Photo: Janet-Planet, in the Australian Outback
Photo: Janet-Planet, in the Australian Outback
Acute Mountain Sickness, AMS as it is often referred to, is the effect the declining number of molecules of oxygen in the atmosphere has on our body as we ascend in altitude. It can range from a mild illness, to the more severe life-threatening forms of the illness, such as High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE), and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE).
The latter two conditions require immediate attention and descent from altitude otherwise death is the most likely outcome.
I’m not intending to go into a great discussion on either, nor am I qualified to do so, but as part of my journey “To Climb a Mountain” I want to gain a better understanding of both conditions.
High altitude is defined as 5,000 to 11,500 feet, very high altitude 11,500 to 18,000, and extreme altitude as 18,000 feet and above. At extreme altitudes physiologic function will outstrip acclimatisation eventually.
My reading has taken me across a wide variety of topics, but the one that caught my attention was the connection between muscle and the requirement to fuel our muscles with oxygen when under exertion.
Over the years I have trained as a power-lifter for strength purposes and I have achieved results I am happy with. As a consequence I have grown muscularly and currently weigh-in around the 95 kilogram mark. This has given me a good power-for-weight ratio and has enhanced my speed on the kayak over the short to mid sprint distances.
Power-lifting has helped me develop strong legs, especially my quads through squatting, and dead-lifting.
Will this muscle help, or hinder me on the mountain as I trudge up the side of an 8,000 metre peak?
When exercising, the body, or more specifically the contracting muscles have an increased need for oxygen and this is usually achieved by a higher blood flow to these muscles.
And therein lies the dilemma as I see it.
Due to the less dense air at altitude the number of oxygen molecules for any given mass of air will drop. Consequently, mental and physical performance will decline, and the larger the muscles, the larger the requirement for oxygen to prevent muscular fatigue…
So what can I do?
There is not a lot that you can do to prepare for the effect of AMS, some people will adapt and perform better at altitude than others and this is hard to predict from one individual to another.
What I can do is decrease my muscle mass, and whilst that will mean a decrease in overall strength I can try and maintain the power for weight ratio balance.
The upshot of all this is that ahead of my expedition to Nepal in April I will deliberately take around 10-12 kilograms out of my frame…
The climbs in Nepal will be done without the aid of supplemental oxygen.
I won’t be changing my training routine greatly, I will maintain some weight training, rowing and kayaking, and importantly, a daily walk of around 10-kilometres with a 25-kilogram backpack at silly o’clock in the morning (that is 4:00am).
The best way to control weight change, either gaining, or losing, is via your diet and that starts in the kitchen.
Baz – The Landy (In my home gym in the “Shed”)
Like an unsatisfied lover, in recent years I started to look further afield with a desire to experience more from my affair with the mountains…
Three years ago I commenced training designed to assist and enable me to contemplate climbing an 8,000 metre peak in the Himalayan Mountain Range. The mountain of choice Cho Oyu borders Tibet and Nepal and is the world’s sixth highest mountain peak and possibly the most accessible of the world’s fourteen 8,000 metre peaks.
The fun is in the journey, right?
I have had some great times developing my rope skills climbing in the Blue Mountains not far from Sydney as well as undertaking an extreme fitness regime.
And talk about a good laugh here and there, strewth, I can’t even tie my shoelaces properly (it’s a long story) but here I am tying myself off on vertical rock-faces!
Unfortunately injuries over the past year or more proved to be a significant setback and at times had me questioning whether I should continue! But the injuries are now behind me and a solid fitness regime is under way to get me on track!
My head is back in the right place, the switch has been flicked once again…
And crikey, the “rat” is gnawing away and it needs to be fed – that’s a good sign, for me anyway, as Janet rolls her eyes with a wry smile breaking through ever so slyly.
Janet knows the rat well, it has led us on many wonderful adventures…
And how good is New Zealand’s Southern Alps playground – truly a mountaineer’s playground.
After a reasonably steep multi-pitch climb I crossed this snow covered Arête in the cover photo on the way to the summit of Auroa.
