altitude pills


Veteran member
Mar 27, 2014
Woodland Park, Colorado
Great info ColoradoV, much appreciated.
I live at 7,500 and I hike nearly everyday up and down in these mountains but I too feel the effects at higher elevations.
Above 10,000-11,000 starts to become noticeable and above 12,000 I can definitely feel it.


New Member
Oct 17, 2017
I'll be hunting the bighorns this september and got a prescription from my doctor for Diamox.

Acetazolamide is used to prevent and reduce the symptoms of altitude sickness. This medication can decrease headache, tiredness, nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath that can occur when you climb quickly to high altitudes (generally above 10,000 feet/3,048 meters).
To prevent altitude sickness, start taking acetazolamide 1 to 2 days before you start to climb. Continue taking it while you are climbing and for at least 48 hours after you have reached your final altitude

Colorado T

Active Member
Aug 28, 2011
Littleton, CO
An antacid can also work. I remember over 20 years ago that during the Colorado sheep and goat orientation they used to tell everyone to have Rolaids or Tums with them. I have used them and drink lots of water and have never had a problem, of course I am also from Colorado.


Very Active Member
Jul 9, 2018
If you get those prescription pills watch very carefully what you take with them - ask your doctor or pharmacist about interactions. Some are bad with alcohol or painkillers like aspirin. Use what you need to use, just be careful.

Oh and if you don't use them, and you're like me and do like a nip around the campfire before bed, cut your shots in half. :) Alcohol hits you twice as hard at 11,000'!


Mar 28, 2016
Gypsum, Co
I'd just leave the alcohol alone until you get off of the mountain.

It is one of the main things that they tell you to stay away from or use in extreme moderation if you have problems with altitude.

There will be times to celebrate once off of the hill.


Active Member
Aug 8, 2012
South Texas
I live in Texas at around 1000’, I make 2-3 trips a year to Colorado, in the summer and a hunting trip
Or two. I’ve found that if I get there two days before season opens I’m fairly well adjusted by the opener by hydrating and getting plenty of sleep. I’m a big guy in reasonable shape (6’2” 245lbs) we usually cover 3-6 miles/day with up to 3,000’ elevation gain. My hunting partners often take various altitude powders/supplements and I tried them one season...I didn’t notice any difference.
I will say for sure from experience alcohol is not your friend at elevation if you’re a flat lander...even just a “couple” around the fire will rob your strength a surprising amount. We sleep around 9000’ and hunt up to 12,000. 12,000’ will kick your butt no matter what.


Ed B.

New Member
Nov 16, 2017
Lots of great info. Much appreciated.
I will be staying away from any sort of alcohol. I kinda joked about coffee on another post but seriously, the thought of no coffee for a week is discomforting to say the least. Maybe I'll take decaf.
Depending on our route in we might park around 10,000 and head down to 8500.
Or start around 9 and head in.
I'm sure everyone's situation is unique but is 8-9 problematic or is 10,000 kind of the figure where things get tough?

Ed B.

New Member
Nov 16, 2017
Here's an article i just read.
I like what the author adds to tre reasons to not drink. On the way out of town for sure we'll have a beer. But I don't want to experience what you guys warn about.


Veteran member
Feb 21, 2012
Two Harbors, Minnesota
I have been on trips with younger guys who were in great shape who had problems at altitude. I'm not talking about just sucking wind, as that is a given, but headaches, dizziness, and even numbness in the extremities. I only had what I thought was the headache from the altitude on my first guided hunt in Colorado. It turned out that it was just coffee withdrawl as the outfitter didn't have any coffee in camp.
Now, I make sure I get my cups of Joe before heading out, and even have some chocolate coated coffee beans for insurance. Some tell you to stay away from caffine, but I've never had a problem at altitude unless I don't have it.


