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The Air Up There -- Altitude Sickness


Journeywoman's 10 steps to the top...

Before your climb, discuss your plans and destination with a travel doctor.
Avoid rapid ascent when possible, i.e. flying directly from sea level to a high altitude. Considering this is not always possible, take a few days to acclimatize at the higher altitude
Climb slowly. Overexertion will not get you to the top any faster, but it will get you sicker.
Climb high, sleep low. It is the sleeping altitude that is particularly important. This should not increase by more than 1,000 feet per day.
Every three days, have a day of rest.
Avoid the use of sedatives and tranquilizers. They may depress your respiration.
Dress warmly. Hypothermia will exacerbate the symptoms of altitude sickness.
Avoid alcohol. Its effects might be a little more profound at high altitudes.
A diet high in carbohydrates and low in salt may be beneficial.
Stay well hydrated. Drink enough to keep your urine clear.

Websites to consider...

Himalaya Rescue Association --
The High Altitude Medicine Guide --
The Travel Clinic --

Ed. note about Dr. Wise and VSO...

We're delighted to have Dr. Mark Wise, Medical Advisor to VSO Canada as part of the Journeywoman Network. VSO Canada is the Canadian partner of VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas), the world's largest independent volunteer sending agency, based in the UK. VSO Canada was established in 1992,and there are now more than 100 Canadian volunteers in 23 different countries overseas, working with individuals and communities in the pursuit of a more equitable world. VSO volunteers work alongside people in developing countries to share their skills and experience where they are most needed. For more information about these organizations, The VSO “mother-site” dealing with volunteers worldwide can be found at Journeywomen should check out VSO's Canadian site at

Women's Words on Mountains...

MountainYou never conquer a mountain.
You stand on the summit a few moments.
Then the wind blows your footprints away.
(Source: Arlene Blum, Annapurna, 1980)

Climbing is almost an unconscious act for me.
I don't have to drive myself, I'm already driven.
(Source: Stacy Allison, with Peter Carlin, Beyond the Limits, 1993)

Nothing puts things in perspective
As quickly as a mountain.
(Source: Josephine Tey, The Daughter of Time, 1951)

When you are a child of the mountains yourself, you really belong to them.
You need them. They become the faithful guardians of your life.
If you cannot dwell on their lofty heights all your life
Then if you are in trouble, you want at least to look at them.
(Source: Maria Augusta Trapp, Story of the Trapp Family, 1949)

The New Beacon Book of Quotations By Women -- Rosalie Maggio






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