Understand How The Process Of Acclimatization To High Mountain Climbing

Imagine that you are traveling on a plane whose cabin is pressurized, the almost 9,000 m of altitude. If the cabin loses pressure, the air inside the plane will have the same pressure as the air outside and you, in approximately 4 minutes, loses consciousness and dies.
However, climbers can climb mountains over 8,000 m, without the use of supplemental oxygen.
What is the difference between the two scenarios? The difference is the process called ACCLIMATION, in which the body adapts to low levels of oxygen.
We will better understand the issue of “thin air”. The percentage of oxygen in the air is 21%, and remains practically unchanged until the 21,000 m. However, is the number of molecules of oxygen, for given volume, which falls with increases in altitude — that is, the air is less dense.
To illustrate: suppose that the inspiration we fill lungs with the volume of 1 liter of air. At sea level or at high altitude, we will fill the lungs with this same volume, 1 litre. But at high altitude, as the air is less dense, the number of molecules of O2 is lower for that volume of 1 liter of air.
So, we will have less availability of O2 molecules in the lungs.Consequently, the amount of available oxygen to keep mental and physical agility decreases.
To better understand the process, let’s use the analogy of the freight train.
The tracks are your veins, the train is the blood and the freight cars are red blood cells, which carry as cargo the oxygen molecules. The train receives the load on a supplier, our lungs and take that load to the factory, which are our tissues, muscles, brain, etc.
Low-altitude our body receives O2 in abundance. Thus, the load (O2) received on the freight train is taken to the plant in a quiet, unhurried speed, as there is enough charge to keep the factory (our bodies) in operation.
But when the load becomes scarce? The factory can’t stop, so she sends a signal that you’re not getting enough load. It is then that starts the adaptation of the body to the altitude.
BREATH
During the acclimatization, the body will adapt to that lower availability of O2 permitting your exposure to altitude. The main adaptation that one realizes, to gain altitude, is the increase in respiratory rate, both at rest and in motion.
One gets the impression that lack of breath to talk. Using the analogy of the train, if there is less O2 in each load the train (our blood) receives on the vendor (lungs), the body will cause the supply to work faster to make up for it.
That is, will cause your lungs to work more quickly to provide a reasonable amount of O2. And for that to happen, let’s breathe faster.
HEART RATE
As well as your breathing increases as you go up the high altitudes, the same occurs with your pulse. This is perceived especially in the early days at altitude. If there is less O2 in each wagon (red blood cells), the engine (your blood) will go faster for this plant (our bodies) don’t get little O2.
That is, will make the blood more quickly take a smaller amount of O2.
It’s a good idea to measure your heart rate. You will notice that after a few days, your pulse will again decrease. This may be a sign that your body is acclimating to the new sleeping bags for camping via ANDYOUTDOOR.
BLOOD
With the increase in altitude, the blood gets thicker. This process begins in the early days at high altitude, because the body produces more red blood cells to carry the scarce amount of O2. Using the analogy of the train, if each train (blood) have more cars (red blood cells), O2 will be loaded to the factory (body).
But this can be a problem if you have many cars on line, carrying little O2. The train is too heavy and can’t follow with agility and efficiency.That is, your blood is too thick.
Thick blood can clot easily. Inactivity, as spending days inside the tent because of a storm, can increase the probability of formation of a clot that can migrate. For example, a blood clot formed in his leg can migrate to the lungs and put your life at risk.
The movement of the clot can be 1 1 problem more common than previously thought and may explain the sudden and rapid deterioration of the physical condition of some people at altitude.
If you see such a situation, try to get out of the tent and exercising.
To enhance this effect, a good hydration is key.
CHANGES IN SLEEP
Most people at altitude do you feel any trouble sleeping. Sleep can be uneven and some might wake up out of breath. These changes are more common at altitudes above 4,500 m.
In the tent, you can hear your breath mate increasing and getting more loud, noisy. Then begins to decrease gradually until it is unnoticeable and to cease. Suddenly begins to get back to the rhythm stronger again.
This is what is called a “periodic breathing”. Often, before resuming your normal breathing rhythm, the person wakes up scared, with a feeling of suffocation and a lot of anxiety. Some people even think about giving up the climb because really get scared with these unpleasant feelings.
However, periodic breathing decreases your symptoms as the body is aclimata better.
Periodic breathing doesn’t happen with all the people who expose themselves to the altitude. Only a few can feel its effects. But it is always nice to know that this can occur.
HOW TO ACCLIMATE?
There is no formula ideal for acclimatization, is a process that varies from person to person and depends on the altitude at which will be exposed.
To avoid the evil of Altitude (AMS), a widely used strategy is to increase the altitude where you will sleep in about 300 m, from the altitude of 3,000 m. While following the path of climbing or trekking, the ideal is to stay two or three nights at the same altitude. This is the rule of “climb high, sleep low”, or climb high, sleep low.
Let’s illustrate: you arrive at Namche Bazaar, a village in the Everest trek, which is 3,400 m and where you will spend the night. The next day, following the rule above, ideally, take a walk around the village, but gaining altitude (at least 300 m). The more you stay at this higher altitude, the better.
In our example, the next village is Temboche, the 3,800 m. So, on this day of acclimatization walk, ideally climb 400 m (the difference in elevation between the villages), stay there for a while (1 hour, weather permitting) and then down again to Namche to spend the second night. The next day, you go to Temboche. And so on …
That way, when sleeping the first night the 3,400 m, you gave the time necessary for your body to adapt to this amount of O2. The next day, the strategy was up to 3,800 m in your acclimatisation walk. His body received information that will have even less O2 available and began to adapt to this altitude.
To go back to sleep to 3,400 m (second night in Namche), you gave again this time required for your body to do all the adjustments described in the previous paragraphs and can work in the best possible way in high altitude.
If you’re not feeling well, don’t go to sleep at a higher altitude. It’s a sign that your body is sending you, you need more time to adjust to the amount of O2 available. Go slowly, especially in the early days at altitude. Enjoy magical places where you are, without haste and without jeopardizing your health.
Good rock climbing!