High Altitude?

Hi Guys

I’m heading up to about 3 - 4,000 metres above sea level into Chile and guess what - that means altitude sickness probably…

I’m sure none if you are stupid enough to try going that high with MAV and being dizzy already (apparetly it makes you dizzy and sick at really high altitude), but has anyone had any serious issues if they have? I’m getting a little concerned about it - there isn’t much I can do as that is the only route, but hey thought I would ask.

And all this while trialling Topamax ! Great! I really do love to punish myself.


It looks like you’re going to be my lab rat on this one! I had these exact same questions earlier this week. A friend of mine is taking off for Machu Picchu in October. I know another person who also did this hike along the Inca Trail. A large percentage of the “normal” non migraineurs were all wiped out with migraine symptoms and dizziness. This is the norm for a lot of people hitting high altitude without allowing sufficient time to acclimatise.

Personally, I’d be packing it if I was attempting such a hike but would really like to try it one day. The problem is compounded by the strenuous non-stop exercise of hiking all day long. I would have to work up to it for 2 weeks I reckon. Just being unfit and going for a power walk here at Bondi trashes me for 2 days.

Where are you going exactly? Sounds amazing … get some pics for me! :smiley:


We spent a week in Boone, North Carolina several weeks ago. We hiked Grandfather Mountain, which is just down the road from Boone, and got up close to 6,000 feet.


For a day or so, I felt the altitude, and then I adjusted very well for the rest of the week. I was both intrigued & a little worried about how I would adapt before we left. Fortunately, it turned out very positive.

As an aside, I tried to upload a picture of me balancing on 1 foot on the mile high “swinging bridge”, but I think the picture was too big. Obviously, my equilibrium was ok. I’ll try to post it again some other time.

Hi Luke,

I was in Cusco and Machu Pichu last year. I wasn´t in a MAV cycle at the time but I did react badly to the altitude (breathless, fatigued, dizzy) and did get a BLINDING migraine (violent scintillating scotoma kind) within a day or so of being at altitude. Knocked me out for a couple of days.

On the upside as far as I know there´s no correlation with migraine and altitude (but I have my suspicions) and there´s no predicting who will be affected by altitde (eg age, fitness etc).

South America is so fantastic I´d say it´s worth the risk. And you don´t actually have to trek the Inca trail to get to Machu Pichu )I´m sure the Incas would have taken the bus had it been around in their day :slight_smile: also, Machu Pichu itself is at a lot lower altitude than Cusco. If you´re going to Bolivia as well La Paz is prettz high, but fab, very worth a visit.

Good luck and when do you see Hain? Sorry if you´ve been and I´ve missed it, I´m travelling myself and only sporadically internetting.


What do you all think of simply flying in an airplane and MAV? I’m afraid to do it I’ll be honest.


Very reticent.

Hi Rich

By the end of this year I would have taken 42 flights. I have MAV and have been fine ( I think!)

Vic - will head up to Picchu next week. Have been feeling rubbish lately with all the med trials…not ideal when travelling. Was at 4500 metres 3 days agao and was very dizzy…hard to breathe too! Hope you are having fun.

Im praying for a topa miracle.


You sound superhuman:-) Amazing how much you are doing with all this stuff. I too have a ridiculously high pain/suffering tolerance but not even close to you. Congratulations on experiencing the world despite these extra challenges. You are an inspiration. I really hope the topa works out for you. Hang in as best you can. We’ll all look forward to your pics.

Luke - I second that - you do sound superhuman. You are amazing. I sure hope Topa works for you.

Rich - I didn’t have much problems on the plane per se. The difficult part was walking through the airport and waiting on lines (that was nearly impossible for me). however, being how well you’re feeling, I think you’ll do fine.

thanks, I appreciate that. I have problems with ear pressure, which is what freaks me out a bit. I’m deathly afraid of catching a cold, because if I do, my ears will become clogged for at least a week straight, and with swallowing, blowing my nose, etc, my ears can become dis-equalized and I get vertigo. This happened so badly once, that I was in the hospital with violent spinning vertigo for 4 straight days and I lost 30% of the hearing in my right ear. So, I fear the winter, I use hand santizer everywhere I go, and I make sure my immune system is supercharged so that if I DO get a cold, it’s minor and doesn’t clog me up too bad. But I NEVER get a cold without getting my ears clogged to SOME capacity. It’s an absolute nightmare. So, the plane causes that a bit and so it freaks me out. That’s my main concern. :wink: