Altitude and Pre-Acclimatisation



Over the last 8 years, the altitude chamber at Ontic Health & Fitness has been used by hundreds of both recreational and serious climbers, to help them achieve and enjoy their altitude adventures.

Each year, thousands of people ascend to altitude, whether it is for rigorous mountaineering or a leisurely ski vacation.

Mountaineers must spend weeks at base camp acclimatizing to the harsh hypobaric and hypoxic conditions they will face in their trek to the summit. Even with this investment of time, and regardless of one’s physical condition, the risk of Acute Mountain Sickness or other factors preventing a successful ascent or ruining a vacation is always present.

A person’s reaction to high altitude is heavily dependent on genetics. Certain people are predisposed to acquiring AMS more severely than others. However, studies show that 80% of people ascending to altitudes of 13000ft/4000m or higher will suffer the debilitating symptoms of AMS (headache, nausea, insomnia) to some extent. This risk cannot be completely eliminated, but it can be predicted, controlled and significantly reduced.

By exercising in hypoxia before leaving for an expedition, you can pre-acclimatize and prepare yourself for exposure to extreme altitudes. Through the physiological adaptations users can expect the following benefits as a result of such a pre-acclimatization program:

  • Reduced symptoms of AMS
  • Reduced time spent acclimatizing at base camp or Ski vacation
  • Improved probability of a successful summit attempt or ski Vacation
  • Improved power and endurance
  • Decreased recovery time and fatigue