Whenever I view this photograph it reminds me that “standing back from the edge is safe, but the view is never as good” – it reminds me what I love so much about the mountains, it inspires me to pursue my goal…
So, one step at a time, let’s do this together!
Baz – The Landy
The girl’s, Janet and Leah, packed their men, TomO, me, brother-in-law Ray (the Kiwi) and young Aubrey, off on Saturday afternoon, before glamming up and heading to a beautiful French restaurant in Newcastle…
And what an awesome effort by nephew 5-year old Aubrey, he walked half of the 25 kilometre hike!
And the Kiwi showed some great endurance carrying him and a 20-kilo pack the rest of the way! Mind you he did run 100-kilometres of this route just a couple of weeks back in 20-hours!
The Australian Bush hey, you’ve got to love it.
But hey, no need to fret if you don’t spot me around your blog for a couple of weeks or so I haven’t given you the flick or anything like that, after all what else would I do during the daily commute at 6:30am in the morning if it wasn’t for your blog?
Crikey, where else could you read about a woman in a bikini or get a fill of skinny pirates or hear some bent woman using a very naughty word
hell I love it when she talks like that as she was sweating it out.
Okay, and don’t go thinking you’re not a favourite either just ‘cause you didn’t get a mention, strewth you’re a fickle lot today, aren’t you!
I just won’t be in range for the normal communication devices to work! You know, those techo gadgets, iPhones and WiFi thingy’s…
Although, you will be able to keep tabs on me.
Yeah, that perked you back up a bit didn’t it, I can see you’re excited about that prospect… 😉
If you get a chance
make sure you take a bloody look at the blog posts I have scheduled each day and by clicking “The Landy“ link in it you’ll see a map that shows just where we are “lost” in this Sunburnt Country of ours…
How cool is that!
Every so often I’m hoping to be able to share some of the magnificent landscapes I capture on my trusty Nikon 600 Camera, so keep an eye out for that!
I will actually be doing some running while I’m crossing the desert to prepare for the 100-kilometre running race I am lining up for this September. Yeah I’m hearing you– talk about dumb ideas
spawned out the bottom of an empty beer bottle, but if you’re in need of a bit of a giggle just click here.
Rest assured the desert country will be as “dry as a dead-dingo’s donga” so you know what that means – a couple of beers a day to quench that thirst. Strewth, you wouldn’t be dead for quids!
Hey, take care, and I can see it is no use telling you to be good, and remember the motto I live by… if all else fails, just remain out of control and see what develops!
I’m gearing back up, slowly but surely and aiming for a Himalayan trip to climb three 6,000 metre peaks in the not too distant future
And of course, Cho Oyu, the world’s sixth highest and one of fourteen 8,000 metre peaks, still beckons…
This has been my goal for sometime and you might be left wondering when is Baz going to get around to doing it…and I must say I’m a bit behind schedule after the injuries and personal setbacks of the past twelve months – but I’m getting it back on track, slowly, but surely!
In the meantime I’ll be travelling in Australia’s wonderful outback in June and July, including a crossing of Australia’s Great Victoria Desert and a visit to the site of the Atomic Bomb testing from the 1950s– so be sure to stay in touch!
And crikey, just remember, if all else fails, remain out of control and see what develops…
TomO is very accustomed to the Birdsville Pub.
Oh, but don’t worry, he is yet to quench his thirst with a beer, perhaps that will come in time, but he has made many friends over the years in the front bar. Plotting adventures with a local boy, playing snooker with the many visiting pilots, and even fallen in love with the policeman’s daughter, at the tender age of three!
And he tells me he is looking forward to this visit…
What do you think he will find this time?
Many may recall that Brian passed away last year and so as a tribute to him we are making the journey accompanied by my mother, Fay, the love of Dad’s life for near on 60 years! But he’ll be with us….for sure!
Our trip along the Birdsville Track will take us in the footsteps of the famous Australian Outback Mailman, Tom Kruse.
