Altitude Illness, also called Acute Mountain Sickeness (AMS), is a condition caused by the human body's exposure to a lower partail pressure of oxygen at higher elevations. High altitude is defined as more than 5,000 feet above sea level.
Downtown Taos and Santa Fe are both situated at about 7,000 feet. And that's in the lower elevations, at the base of the mountains! The Village of Taos Ski Valley sits at about 9,200'. Our snowshoe adventures usually take place between 9,000' and 12,000' above sea level, in the snow covered, alpine peaks of New Mexico's Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Symptoms of AMS include headache, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, shortness of breath, loss of appetie, and dehydration. Typically, these symptoms go away with rest at elevation, and proper nutrition and hydration. Try to avoid brain and respiratory depressants, such as alchohol, tobacco, and sleeping pills. Getting plenty of rest before you leave for an active vacation at altitude, is a good idea.
We always recommend that our guests stay in the Taos or Santa Fe area for a few days, prior to any physical activity at high elevations. The rate of acclimatization is different for everyone, and AMS tends to cross the traditional lines of fitness, age, gender, and even medical history. We also recommend increasing your water intake by a liter a day, so you are accustomed to drinking more water at altitude. Perfusory herbs, such as Ginko Biloba, can increase bloodflow to the brain, and have been shown to be effective as a preventative.
Our experienced Snowshoe Guides are highly trained and certified in wilderness medicine, and know how to identify the signs and symptoms of early altitude illness (AMS), when those symptoms may be progressing into something more serious, and what to do about it.
Taos Snowshoe Adventures takes your health and well being very seriously, and we always lean on the side of caution and conservatism, when it comes to guiding our clients in the winter backcountry. If you have any questions or concerns about snowshoeing at altitude, or the guided tours we offer, please give us a call.
Call us at 1-800-758-5262 or
email us at SnowshoeTaos@aol.com,
Our Snowshoe Guides are Trained and Certified in
Wilderness Medicine and Avalance Safety
Taos Snowshoe Adventures operates under Special Use
Permits issued by the Carson and Santa Fe National Forests.
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