? for example, much of Colorado has a temperature/snowfall regime that you could compare with Canada. However, I've always heard stories about walking around in the sun w a tee-shirt because the sun is so intense. not sure if this is exceptional or commonplace. never hear stories like that from winnipeg in the winter!
I don't know of anyone who moved because of the altitude. I don't really know of anyone who got sick visiting Denver, or any of the larger cities. I do know of people who got altitude sickness when they went up into the mountains though. I found my adjustment period to be a couple months. It wasn't anything crazy. I noticed if I did stairs I would get more winded than usual. My nose felt more dry, my skin and hair are more dry, and I definitely need to drink more water.

I haven't been back to the east coast since I started working out (I'm from VA), so it will be interesting to see if I'm able to run more, work out harder when I go home. I have heard others say this is true though and I know people come here to train for marathons and such for this reason. I notice a difference in my tolerance for alcohol though! I can drink a lot more in other places. I still get drunk here pretty fast.

I don't think the winter is that much harsher here than where I'm from. Yeah it's cold and yeah it snows but the snow melts fast and it is sunny a LOT.
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Old 11-26-2012, 02:48 PM
 
Location: Downtown Co Sps
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It might not bother you much. I never had issues with it when I lived there and have never had any issues in all the times I've vacationed. And that includes hiking at higher elevation. I was wise and drank lots of water daily just in case, but it's never really been an issue for me.

My girlfriend however has a minor problems with it. Just a little headache here and there.
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Old 11-26-2012, 04:46 PM
 
Location: Ottawa, IL ➜ Tucson, AZ ➜ Laramie, WY
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I'm situated at around 7,200 feet above sea level, and I personally didn't have any trouble adapting. When I first moved here, I'd be a bit short of breath after climbing up a few flights of stairs, other than that it's been smooth sailing.
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Old 11-26-2012, 04:46 PM
 
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-Have you ever known people to move to your town, but who couldn't handle living at the altitude (for health reasons I'm assuming, or perhaps others I might not think of)?

Yes I have, quite a few in fact, especially older people that have had to move out of the mountains. Also a lot of people don't end up liking the wind, thin air or dry air.

-Besides adjusting cooking time and boiling time, are there any other common day to day changes you make relative to someone living at a low elevation?

Staying adequately hydrated is one thing that comes to mind. The air can be so dry every time you take a breath it takes a lot of moisture out of your system.

-When you visit low elevation places, does your endurance go up? (I'm thinking of the people who do distance running at high elevations, but wondering if it helps everyday people as welll)

I found when I went from 8000 ft to sea level, I had a boost for a day or two but that's it. It doesn't last.

-are winters subjectively less harsh than they would be in low elevation areas far to the north? for example, much of Colorado has a temperature/snowfall regime that you could compare with Canada. However, I've always heard stories about walking around in the sun w a tee-shirt because the sun is so intense. not sure if this is exceptional or commonplace. never hear stories like that from winnipeg in the winter!


Depends where you live. I think the "walking around with your T-shirt" thing is a bit overstated. For one thing you do adjust to colder temps and certainly if it is a sunny day without wind, yeah you can do that. But often the wind is blowing which will make that unpalatable and especially when the sun goes down in winter, you will not be wearing a T-shirt at night in winter in almost all cases. Keep in mind in winter, especially in some mountain towns you can get as little as 6 hours of direct sunlight a day.

Also all of Colorado is not the same. Weather obviously is more moderated for those living on the I-25 corridor. But if you live higher up, the weather will be harsher.

Technically Colorado, averaging up all it's temps, is the coldest state in the lower 48. Sure you can have some beautiful, "warm" intense sun days in winter, but those are the exception rather than the rule. This isn't the tropics.
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:01 PM
 
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I know two people who moved. One was an elderly lady who said her condition cleared up quite a bit while she was at sea level taking care of a relative so she sold her house and moved (I do not know what it was). Another was a co-worker who's daughter had altitude related health problems (I don't know what the problem was) so she moved to sea level.

I've lived here 18 yrs and if dehydrated can have a problem in Denver. I always have a problem after 2 days at anything over 9000 ft even if I stay well hydrated. I've also had problems in the middle at 7000 ft if I get dehydrated. My symptom is a splitting head ache that goes away when I descend. However, I think mine is a genetic problem as all my immediate family has problems at altitude also and my parents cannot visit due to this.

Yes, your endurance is awesome at lower altitudes when you live here. Amaze yourself, your family and your friends when you go lower.

Winters are not bad at all. A couple of big snowstorms to let you know your in Colorado, some big winds at times (just to emphasize the Colorado thing) are countered with some lovely sunny days. This breaks up the cold and make it pretty easy to tolerate. Proper clothing helps.

Changes in lifestyle from lower elevation are due to being closer to the sun and the dry air.
Run a humidifier in the winter.
Lotion alot.
Apply sunscreen when skin is exposed. Wear a hat when your out in the sun.
Lip balm alot.

You may think you do these things at lower elevations. You will do them alot more here.
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:15 PM
 
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I knew a number of people with a heart problem, or lung problems particularly that had to leave Colorado due to the elevation there, and get down to sea level or not over half the elevation of Denver. I know I am one that can no longer live in the Front Range.
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:57 PM
 
478 posts, read 648,529 times
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Thanks for all your replies! They're quite interesting.

Do locals still need to acclimate for purposes of outdoor activities? Suppose, for example, you live at 6000 or 7000 feet. If you're going to go hunting or hiking in the mountains at 9000 or 10000, do you need to acclimate first? Obviously coming from sea level that would be a huge jump, but since it's only a little higher than your home I'm not sure if it's necessary.

The comments about how dry the air is in Colorado lead me to another line of thought: I wonder how high mountains in, say, Washington or British Columbia would compare. Would you still need extra water there at high elevation (relative to a similar activity level at sea level), despite the increased humidity in the air?
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:26 PM
 
9,830 posts, read 19,569,470 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktaadin View Post
Thanks for all your replies! They're quite interesting.

Do locals still need to acclimate for purposes of outdoor activities? Suppose, for example, you live at 6000 or 7000 feet. If you're going to go hunting or hiking in the mountains at 9000 or 10000, do you need to acclimate first? Obviously coming from sea level that would be a huge jump, but since it's only a little higher than your home I'm not sure if it's necessary.
Even when I lived at 8000ft, I would notice the difference if I went up to 10000ft. And if I stayed up there for a while, especially overnight, it wasn't uncommon to get a headache. I'll definitely never be climbing Mt. Everest someday. I found for me, 8000 ft was just fine, I can roll with that, but any higher I don't have an interest in terms of living or staying there for the duration.
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