Tom delivered mail to the many cattle stations along the track in a “Blitz Truck” arriving at Birdsville, in far Western Queensland, before loading up for the return trip to Marree. His story is one of human endurance, courage, and perseverance. Despite facing considerable challenges each and every day out on the Track, Tom got the mail through, a lifeline to those who lived and worked in the area…
Before arriving in Birdsville, we will pass through one our most well-known outback towns, Broken Hill, and visit Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Ranges.
Wilpena Pound is an ancient landscape over 800 million years old, a mountain range rising out of the landscape that has the appearance of being an old volcano. It is also home to the Adnyamathanha people.
After a couple of days resting in Birdsville following our trip up the “Track” we will head towards Innamincka, a small locality that is infamous for being the end of the ill-fated Burke and Wills Exploration.
Passing back down into New South Wales though Wari Gate, we will overnight in Tibooburra and visit the family hotel where the famous Australian artist Clifton Pugh, who once painted a mural on the hotel walls. In fact, he even owned it at one time.
A favourite place we like to visit is Trilby Station. Trilby is a working sheep and cattle property on the banks of the famous inland river, the Darling River, and as usual, we will camp by the Billabong. And whilst in the area we will take the time to revisit Toorale National Park to further our knowledge of Australia’s first people.
And as we make our way back to Sydney via Narromine, Orange, and Bathurst I’m sure there will be plenty of stories to recount from our couple of weeks “Out and About with – The Landy”.
As we tour I will put up some photographs of the Australian Outback, perhaps just to whet your appetite for a visit, Downunder!
So keep you eye out for those…
These words summed me up perfectly, I thought.
I’m sure many will be able to relate to them equally, regardless of what your pursuits are…
Over the years I have pursued a whole range of activities, some adventurous, others less so – but I have always been driven by a desire to simply embrace life…
And I have never considered myself an expert in any of them, but it has always been a fierce determination that has seen me through; a strong faith in my ability to grasp the key things, to put them into practice.
I’ve never considered anything I’ve done as a failure, but I’ve had plenty of learning experiences, set-backs that have helped me to learn, to grow, and to develop. I’m thankful for those set-backs, as they have made me stronger.
Eccentric; mad; yes, I’ve been referred in that way many times.
Today, I wear those comments proudly, like a badge.
Walt’s words have encouraged me to have the confidence to pursue my dream of climbing large mountains, to consider making an attempt on the summit of Mt Everest, in the least, to have the courage to admit that I want to climb it.
Every day on Wordspress, millions of words are written by ordinary people, stories about the challenges life has thrown at them, what they have done, and continue to do to overcome them.
About their dreams and aspirations; their highs and their lows…
Ordinary people who want to improve their fitness, to lose weight, to cycle across a city, or across the world.
Many have their sights set on a fun run, and others having completed one, setting their sights towards running a marathon.
For others, it is their challenge to become stronger, to be able to lift more, or about capturing that once in a life-time photograph, perhaps testing a new recipe to share with friends, or with people they have never met.
Others talk about health and lifestyle challenges they struggle with, that they have overcome.
I read as many of them as I can, they motivate me and they provide me with much needed inspiration…
Seemingly, there is always someone in this cyberspace community ready to reach out, to congratulate, to console…
Usually these people aren’t super-elite athletes, or neither five-star chefs, nor are they fitness gurus.
They have a much greater status than that, for they are simply ordinary people, the same people that Walt Unsworth wrote about when he penned those words…
To those who aspire to do their best, to challenge themselves, I say never give in, you’re not alone out there, dream big, and pursue your dreams…
But on ordinary people, yes I’ve referred to people as ordinary, but in reality, there is no such thing as ordinary people, we are all unique, we all contribute to the mosaic that makes up the world we live in…
It would be a boring place if we were all the same…
We’d never learn, grow, or develop as people.
Take the time to read over Walt’s musings a couple of times, because he was speaking about you…
Draw on the strength of his writing, it is powerful…
Above all else remember,