Thursday, February 05, 2009

Altitude Blinders

I just realized that I am a world class idiot, but I'm not supposed to look at it that way. I'm supposed to be giving myself a break with this realization and just because I was too blind to not figure it out years ago does not mean I get to stop giving myself said break.

As I've whined before, I struggle with altitude, especially above 11,500' though I have been able to adjust to 12,000' and have been up to 13,000' 3 different times. When I was younger and MS-free and hiking with my Dad, climbing was relatively easy if I spent one night at altitude beforehand. I've climbed San Gergonio peak, Kearsarge Pass, and Gardiner Pass.

Well in one of those k'duh moments, I finally looked up the altitude of such lofty places. They are, in order: 11,500', 11,700, and 11,250'. None, precisely none, were at or above 12,000' Up until I started the Whitney and Shasta follies, I have probably never been above 12,000' unless it was on a plane or on a Swiss cog train. My pre-Whitney adult hiking experience (after those Sierra hikes with my Dad) was in the relatively low California coastal mountains.

So I need to just lay off on myself and take the proper time to aclimate. The trouble on the Whitney trail is that the altitude jumps between the camps are 2,000' and my body and most official texts on the subject of aclimatization prefer 1500'. Fortunately in the Outpost (10,000') to Trail Camp (12,000') climb there is Consultation Lake which is around 11,680' and a lovely place to camp from what I understand. I hate to give up that 400' on summit day, but it beats being sick even before summit day.


Jennie said...

I'm glad you've had this realization. It's funny how checking in with what's really true can make us stop beating ourselves over the head with things.

Ellen said...

Oh I'm sure I can come up with something to beat myself up about. All while at the same time expecting to succeed at whatever I'm doing. Which is maybe why I beat myself up.