Preparation and Fitness
People often talk about fitness not being directly related to acclimatisation. It may be true that fit people don’t always acclimatise well but it’s certainly true that unfit people are adding an extra strain on their process of acclimatising.
If you’re hauling a large sack up the stony paths of Aconcagua then multi-day, self-sufficient back-packing trips in the UK will help your body prepare for these strange demands. If you’re off to the steeper and more technical Ama Dablam then time spent working hard on exposed, difficult ground will pay dividends (as will practising using fixed ropes). On the other hand, if your chosen peak has lots of exposed snow slopes there’s no shortcut for time spent with axe and crampons on these in Scotland and the Alps.
Getting High & Coming Down. Hopefully some of these tips will help you to achieve your goals in the high mountains but as a final rider do remember that there are few things more tiring than a big day at altitude. Be aware that fatigue builds and AMS can have a time lag. The idea that you will suddenly feel good again when you return to thicker air lower down the mountain often just does not work out. Feeling exhausted and hypoxic whilst committed high on a mountain is not most peoples idea of a good ‘holiday’! So, do save a few ‘beans’ for the descent.
In summary - prepare well, train hard; relax, but look after yourself and good luck with the weather. Berg Heil!