Last weekend, I made the trip from the mile high city of Denver to around 10,000 ft in elevation at Keystone, Colorado for TBEX 2012.
The scenery was beautiful and the weekend was full of exciting events, but there was a small cloud hanging over the entire weekend. The cloud that is altitude sickness.
Here are a few tips to avoid worsening your own altitude sickness, as well as some other things to keep in mind over your Rocky Mountain adventure.
I know, I know. You’re in the mountains and you want to have a good time.
It’s possible to have fun, without going overboard on the drinking. You can still have a great time with a few less drinks. besides, the alcohol will effect you quicker in the high altitude.
Think of it as two for one drinks :p I quickly got a buzz after only a few drinks, especially when we went up to the top of the mountain. So, bottoms up–just in moderation.
Water, water, water. That’s what everyone kept telling me when I arrived at Keystone. I decided to ignore them for my first day, which was a bad idea.
My first sign was dry lips. It happened so quickly, that I blamed it on the sun. But, eventually I realized that I was becoming dehydrated, and starting gulping down all the water that I could get my hands on.
Drinking water helped with the altitude headaches, the dry lips, and my overall well being. Although, there were a lot more bathroom breaks than usual.
9,280 ft to be exact. The base is high, but there are great elevations to be had at Keystone.
Hop on the gondola and take a ride up to the Outpost on North Peak, at 11,660 ft. The views from the Gondola alone are worth it, and the mountain top has some great scenery.
Don’t strain yourself too hard on your trip up, because you will now be at an even higher altitude. I noticed it immediately, even just walking between the two gondolas caused me to run out of breath. Just take it easy and enjoy the view.
The weather changes in the Rocky Mountains. Shocking right?
If it says that it’s going to be sunny–it’s probably going to rain. If it says it’s going to be hot, the temperatures will still drop drastically at night.
Even if it’s summer, you will definitely need to bring along a warm jacket. Even when I was wearing jeans, a long sleeve shirt, AND a jacket, I was shivering out of my flip-flops at night.
Of course, it still gets hot during the day, so wear layers or pack extra outfits.
Another thing to remember.. sunscreen! It may sound silly, but you are technically closer to the sun, and will burn more easily. I ended up turning red after only fifteen minutes in the sun!
I probably made this mistake myself. With only a weekend to spend in Keystone, a pretty full schedule, and very little planning, I didn’t make the most of my surroundings.
I would have loved to have taken more rides up the gondola, walked on the many trails, gone fishing, or even tried some mountain excursions.
But–I ended up spending most of my free time in the hotel. If you get the chance to travel to Keystone, please, please, PLEASE.. GET OUT OF THE HOTEL.