Any Advice for High Altitude Hiking?

on 7/25/11 11:53 pm, edited 7/25/11 11:54 pm - Arlington, VA
Hello all,

In September, I plan to check off a major item from my bucket list and hike part of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.  This should involve 4 days of hiking about 28 miles in high altitude.  It is my understanding that the range will be from about 9000 to 14000 feet.  I have plans for 4 days to  acclimatize prior to the hike, have been hiking locally (east coast, though, so nowhere near the altitude that I will actually be hiking at), working out at the gym and have a script for diamox.  I have heard that plenty of fluids are key to avoiding altitude sickness.

Does anyone have experience with exercising in high altitudes?  Is there anything else I should be doing?  Any advice?  Any special concerns post WLS?

on 7/26/11 6:45 am
Sorry, no advice, but that sounds like an awesome trip.

Congrats, and I hope you have a blast.

Please post on how the trip was when you get back.


The first time you do something - It's going to be a personal record!

on 7/26/11 1:44 pm - Arlington, VA
Thanks, Scott! And I will post about the trip when I return. Hiking and camping along the Inca trail is one of the highlights of the trip, but I also have plans to stay in an Eco lodge in a remote part of the Amazon and hike there as well. That's if I can get through this crazy vaccination regimen!

You were a great inspiration last year when I was training for my 1/2 marathon - many thanks.

on 7/26/11 1:32 pm - Northern, CA
Hydration is vital.

I did a triathlon at altitude and one thing that surprised me was how fuzzy-brained I got when I exercised. I expected to be tired and slow but I didn't expect to do things like forget how to breath during the swim. So I would just be aware of that especially if you get into any situations were judgement is called for.

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on 7/26/11 1:46 pm - Arlington, VA
Thanks. I knew about the possible headaches and shortness of breath, but not the fuzzy brain.

on 7/28/11 1:16 am
Sharon, did you see this news article

LIMA, Peru (AP) — Hundreds of unticketed tourists have been turned away from Machu Picchu this week as Peru's famed Inca ruins reached capacity.

Angry tourists blocked a bridge for two hours Monday in the town of Aguas Calientes at the entrance to the ruins. That impeded buses that ferry visitors to the hilltop archaeological site.

Juan Julio Garcia is the regional tourism director in nearby Cuzco. He says some travel agencies have failed to inform visitors that they should get tickets in advance because of the daily load limit of 2,500 people.

Authorities established the limit for Peru's main tourist attraction in 2005 as a conservation measure.

In January, tickets became obtainable online. The site,, can be slow to access


The first time you do something - It's going to be a personal record!

on 7/28/11 1:36 am - Arlington, VA

Hi Scott,
No, I did not see it, but I know about the rule.  2500 people seems pretty high.  I was told the limit was 450 people max a day!  2500 may include the guides, cooks, assistants, etc. 

They are having the 100th anniversary for the discovery of the ruins this week, which is probably why it is crazy and mobbed. 

I had to secure my trail passes before I did anything.   My whole trip has been planned around when I could get those passes! 

Thanks for passing this on. 


on 8/14/11 11:18 am - TX
I have been to Peru several times and hiked the Misti volcaneo and Machu Pichu.

You need to arrive in Auguas Calientes at least 3 days before you start hiking.
I would recommend getting anti-altitude pills from a travel nurse.
Only drink bottled water.
You will eat WAY less because of the altitude.
It will be very cold...bring lots of layers. The humidity makes it hard to stay warm.
It will be very difficult to do normal things.
Eat and drink all the coka coca tea, cookies...etc.
Don't forget your camera, it will be gorgeous!

Let me know if you have any more questions!
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