altitude adaptation is genetic

En route to Thorung La I learned something new from a doctor in Manang at the daily HRA Altitude Talk.

High-altitude adaptation has a genetic component.

Some people who live at high altitudes suffer breathlessness, palpitations and dizziness, while others have no health problems, and now a new study reveals which genes may explain the difference.

The genetic changes, described today (Aug. 15, 2013) in the American Journal of Human Genetics, allow people to take in enough oxygen from the thin mountain air without developing the heart attacks and strokes of chronic mountain sickness.

“We have ascertained there is a major genetic component that allows populations at high altitude to live better,” said study co-author Dr. Gabriel Haddad, a pediatric pulmonologist at the University of California at San Diego. …

Altitude Sickness: Genetics May Explain Why Only Some Fall Ill

Thorong La, 5,416 m (17,769 ft)
Thorong La, 5,416 m (17,769 ft)

I’ve been over 5000m dozens of times, never having any altitude sickness.

Perhaps I’ve got good genes. 🙂

Read more on wikipedia – High-altitude adaptation in humans – Genetic basis:

… The underlying molecular evolution of high-altitude adaptation has been explored and understood fairly recently. Depending on the geographical and environmental pressures, high-altitude adaptation involves different genetic patterns. …

Mt Kilimanjaro Rongai route

Ahmed Almaziad from Saudi Arabia started hiking 2011. And is now addicted.

Ahmed Almaziad

I found his Mt Kilimanjaro Rongai trip report useful.

(I’ve still not climbed the highest mountain in Africa.)

Check his Corsica GR 20 2013 (north) trip report, as well.

Like me, Ahmed found the start of the GR 20 very difficult. In face he backtracked to town to lighten his pack. And start fresh the next morning.

His blog is SaudiHiker.com.

Huayhuash Circuit, Peru

I hiked Huayhuash in 2004. (annotated PHOTOS) It’s my BEST HIKE to date.

Extreme.

I recommend it only to the most experienced and adventurous trekkers.

Here’s our yet-to-be-updated Huayhuash information page based mostly on that 2004 adventure.

Much better is a detailed 2010 trip report by ramblin’ boy:

huayhuash-from-above-shot

… The satellite image above shows you the mini-range of Huayhuash in the shape of a T; it is about 30 kilometers from one end to the other with six peaks over 6000 meters and a couple of dozen over 5000. It’s like walking in Sagarmatha National Park but without the prayer flags!

Most of the 125-km long trek is on trails above 4000m and above the tree line so you have a very stark mountain scenery. …

Huayhuash map

Our trek began with a ride to the new trail head at Llamac in a mini-bus with room for the seven clients, the two guides and cook and his assistant and a whole lot of tenting equipement and food. …

At Llamac we met the arrieros (muleteers) and their burros, all ten of them. They would carry the bulk of our stuff for us; we would walk with day packs containing rain gear, cameras, and a water bottle. I cannot imagine doing this particular trek unsupported, weighed down by all the things you’d need to bring. …

Huayhuash lakes

read on – The Huayhuash Circuit: South America’s Finest High-Altitude Trek

Those marvelous 15 days cost only $1350 / person. A great deal since they had a larger group.

They did the Circuit plus climbs of two trekking peaks: Pumarinri and Diablo Mudo.

Sweet. 🙂

top 10

Updated January 2019.

top 10 hikes

Top-10#1) West Coast Trail, BC, Canada
#2) John Muir Trail, California, USA
#3) Tongariro Northern Circuit, New Zealand
#4) Ausangate Circuit, Peru
#5) Sunshine to Assiniboine, Alberta, Canada
#6) Glacier North Circle, Montana, USA
#7) Otter Trail, South Africa
#8) Everest Base Camp / 3 Passes, Nepal
#9) Haute Route (Chamonix-Zermatt), Alps
10) Overland Track, Tasmania

Be the first to hike those 10 in series in 5 months.


top 10 hiking regions

Top-10#1 New Zealand
#2 Southwest USA
#3 The Rockies
#4 Sierra Nevada USA
#5 Central Andes
#6 Patagonian Andes
#7 Nepal
#8 Australia
#9 The Alps
T #10 Indian Himalaya
T #10 Dolomites

New Zealand is #1 for us. But the wealth of options in North America make it a more compelling destination for most.


top 10 hiking towns

Top-10#1) Queenstown, New Zealand
#2) Huaraz, Peru
#3) Namche Bazaar, Nepal
#4) Cortina, Italy
#5) Chamonix, France
#6) Banff, Canada or Canmore, or Jasper
#7) Grindelwald, Switzerland
#8) El Calafate / El Chaltén Argentina
#9) Zermatt, Switzerland
10) Moab, Utah

More candidate towns.


top 10 coastal hikes NEW

Top-10#1) West Coast Trail, BC Canada
#2) Otter Trail, South Africa
#3) Abel Tasman Track, New Zealand
#4) Lost Coast Trail, California
#5) Thorsborne Trail, Australia
#7) Kalalau Trail, Kauai, Hawaii
#8) Pembrokeshire Coast Path, U.K.
#9) South Coast Track, Tasmania
10) Great Ocean Walk, Australia

More candidate coastal hikes.


top 10 trekking peaks NEW

Top-10#1) Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania 5895m
#2) Cotopaxi, Ecuador 5897m <wiki><pb><sp>
#3) Imja Tse (Island Peak), Nepal 6189m <wiki><pb><sp>
#4) Mera Peak, Nepal 6476m <wiki><pb><sp>
#5) Chimborazo, Ecuador 6263m <wiki><pb><sp>
#6) Huayna Potosí, Bolivia 6088m <wiki><pb><sp>
#7) Misti Volcano, Peru 5822m
#8) Stok Kangri, India 6153m <wiki><pb<sp><trip><video><info><trip>
#9) Mt. Rainier, USA 4392m <wiki><pb><sp>
#10) Mont Blanc, France 4810m <wiki><pb><sp>

Aconcágua, Argentina 6,960.8m can be a walk-up. But not many would be willing to call it a trekking peak. 🙂

Trekking peaks are mountains under 7,000 metres (22,970 ft) climbable by anyone with a moderate amount of mountaineering experience and minimal gear.

Others considered for the top 10:

Thanks to Kraig Becker, the Adventure Blog, for help on the trekking peak section.