Avoid Altitude Illnesses on Colorado’s Fourteeners

quandary 1If you’re planning on hiking any of Colorado’s Fourteeners–peaks above 14,000 feet–this winter or this summer, get in shape first to avoid altitude illnesses including acute mountain sickness (AMS) or the life-threatening conditions of high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) and high altitude cerebral edema (HACE). Physical conditioning and gradual acclimatization can help prevent altitude illnesses at moderate altitudes (8,000 to 14,000) feet, but knowing the symptoms of altitude illnesses is important, too.

Besides having the proper skill, physical conditioning, and gear with you to hike your next Fourteener, I hope these photos of a few Colorado Fourteeners will also help get you inspired.

First…Quandary Peak (14,265 ft.), is pictured above right, and here, my sister and I are smiling on the summit when we hiked the peak in early December:


Torreys Peak (14,275 ft.) and its gorgeous knife-edge Kelso Ridge:

Kelso Ridge 1

Here I am coming across Kelso Ridge:

Kelso Ridge Hike 3

Mt. Evans (14,265)–a portion near the summit called The Aprons:

mt evans aprons

Mount of the Holy Cross (14,009)–just after I skied off of the ridge in late May one year:

holy cross

Mt. Elbert (14,439)–pictured in the early morning before a spring ski from the summit:

mt elbert

Get going…get outside…and enjoy your next Fourteener hike, ski, or climb!

Want to know more about altitude illnesses, symptoms, and prevention?
Read my article on the About.com Survival Skills site:
“Recognize and Prevent High Altitude Illnesses”
If you’re planning to hike or travel at a high altitude, you can do several things to help yourself prepare and acclimatize to this new environment. Acclimatizing to a high altitude includes physical conditioning and a gradual progression from lower to higher terrain…click here to continue reading

Photos © Traci J. Macnamara.


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