August 12

Altitude Sickness: John Muir Trail Case Study

Imagine hiking over Mono Pass then south bound on the John Muir Trail.  Another beautiful week in the Sierra’s with some of your buddies, one who is on his first backpack trip and is blown away by the beauty.  You never had any issues in the Sierra’s except an occasional headache that you could not figure out if due to lack/low amounts of caffeine or to elevation.

Now in 2013 you are hiking the second day and especially the third day and your hiking partner is commenting that this year he can keep up with you and even get in front of you which never happened before.  You are struggling and working hard for hikes that you have never had problems with.

Like a lot of adult males your blaming the extra pounds you put on each year, now up to 215lbs for 5’10” and maybe your age 57 y/o is causing issues.  I swear I’m going to lose this weight when I get back from this hike.  One of the three of us has asthma and he has a dry cough each morning then you also have the dry cough that sounds exactly like his.

Mono Pass

While approaching Muir Pass we camped at Wanda Lake at 11,413 ft. elevation.  You were really tired and beat. We had a hail storm for about an hour then you ate a little dinner and lay down to go to bed.  You could not breathe thru your nose because you were huffing and puffing so hard it took 1-2 hours before your breathing to slow down enough that you could fall asleep.

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