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Old 05-19-2010, 02:52 PM
gn3
 
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
147 posts, read 358,566 times
Reputation: 160

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Quote:
Originally Posted by treedonkey View Post
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.
I mean HACE. I had HACE. Not just acute mountain sickness.

 
Old 05-19-2010, 03:04 PM
 
2,437 posts, read 7,111,241 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gn3 View Post
I mean HACE. I had HACE. Not just acute mountain sickness.
Got it. I was just curious, since I never had either HACE or HAPE, but I know how serious they can be. The rest of that was just for the benefit of the OP and to clarify my earlier statement about the role that age and fitness can play. Basically: AMS - big role; HAPE/HACE - no role or unknown role.

The funny thing is, when most people think of altitude sickness, they start thinking of all the things you hear about HAPE and HACE: Life threatening, can hit anyone unexpectedly, no cure but to get down... etc. But in reality, the large majority of the time it will just be AMS that you would experience and not HAPE or HACE.
 
Old 05-19-2010, 03:11 PM
 
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I would skip Rocky Mountain as well due to the crowds. Definitely do Glenwood Springs even though it will be quite busy as well, get room reservations ahead of time. Do the Loveland Pass road which takes you off I-70 only briefly. Don't know how much time you've got at your disposal, but points south of I-70 through Leadville and back around through Gunnison to Grand Junction would be pretty as well. Actually, I can't think of much of the state that isn't great. In any case, if you do Moab, go back north to I-70 and exit UT24 to Capitol Reef NP, then take the infamous UT12 to Bryce NP, then US89 to UT9 to Zion NP, then finally to I-15 into Las Vegas and ultimately Los Angeles. All these roads are well-maintained and clearly marked. Of course, continuing west on I-70 to I-15 is also pretty but you'll be missing a lot that's just nearby. Make sure you have at least a 2GB card in your digital camera because if you haven't been through this kind of scenery before, you'll be stopping every mile for a picture! I have found Utah to be even more photogenic than Colorado due to the great diversity of landscapes. The fact that there's five national parks in the area helps support my claim.
 
Old 05-19-2010, 03:24 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,111,186 times
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If you want to see overpriced resort sprawl and the crap that every other feckless tourist sees, then, by all means, take I-70. Native Coloradans like me don't call it the "I-70 Sacrifice Zone" for nothing. If you want to see more of the "real" Colorado--less despoiled scenery, less man-made junk, more nature--then take one of the lesser travelled US highways--US40, 50, or 160. US50 and US160 are my personal favorites. Yes, they are slower, but they generally also have much less traffic and the scenery is equally if not more spectacular compared to I-70. Another advantage of US50 and US160 is that--if you choose--you can avoid the metro Denver blob entirely--another big plus in my book. That said, if you find roads in the Appalachians "hairy," you may find the aformentioned highways somewhat daunting. I'm a poor judge of that--I've been driving Colorado mountain roads for four decades on a regular basis.

As to July and August weather, that is the "Southwest Monsoon" season in most the mountain areas of Colorado, especially the central and southern mountains, which means almost daily thunderstorms in the afternoon. During those storms, it is entirely possible for the temperature to drop 30 or 40 degrees in minutes. Especially in August, nighttime frost is a real possibility in the higher mountains, as are occasional snow squalls. Lower elevations may range from highs in the 80's to the low 100's, to only in the 60's or 70's depending on the day.
 
Old 05-19-2010, 03:27 PM
gn3
 
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
147 posts, read 358,566 times
Reputation: 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by treedonkey View Post
Got it. I was just curious, since I never had either HACE or HAPE, but I know how serious they can be. The rest of that was just for the benefit of the OP and to clarify my earlier statement about the role that age and fitness can play. Basically: AMS - big role; HAPE/HACE - no role or unknown role.

The funny thing is, when most people think of altitude sickness, they start thinking of all the things you hear about HAPE and HACE: Life threatening, can hit anyone unexpectedly, no cure but to get down... etc. But in reality, the large majority of the time it will just be AMS that you would experience and not HAPE or HACE.

Yep, I've had both, as I'm quite sensitive to altitude changes. Until I lived at elevation, I would always experience mild to moderate AMS symptoms above just 5000-6000 feet or so. So it shouldn't come as a big surprise that I got worse symptoms at 12,000 feet. No major problems though since I've lived in CO. The one instance I described was the only time I had anything other than AMS. Medically, the telltale sign of HACE is gait ataxia (along with cognitive changes such as extreme confusion); I had both.
 
