Dangers and Precautions

Altitude Sickness

At 10,000 feet, air contains only 2/3 the oxygen it has at sea level. In addition, the higher air pressure at sea level easily forces the available oxygen through the thin lining of the lungs into the bloodstream. At high elevations, there is less air pressure and the available oxygen is not so easily forced through the lung walls.

SYMPTOMS: Listlessness, loss of appetite, weakness, apathy, nausea, dizziness and drowsiness.

TREATMENT: Stop and rest, breathe deeply a few times, and obtain nourishment from simple sugars such as candy or fruit juices. Travel to lower elevation.

PREVENTION: Keep in good physical condition and eat a well-balanced diet. Avoid sudden trips to high altitudes requiring immediate physical exercise. Drink plenty of water.


SYMPTOMS: This reaction to altitude is caused by breathing that is too rapid and a decrease of the carbon dioxide level in the blood, causing light-headedness and cold feeling. Victims are apprehensive and excited.

PREVENTION: Same as altitude sickness.


A good rule is "lightweight but loaded", meaning loaded with calories. Plan your meals to ensure a balanced diet of high-energy foods. Take along plenty of snacks.

Water is often difficult to find in winter. All that is available may be what you take or can melt. Replacement of fluid is very important for maintaining physical condition.


What you carry in, please carry out. Take food in easily compressed packages, such as foil, that requires little space in your gear.

Avoid leaving human waste near any water source. If you are in a group, avoid concentrating wastes. Nature can assimilate only small quantities at a time. Bury solid waste 6 inches underground.

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