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Old 05-18-2010, 04:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Lennox 70 View Post
Are the local routes through the mountains well maintained and easy to drive on or they they be very winding and more risky for folks unaccustomed to that kind of terrain.
I always think it's funny when people ask that question, as if driving across CO is like driving through the Tibetan Himalayas... HOWEVER... if you've never been out here, it's an understandable one. The mountain pass roads are windy for sure, because they're traversing the land across thousands of vertical feet in either direction. If you're not comfortable with mountain driving at all, best to avoid them. But, unless you're talking about NF fire roads and jeep trails, the maintenance on them is as good as any other state highways in other states. We promise you won't drop through any gaping chasms and into and icy cave below.

 
Old 05-18-2010, 04:48 PM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Lennox 70 View Post
I'm taking a cross country trip with some friends from Baltimore to Los Angeles this summer and will be going through Colorado via I-70. We're trying to plan out our itinerary and I'm wondering if Rocky Mountain National Park is worth a day compared to just seeing the mountain scenery from the highways???
Absolutely. RMNP is one of the most beautiful, stunning areas of Colorado. In addition to the stunning scenery, there's a highway that goes up above 12,000 feet which is well worth a visit. At this elevation, even in the summer, it's called the "artic" zone and it literally looks and feels like you're in Alaska or something.

Quote:
If we choose to visit is a day sufficient to see the most attractive portions of the park?
You'll get a decent feel for it in a day.

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Are there state park or other local places less out of the way from Interstate 70 that has comparable scenery?
You'll be in the midst of amazing scenery anyplace along I-70 between Golden and Glenwood Springs.

Quote:
Are the local routes through the mountains well maintained and easy to drive
Definitely. You won't have any problems.

Quote:
on or they they be very winding and more risky for folks unaccostumed to that kind of terrain. I've driven on some mountain roads in the Blue Ridge and Shenendoah in Virginia and those already felt kind of hairy to me.
Wait until you're driving on a forest road, winding up the side of a mountain for an elevation gain of one mile, in the middle of the River-of-No-Return-Wilderness in Idaho which is known as the most rugged mountainous area on the planet.

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Anywhere else close to I-70 that is a must-see?
Take highway 6 over the Loveland pass: it bypasses of the Eisenhower tunnel and takes you up to 12,000 feet.

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Lastly, what's the weather like in Colorado in late July or early August? Does it get very cold in teh elevations that the freeway goes through or only if you climb high into the Rockies? Would shorts, flip flops and t-shirts be fine (Rocky Mountains, Denver, Golden) or should we back some heavier clothing just in case? Because the entire rest of the trip its all through pretty warm weather.
AFternoon lightening storms and thundershowers in the mountains. Usually pretty brief. Chilly but not cold. t-shirts and shorts are fine, unless you plan to do some hiking in which case you need a windbreaker and some layering.
 
Old 05-19-2010, 10:16 AM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
85,207 posts, read 99,439,539 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Lennox 70 View Post
In terms of altitude sickness we're all men in our 20s so I don't think it should be a problem. I personally have been to Yellowstone and the Tetons before, don't know if that's higher or lower in elevation than Colorado's Rockies. Plus it will be a drive from Kansas up through Denver so I assume it's easier to adjust like someone pointed out. I'm surprised that Denver itself actually isn't IN the mountains yet is a "mile high". I've never heard "flatlander" before but where I live in definitely, almost completely flat on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay.
I'd read up on altitude sickness just the same. It can strike anyone. Here is a good article, and there are many more to be found on a google search.

Altitude Sickness-Topic Overview

Most sources recommend staying for a day in Denver before ascending to the mtns. You might read our Denver forum for some ideas of things to do there.

'Tis true that Denver is not in the mts, but is 5280' in altitude. "Flatlander" is a pejorative term for people from the midwest.
 
Old 05-19-2010, 02:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
I'd read up on altitude sickness just the same. It can strike anyone. Here is a good article, and there are many more to be found on a google search.

