Trekkers en route to the Thorung-La pass on the Annapurna Circuit, Nepal.

Ask Me: How Do We Flatlanders Train For High Altitudes?

In Ask Me, Hiking, International Adventures, Skills   |   Tagged , , , ,   |   4 Comments

Hi Michael,

I hope this finds you well! At the end of the year I am hoping to join my friends on an adventure to Argentina to climb Aconcagua. We are not taking the technical routes, so no ropes or glacier travel. My question is this: what is the best way to train for high altitude? I live at sea level in Portland, Maine, so access to high peaks is not really an option.

We are building into our plan several days at the different camps to help acclimate on the way. The plan is somewhat fluid but we are expecting to take about two weeks on the mountain.

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4 Responses to Ask Me: How Do We Flatlanders Train For High Altitudes?

  1. MichaelALanza   |  January 19, 2016 at 9:50 am

    Thanks for sharing those details, Chris. I may try it out when I attempt Mount Whitney with my son in April.

  2. Chris   |  January 19, 2016 at 9:27 am

    Michaellanza, I read an article years ago about how ginkgo helps the body in absorbing oxygen and I have used it countless times in climbing peaks and found it to make a big difference. I do not claim it will eliminate the possibility of altitude sickness, but I have found that the dizzyness that I have experienced without it goes away along with being easier to breathe.

    I climbed Mt. Hood without it probably 20 years ago and I had to stop every 15 steps or so on the last 1000′ as I was getting extremely dizzy (I live in Portland, so nearly sea level). A couple years later, just as fit, I climbed Mt Adams (which is 1000′ higher) and I marched right up with no issues while taking ginkgo several days prior and on the day of the climb. I have countless other times that I have seen similar & consistent results.

  3. michaellanza   |  January 19, 2016 at 8:59 am

    Hi Chris, I certainly agree with your suggestion about fitness and running hills. I’m not aware of any data suggesting that ginkgo biloba aids in reducing the symptoms of altitude sickness; are you? I’ve seen some articles online about ginkgo biloba in general, including this one: But none mention its use in dealing with altitude sickness.

  4. Chris   |  January 19, 2016 at 8:04 am

    I have found that along with being fit (running hills helps) taking ginkgo biloba helps a tremendous amount. Start several days before, taking 1 high quality pill (I use Oregon’s Wild Harvest) 3x a day through your trip. I found they help my body absorb oxygen. I have done climbs with and without and notice a big difference. Have a great trip!

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