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Old 08-25-2017, 07:52 AM
 
Location: Washington Park, Denver
6,902 posts, read 6,494,653 times
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Just to be clear, it is exceedingly rare for someone to die of altitude sickness at 11,000 feet. Especially if we are talking about a perfectly healthy college student.

Coming from sea level up to the Conundrum hike, she would have had around 70% of the oxygen she was used to. Denver has 83% of the oxygen sea level has. The top of a 14er has 61% of the oxygen.
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Old 08-25-2017, 09:23 AM
 
Location: Black Forest, CO
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Isn't the rule that if you suspect someone is having severe altitude sickness, to get them down to a lower elevation immediately? Don't just stop your ascent like these people did, but get them DOWN fast, even if you have to carry them.
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Old 08-25-2017, 09:29 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beezle1 View Post
Isn't the rule that if you suspect someone is having severe altitude sickness, to get them down to a lower elevation immediately? Don't just stop your ascent like these people did, but get them DOWN fast, even if you have to carry them.
Yes, that is true. DOWN Apparently these people didn't understand that.
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Old 08-25-2017, 09:57 AM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,880 posts, read 102,269,915 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkyDog77 View Post
Just to be clear, it is exceedingly rare for someone to die of altitude sickness at 11,000 feet. Especially if we are talking about a perfectly healthy college student.

Coming from sea level up to the Conundrum hike, she would have had around 70% of the oxygen she was used to. Denver has 83% of the oxygen sea level has. The top of a 14er has 61% of the oxygen.
Physical health doesn't matter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by beezle1 View Post
Isn't the rule that if you suspect someone is having severe altitude sickness, to get them down to a lower elevation immediately? Don't just stop your ascent like these people did, but get them DOWN fast, even if you have to carry them.
Yes. I remember in a nursing class, our instructor said, "Get thee down from the mountain".
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Old 08-25-2017, 10:19 AM
 
Location: Washington Park, Denver
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katarina Witt View Post
Physical health doesn't matter.



Yes. I remember in a nursing class, our instructor said, "Get thee down from the mountain".
I'm quite familiar with altitude sickness. I used to ski patrol and attended a few medical seminars on the topic. Physical health doesn't matter in terms of getting altitude sickness, however im not sure that dying from HACE or HAPE it is the same as getting AMS.

It's also important to discuss the differences between Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) that many people experience and High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) which can both be deadly.

AMS is what most people are talking about when they say altitude sickness. This is the headache, lethargy, nausea, etc. it doesn't matter if you are in great shape, you can still get this. One doc told me that the only group he saw who seemed to get this at a slightly lower rate were smokers. Probably because their bodies are used to operating in oxygen deprived environments. Not a good reason to start smoking.

HACE rarely occurs below 13000 feet so it's super unlikely that this happened to someone hiking at 10000 feet. If she had some other brain issue, this actually is more possible. This is why I said "unlikely for a healthy college student".

HAPE, fluid slowly leaking in to lungs, takes several days to kill you and should have been very noticeable. If she had some preexisting lung condition, HAPE can be more likely and more deadly. Again, prior health history matters.

And yes, O2 and down are the ways to treat.

Last edited by SkyDog77; 08-25-2017 at 11:45 AM..
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Old 08-25-2017, 10:39 AM
 
Location: Aurora, CO
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The hiking season in the Elks has been so brutal this year that Mountain Rescue Aspen is planning to add a "Peak Awareness" class in addition to the "Avalanche Awareness" class they already offer.

Deadly climbing season spurs safety plans by Mountain Rescue Aspen, sheriff | AspenTimes.com

As I said on another post, 8 people have lost their lives in the Elks this year (4 on Capitol Peak, 1 on North Maroon, 1 who initially survived a fall on Maroon but succumbed to exposure after suffering a significant head injury in the fall), the gal this thread references who may have died from HACE on her way to Conundrum Hot Springs, and a 68-year-old man who collapsed and died while hiking the West Maroon route between Aspen and Crested Butte with his son.

AMS is no joke. My buddy's teenage son has gone on two high altitude hikes with us. Both times he came down with AMS between 11,000 and 12,000' and they had to descend while my son and I continued on.
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Old 08-25-2017, 01:13 PM
 
Location: Ned CO @ 8300'
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
Santa Fe has an oxygen bar downtown, that serves herbal teas and herbal remedies, as well as oxygen. Do the Colorado towns have anything like that? Sounds like it would be a good idea.
There are "oxygen bars" in a few towns; I've seen them in Boulder, Breckenridge, Manitou Springs. There are probably more. But as you noted, that's not going to help someone hiking at a high elevation.

Sadly and tragically her friends didn't know enough to take her to a lower elevation.
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Old 08-25-2017, 01:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neditate View Post
There are "oxygen bars" in a few towns; I've seen them in Boulder, Breckenridge, Manitou Springs. There are probably more...
I think they are in Telluride, in town, though,not on the slopes.
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Old 08-25-2017, 02:55 PM
 
Location: Washington Park, Denver
6,902 posts, read 6,494,653 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
Santa Fe has an oxygen bar downtown, that serves herbal teas and herbal remedies, as well as oxygen. Turns out that a fair number of visitors come for the oxygen. Several of the hotels in town refer clients there. Do the Colorado towns have anything like that? Sounds like it would be a good idea. Of course, in the case cited here, she needed the oxygen out on her hike, not in town. But still, it's a good amenity to have in high-altitude towns that are tourist meccas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neditate View Post
There are "oxygen bars" in a few towns; I've seen them in Boulder, Breckenridge, Manitou Springs. There are probably more. But as you noted, that's not going to help someone hiking at a high elevation.

Sadly and tragically her friends didn't know enough to take her to a lower elevation.
Quote:
Originally Posted by brightdoglover View Post
I think they are in Telluride, in town, though,not on the slopes.
Such a joke. Oxygen only works while you're on it. The second you stop, the effects disappear. Going to an oxygen bar doesn't do a thing for you. If you're really worried, bring bottled oxygen and sleep with it on a nasal cannula.

I was in Telluride last week and saw canned oxygen for sale at a coffee shop. I laughed and asked the girl working at the counter if people actually bought it. She said she sells a ton and that it really works for people. It really works for the 200 breaths they get from the bottle! What a waste of money.

Made me think of Spaceballs.


Last edited by SkyDog77; 08-25-2017 at 03:09 PM..
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Old 08-29-2017, 08:31 AM
 
Location: East of the Sun, West of the Moon
15,474 posts, read 17,634,375 times
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Even is she was hiking within 24 hours of arriving from sea level:

Getting winded or dizzy easily at 11,000 feet, definitely.

Getting altitude sickness at 11,000 feet, it happens.

Fatality? Highly, highly unlikely unless she had some kind of heart defect or circulatory problem.


There must be contributing factors in this woman's death.
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