At what point do you notice altitude? (shortness of breath etc.)

Any time I'm going up a hill
4
11%
500-999 metres
0
No votes
1,000-1,399 metres
2
6%
1,400-1,599 metres
2
6%
1,600-1,799 metres
3
9%
1,800-1,999 metres
1
3%
2,000-2,199 metres
2
6%
2,200-2,399 metres
0
No votes
2,400-2,599 metres
4
11%
2,600-2,799 metres
2
6%
2,800-2,999 metres
1
3%
3,000-3,499 metres
7
20%
3,500-4,000 metres
0
No votes
Over 4,000 metres
1
3%
I've never been high enough to know
6
17%
 
Total voters : 35

At What Point Do You Notice Altitude?

Postby Tama on Mon 30/Mar/09 1:11pm

When we were up in the mountains yesterday we had a discussion on when people start to feel altitude - in shortness of breath, light headness etc. We weren't talking about altitude sickness - just the body signs of having less oxygen than one is used to.

Our general theory was people start to feel it pretty early on (for me it's a slight shortness of breath around the 1600-1800 metre mark) but acclimatise to it rapidly. Of course the higher you go the harder it hits and the longer it takes to acclimatise.

I've heard repeated stories about how it can effect different people in complete different ways so I thought it was worth throwing out a poll. I realise everything is pretty subjective but it'll be interesting to see what experiences people have.
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Re: At What Point Do You Notice Altitude?

Postby thorg on Mon 30/Mar/09 1:14pm

never felt anything under 3k.

Apparently respiritory problems (asthma etc) can make people feel the slightest change more accutely ?

not me :)
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Re: At What Point Do You Notice Altitude?

Postby jo on Mon 30/Mar/09 1:17pm

I used to think I could feel it on ruapehu.
But I rode up to 1800 the other weekend and didnt notice anything.
I suspect its the cold and damp which aggravates my breathing more than the altitude. :)
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Re: At What Point Do You Notice Altitude?

Postby danose on Mon 30/Mar/09 1:20pm

thorg wrote:never felt anything under 3k.

Apparently respiritory problems (asthma etc) can make people feel the slightest change more accutely ?


we went up avalance peak (a mere 1800m) with a guy who was definitely feeling it - weird thing is he lived in boulder (1600m) so you'd have thought he'd have been totally used to it, but he'd be travelling for a while and obviously was de-acclimatized

whilst one sicko I work with did the trek in to K2 base camp, and reported 'a very slight headache' at 6000m - no previous high altitude experience, obviously just good genes
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Re: At What Point Do You Notice Altitude?

Postby Bigfoot on Mon 30/Mar/09 1:22pm

I live less than 100m above sea level - and have for my whole life... I noticed oxygen issues when hiking at lake louise which is around 1500m :(
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Re: At What Point Do You Notice Altitude?

Postby mfw on Mon 30/Mar/09 1:23pm

I climbed dozens of volcanoes in succession in Indonesia ranging from 2000m to 3800m and it was definately at the 3000m+ level that you really start to notice it.
when you get closer to 6000m it is really noticable and sleeping at those altitudes is horrible 'cause your breathing does crazy things :crazy:
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Re: At What Point Do You Notice Altitude?

Postby psychavoc on Mon 30/Mar/09 1:26pm

Coronet Peak was around 1100-1400 above sealevel and I noticed it then during the South Island Cup round :huh:
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Re: At What Point Do You Notice Altitude?

Postby Tama on Mon 30/Mar/09 1:29pm

psychavoc wrote:Coronet Peak was around 1100-1400 above sealevel and I noticed it then during the South Island Cup round :huh:
Oh yeah - that came up in the conversation. Mel had felt it at Coronet Peak while riding.

I think the amount of exertion has a big effect to how much you feel the altitude. Really pushing yourself at lower altitudes can feel worse than just cruising at higher altitudes.
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Re: At What Point Do You Notice Altitude?

Postby scatter on Mon 30/Mar/09 1:55pm

I've not felt the effects up to 3000m. Above that, I'm still functional, just slow. Watching all the people up at Jungfraujoch (3454m) was pretty interesting......not so much the baby with the blue lips though :huh:
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Re: At What Point Do You Notice Altitude?

Postby Colin on Mon 30/Mar/09 2:24pm

About 3 flights of stairs :blush: but a wee sitdown and a cup of tea will often see me right for another flight or 2.
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Re: At What Point Do You Notice Altitude?

Postby crazychris on Mon 30/Mar/09 2:32pm

There's about a meter of elevation between home and the office, and I feel sick as a dog every day I arrive in work, so I guess I must be hyper sensitive?
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Re: At What Point Do You Notice Altitude?

Postby j2hyde on Mon 30/Mar/09 3:22pm

Depends on acclimation. I really notice it above 3000m (probably because i don't go up that high much), but I think you would (and do) notice it below that if you're not so fit, or have been hanging around sea level exclusively for a while.

Oh, and that thing about the trek to K2 basecamp, because you walk in and that takes a while you build up fitness and acclimitise along the way. Plenty of people make it to Everest basecamp without altitude sickness for these reasons, where as they would be screwed if they were just dropped in there via helicopter or somesuch.
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Re: At What Point Do You Notice Altitude?

Postby inzane on Mon 30/Mar/09 5:03pm

I lived at 3700m for a couple of years... definitely used to notice dropping to 1000m because the air felt thick enough to chew on!! About 2500 to 3000 I used to notice the thinning of the air and the effect that had on me trying to excercise. Biking from 1000m up and over 4800m make you think the effect you started to notice back at 3000m odd is nothing tho!! :crazy: Fark those last few km towards the top hurt!!
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Re: At What Point Do You Notice Altitude?

Postby thelivo on Mon 30/Mar/09 5:48pm

The ground starts to get really big really quickly as you fall through about 1000m :thumbsup:
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Re: At What Point Do You Notice Altitude?

Postby Simonk on Mon 30/Mar/09 5:54pm

That's interesting to see Boulder mentioned, 'cos that's a popular town for altitude training. Anywhere around 5000-6000 feet is meant to have an effect for those of us from sea level.

First time I raced at altitude was Crested Butte stage race at about 8,000 feet - hadn't noticed the altitude while warming up, but sure noticed it during the prologue. So I guess it depends a lot on your fitness and level of exertion.

Your rate of ascent is critical, for sure. Jonathan rode to Everest Base Camp and suffered pretty bad on Pumori Ridge (at about 5,000 m). His riding buddy kept waking him up with gasping fits during the night, and even the guy from Kathmandu they were riding with was miserable.
Last edited by Simonk on Mon 30/Mar/09 6:16pm, edited 1 time in total.
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