Altitude Training for Pre-Acclimatization
“Hypoxic pre-conditioning provides protection from acute and otherwise lethal hypoxia (Everest is close to lethal at pO2=30mmHg) by preserving vital organs and reducing the formation and severity of pulmonary and cerebral edema.”
Thousands of people each year ascend to altitude, whether it be for a mountaineering expedition or just a leisurely ski vacation. Individuals spend a great deal of time and money on such trips. Mountaineers must spend weeks at base camp acclimatizing to the harsh hypoxic conditions they will face in their trek to the summit. Even with this investment of time, and regardless of one’s physical condition, the risk of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) or other factors preventing a successful ascent or ruining a vacation is always present.
A person’s reaction to high altitude is heavily dependent on genetics. Certain people are predisposed to acquiring AMS more severely than others. However, studies show that 80% of people ascending to altitudes of 13000ft/4000m or higher will suffer the debilitating symptoms of AMS (headache, nausea, insomnia) to some extent. This risk cannot be completely eliminated, but it can be predicted, controlled and significantly reduced in a cost effective and timely manner.
By sleeping at progressively higher levels of normobaric hypoxia and exercising in hypoxia at home before leaving for an expedition, mountaineers can pre-acclimatize and prepare themselves for exposure to extreme altitudes. Similarly, tourists and vacationers that live at sea level can insure an enjoyable vacation by pre-acclimatizing in their home with a simple IHT program starting 4-8 weeks before their trip.
Through the stimulation of EPO production and other physiological effects previously listed, users can expect the following benefits as a result of such a pre-acclimatization program:
- Reduced symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness
- Money saved by minimizing time spent acclimatizing on site
- Increased probability of a successful summit attempt
- Improved power and endurance
- Diminished fatigue
- Decreased recovery time after aerobic and anaerobic efforts
Pro-Tip: Depending on the altitude of your trip, and your experience at elevation, a 4-8 week rental is typically advised with primary focus on sleep training. Active altitude workouts are a great complementary option for those looking to mirror the efforts they will see on the mountain. Additional passive IHT can also be added to supplement sleep and exercise training.
Hypoxico Training for Rapid Ascent Mountaineering
In the last few years, Hypoxico technology has been instrumental in revolutionizing the sport of high-altitude mountaineering. We’ve partnered with world-class commercial guiding operation, Alpenglow Expeditions, to help clients achieve “Rapid Ascents” of some of the worlds most iconic peaks. Alpenglow clients receive Hypoxico altitude training packages to pre-acclimatize from home prior to traveling to their climbing destination. The results has been quite successful and the benefit of accelerated climbs are far reaching. First, the client doesn’t have to make as much of a time investment to the trip. Because much of the acclimatization is achieved at home, most itineraries can be cut 40-50%. This means that a typical 70 day itinerary on Mt. Everest can be cut 35-40 days. In addition, using Hypoxico equipment will increase the likelihood of success on your climb and, most importantly, significantly improve safety.
For a real world example of Rapid Ascent success, read this Men’s Journal article on how Adrian Ballinger and Emily Harrington smashed the speed record on 27,000′ Cho Oyo – the world’s 6th highest peak. Adrian and Emily accomplished the climb in just 9 days – a feat that takes most climbers two months or more.
“We all made it to the roof of Africa and back in one piece! No headaches or illness, just a fantastic family experience. Our Hypoxico training made all the difference. Hannah officially became the youngest person to legally summit Kilimanjaro on the 17th October.”
“The Hypoxico equipment worked like a charm. On my recent successful summit of Denali I had no issues with the altitude, not even a slight headache. I slept in the hypoxic tent in a spare bedroom at various altitude adjustments for 40 days plus before my trip. Additionally, I used the mask for IHT training on a treadmill. On past trips, because of altitude, I always felt that I was a little behind the mental curve–that’s a potentially dangerous thing in this environment. I always felt like I was in the moment, very aware of the surroundings and conditions. With a lot of luck on the weather, the summit was bagged.”