Altitude Sickness-Topic Overview

Most sources recommend staying for a day in Denver before ascending to the mtns. You might read our Denver forum for some ideas of things to do there.

'Tis true that Denver is not in the mts, but is 5280' in altitude. "Flatlander" is a pejorative term for people from the midwest.
Many of the people that I have seen fall prey to altitude sickness are the ones that never said it would happen to them. Being the tourism business in colorado ski towns, this was a common problem I had to deal with all the time with guests and I knew of people that ended up in the hospital and worse. And it hit me a number of times as well and heck I lived there.

Not something to fear, but to be aware of, especially if one is making a rapid transition right up to 10000 ft plus as in the national park.
 
Old 05-19-2010, 02:36 PM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
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My understanding is that altitude sickness is not a factor of age. It has to do with the condition of your heart, how well your blood oxygenates, and other factors.
 
Old 05-19-2010, 02:44 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 80skeys View Post
My understanding is that altitude sickness is not a factor of age. It has to do with the condition of your heart, how well your blood oxygenates, and other factors.
Not really. Here is a more scholarly paper about it.

OA Guide to High Altitude: Acclimatization and Illnesses

"There are no specific factors such as age, sex, or physical condition that correlate with susceptibility to altitude sickness."
 
Old 05-19-2010, 02:45 PM
 
2,437 posts, read 7,136,553 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wanneroo View Post
Many of the people that I have seen fall prey to altitude sickness are the ones that never said it would happen to them. Being the tourism business in colorado ski towns, this was a common problem I had to deal with all the time with guests and I knew of people that ended up in the hospital and worse...
I've always heard it said that 'it can happen to anyone'. But, IN MY EXPERIENCE, I've seen it happen much more often in little children, the elderly, or ones who are grossly out of shape. So my take is, yes, it CAN happen to any one, so it's worth taking it easy on the way up, but with all other factors being even, altitude sickness is a lot less less likely if you are young and in good shape.

It's sort of like that myth about how you can get just as sunburned on a cloudy day as you can on a sunny one. True, if you stay out a lot longer and don't bother with clothing or sunscreen because you think the clouds will protect you then you will get burned. But 60 minutes in the direct sun will burn you a lot worse than 60 minutes under thick overcast.

It's just something people tell us to keep us from getting overconfident and acting foolish, but I prefer to know the truth of the matter.
 
Old 05-19-2010, 02:57 PM
gn3
 
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
147 posts, read 359,954 times
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I remember as a college student from Kansas I stayed a night in Denver, then went up to Berthoud Pass and tackled the Continental Divide trail with a backpack. Despite being very healthy, and an extremely active runner and weightlifter, with plenty of backpacking experience at lower elevations, I developed HACE. One of the scarier experiences of my life, as the person with me was not an experienced outdoorsperson, and I basically lost my ability to reason.
 
Old 05-19-2010, 03:29 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gn3 View Post
I developed HACE.
Did you mean HAPE? High Altitude Pulmonary Edema? or HACE? The cerebral kind.
Were your lungs popping and crackling? or was it just the disorientation?
HAPE and HACE are both different than just regular altitude sickness, and they are a lot less common and harder to predict who may get it or why. Also, the only way to remedy it is to get lower fast and if you don't it will kill you.
But your garden-variety altitude illness (aka acute mountain sickness) will usually abate in time and you can easily avoid it or ease the affects of it by just going slow, taking breaks and staying well-hydrated. This is the kind where I believe fitness plays a very large role.
In either case: It CAN happen to anyone.
 
Old 05-19-2010, 03:48 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
85,207 posts, read 99,439,539 times
Reputation: 31653
From the link I posted:

Basic Treatment of AMS
The only cure is either acclimatization or descent. Symptoms of Mild AMS can be treated with pain medications for headache and Diamox. Both help to reduce the severity of the symptoms, but remember, reducing the symptoms is not curing the problem.
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