New Member
Sep 1, 2013
The only trip that bothered me was one year we stayed in Gunnison (7,700') overnight and then horse packed in and camp was at 10,700'. I had the worst headache of my life. Rest, tons of water, and food had me feeling fine 24 hours later.
Most other times we camp around 8,500-9,000 and hunt up to 11,000+...I've never had a problem doing this. I did take Diamox on another trip as a preventative, but can't really say whether it did anything or not.
This year we plan to go in and camp around 10,000'. I'll be taking Diamox again...can't hurt.
My experience fwiw...I think it has to do a lot with recovery altitude when sleeping...if you are sleeping above 10,000 it is so much harder to recover from the days exertion. Your breathing speeds up to get more oxygen, and in turn you expel so much more water because of the increased breathing rate...dehydration can sneak up on you and that leads to most of the problems.
The rule I always heard is that it takes 1 day to acclimate for every 1,000' when you go above 8,000. So 2 days to get acclimated at 10,000, etc.


May 10, 2015
I'm in Michigan too. Made my first trip west in 2017 at 36 years old. I started cardio and weight loss in January that year. Went from 303 to 260. I hit it hard at the gym and out on my mountain bike. Figuring weight loss and increased lung capacity would be helpful. Also did a bunch of walking with my weighted pack in the stairs, treadmill and outside. The morning before we headed up the mountain we started drinking lots more water and threw in poweraide. We hunted Colorado at between 9,000 and 10,300. Took it easy scouting the first couple days. I never had much of an issue. Just had to take breaks every once and a while to suck wind.

If I could have kept my buddies from convincing me to to across boulder fields I would have been much better. Ha ha

Good luck and stay safe.

Rich M

Very Active Member
Oct 16, 2012
I heard that if you sleep below 9,000 feet there will be less effects.

Taking that extra day or half day to get acclimated might just make the other 5-7-9 days more tolerable. No, I never been there and don't plan any mountain hunting.

Hope your trip treats you guys right and you get what you are hoping for.


New Member
Jan 18, 2017
Buddy of mine that goes with me some years gets sick. He seems to be fine at 8000 but it kicks in at 10,000. I have always taken Tums. It acidifies your blood. Start taking a few every 4 or 5 hours on the trip out . Used to use aspirin but switched to Tums some years back. Also water and Gatorade are your best bets. Hard to drink enough sometimes when it is so cold but you have too. Lived in Gunnison years ago. Used to get 'the headache' when I went over Monarch Pass on the way out to hunt with dad. Haven't had that for many years now. Only thing I notice now is the first 2 nights my sleep is almost like having a fever, light headed and vivid dreams. Also for a couple of days I urinate like a race horse. It's your kidneys adjusting to the lack of carbon dioxide. As for coffee, drink it ; , I always have with no ill effects.
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lucky guy

Mar 10, 2014
Lots of great info. Much appreciated.
I will be staying away from any sort of alcohol. I kinda joked about coffee on another post but seriously, the thought of no coffee for a week is discomforting to say the least. Maybe I'll take decaf.
Depending on our route in we might park around 10,000 and head down to 8500.
Or start around 9 and head in.
I'm sure everyone's situation is unique but is 8-9 problematic or is 10,000 kind of the figure where things get tough?
I've never heard of altitude pills, can't hurt I guess if they don't interact with anything. I don't change my coffee intake either.
I believe conditioning is as big a factor as any. I have family/friends from back east come every year to hunt in OR or Wy at 6-8k. Those in shape do ok, those who aren't have a harder time. A lot of being in shape is oxygen transport/absorption. Who's gonna do better when that oxygen starts to thin out? Hydration seems to be the biggest issue with them, they're just not used to drinking enough water in the arid climate, start with a headache.
Don't overthink it, get in shape, take a day or two along the way to acclimate, pump as much water as you can. I'll add one more, sounds like you should all hunt with a buddy or two.


New Member
Jul 5, 2019
My son and I went to Colorado last year and camped at 10000 ft and hunted up from there! He did not do well . I got diamox and cyalis for him from the doctor and it still took him 4 day s at lower elevation to get felling better. We only had a week to hunt and he didn't even start til day 5. I'm lucky it hasn't bothered me in forty years of being in mountains every fall. Yet! But i do try to stay in reasonably good shape year-round .

Ed B.

New Member
Nov 16, 2017
Thank you all for the help.
The wife got some over the counter pills of some sort. Hopefully they do something. we will for sure take the drinking lots of water advice.
We should be leaving tomorrow evening. That should afford us an over night stay in Denver to acclimate.
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