Old 05-19-2010, 04:05 PM
 
Location: western Colorado, hoping to move to PA
51 posts, read 134,049 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
If you want to see overpriced resort sprawl and the crap that every other feckless tourist sees, then, by all means, take I-70. Native Coloradans like me don't call it the "I-70 Sacrifice Zone" for nothing. If you want to see more of the "real" Colorado--less despoiled scenery, less man-made junk, more nature--then take one of the lesser travelled US highways--US40, 50, or 160. US50 and US160 are my personal favorites. Yes, they are slower, but they generally also have much less traffic and the scenery is equally if not more spectacular compared to I-70. Another advantage of US50 and US160 is that--if you choose--you can avoid the metro Denver blob entirely--another big plus in my book. That said, if you find roads in the Appalachians "hairy," you may find the aformentioned highways somewhat daunting. I'm a poor judge of that--I've been driving Colorado mountain roads for four decades on a regular basis.
Avoiding Denver is a big plus in my book--we used to go to Pueblo a couple times a year to visit family and we'd always take Monarch. However, I don't remember there being as many places to pull off and enjoy the scenery as there are along I-70--I-70 is sort of set up to accommodate those "feckless" tourists, which isn't necessarily a bad thing when you're looking for panoramic views and photo ops and all that. Of course, we did do Monarch a lot at night so I could just be mis-remembering. That route is less traveled but there are more deer. I don't think I've ever encountered a deer on I-70 but we've come close to hitting them lots of times heading toward or back from Monarch. The little towns you pass through that way aren't very exciting, either--there isn't much to do or see that I know of in Salida or Cimarron or even Gunnison, although they are in pretty areas.
 
Old 05-19-2010, 04:11 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
85,012 posts, read 98,863,560 times
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Denver is the largest city in Colorado, and has some interesting things to see/do. Plus, to avoid altitude sickness, it is recommended that one spend some time at 5000 feet before ascending to 10,000.
 
Old 05-19-2010, 04:11 PM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
4,888 posts, read 8,908,652 times
Reputation: 2435
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
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."

Yes. Oxygenation of the blood. Different people oxygenize it at different rates.
 
Old 05-19-2010, 06:24 PM
 
9,817 posts, read 19,029,157 times
Reputation: 7541
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
If you want to see overpriced resort sprawl and the crap that every other feckless tourist sees, then, by all means, take I-70.


I knew you'd jump in there! LOL.

I guess it depends on your perspective. I've been through the Eisenhower and Johnson tunnels a couple of thousand times along with the rest of the road, so for me it doesn't do a whole lot. But for a flatlander they might find I-70 rather impressive and I am sure many do.

That's why I pointed out on page 1 for the OP to define "charming". Some people really do find towns like Silverthorne and Avon majestic, while others like yourself feel 180 degrees opposite.

Sounds like the OP is just driven' through hence I don't think there is much to suggest. Route 40, of which I have driven all of it to the Utah state line, is only marginally better for instance, maybe even worse than I-70 if one is looking for scenery.
 
Old 05-19-2010, 07:42 PM
 
Location: Ned CO @ 8300'
1,993 posts, read 4,185,663 times
Reputation: 2767
Quote:
Originally Posted by treedonkey View Post
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 just something people tell us to keep us from getting overconfident and acting foolish, but I prefer to know the truth of the matter.
You just go ahead and think that way based on YOUR experience.
The TRUTH is that it CAN and does happen to ANY one. It does not matter if you are young and in great shape. It does not matter if you are old, fat and out of shape.
Example: I live at 8300'. Friends visited from CA and we hiked in Indian Peaks Wilderness ~10,000. One of them is in fantastic condition, she runs marathons. She drank plenty of water and stayed hydrated yet she got very ill. One of our companions was a 60 year old woman in so-so shape and she was just fine. This past weekend in Aspen my brother got ill. He has visited me many times in the past 29 years and never had a problem, not once. Aspen is actually lower than where I live but on Monday he had all the signs of altitude sickness. He's 50 and in good physical condition. My mother last visited us at the age of 85 and has never had a problem with the altitude.
You just never know who it will affect.

Last edited by Neditate; 05-19-2010 at 07:51 PM..
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