Website- Peak Freak Expeditions

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Cheyne Stokes at Altitude

Peak Freaks once again enjoyed a day of instruction at the base of Lobuche Peak. Rope rescue and
other survival techniques were rehearsed.

Romano from Australia has beens struggling with a condition related to altitude known as Cheyne Stokes, it's inhibiting his ability to sleep soundly. I've experience this myself at altitude and typically a very small percent of our participants will - especially on Everest at Camp 3 if they are not supplemented with oxygen. For that reason we supplement all our Everest climbers at Camp 3 to get the full rest they need pre-summit push.

Tim and Romano discussed his options as he's not been able to sleep for several days and as a result is losing much needed energy for the summit push. He decided to retreat to the village of Lobuche to enjoy two full nights sleep before the summit bid tomorrow.

Cheyne Stokes are related to low oxygen saturation and for some who suffer from this , their body is alerted to gasp for air and this reaction jolts the climber awake each time he or she starts to relax as the result of taking in less oxygen. Or for some, they don't wake but their tent mate is kept awake listening to irregular breathing patterns of the person next to them. They will sound as though they've quit breathing and then gasp but never wake themselves from their slumber.  If this goes on for more than 2 or 3 nights it can be the end of a climbers ascent higher as the only cure is to retreat, spend more time at the elevation they were last comfortable and gradually try to ascend again. For some they can hit the wall each time at the same elevation no matter how long they are there, and try.

Another thing we see on high altitude climbs is a condition that has nothing to do with altitude. It's claustrophobia. Anyone that has not experienced life on a major expedition that requires sleeping in tents for multiple days may learn something new about themselves. Something they wouldn't have known till they tried it. This condition is more common than most would think. We've already lost a few participants on this expedition at this stage of the climb. Once again this can be for some- the"boot" in boot camp.

These are two very good reasons to join this program and spend only $7K instead of $20K or $50K to find out your body chemistry just doesn't work for you up here or expedition style climbing is not for you before making the big investment in time away and money.


High camp tomorrow, rest, hangout, summit push at some gaud awful hour in the middle of the night.


Wind will be the highest it is this week and Tim said that is exactly what he was hoping for. Just another reality test of what to expect on big mountains such as Everest and what it feels like to climb in harsh conditions. It won't be that bad, but they will get a bit of a simulation. 

Stay tuned!

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