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Altitude sickness driving I-70?

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Altitude sickness driving I-70?

I'm driving from Chicago to the Grand Canyon over a couple of weeks. One night we will be in mid-Nebraska and driving through Colorado on I-70 the next day with an overnight stop in Glenwood Springs. Do people get altitude sickens driving this route? I wanted to take Loveland Pass and get a photo at the Continental Divide sign but, being a flatlander, I'm worried about altitude sickness. How safe is it just driving through Colorado?

Colorado
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for Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, Crested Butte, Gunnison
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1. Re: Altitude sickness driving I-70?

"Do people get altitude sickens driving this route?"

Although not unheard of, this is highly unlikely to experience anything while sitting behind the wheel of a car driving. Getting out of breath hiking (or walking up a flight of stairs) might be an issue, but going up and down in elevation at highway speeds is not something you should be worried about.

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2. Re: Altitude sickness driving I-70?

Great! I haven't been able to find out much information about the change in altitude and driving. Does altitude sickness really only occur with strenuous activity?

Windsor, Colorado
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for Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park
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3. Re: Altitude sickness driving I-70?

No, altitude sickness does not only occur with activity. Here is a link with information on altitude sickness. As smushie said, unless you are one of the few people very susceptible to altitude sickness, you should not have any serious issues.

altitudemedicine.org/index.php/altitude-medi…

Edited: 24 April 2014, 19:13
WestSlope,CO
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4. Re: Altitude sickness driving I-70?

Mild shortness of breath (huffing and puffing with only mild exertion) is a normal reaction and is not--from what I've researched--considered altitude sickness. I also like & recommend the altitudemedicine.org website. The Institute for Altitude Medicine at Telluride (Dr. Peter Hackett) is a joint venture with the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and the website has more information than you'll probably want to know!

To make a long story short--While it would be best to plan a night in Denver, Golden or a similar elevation to give yourselves a chance to acclimate, bazillions of people drive I-70 without doing so and have little or no noticeable ill effects. Those who do may have only very minor symptoms such as a headache.

You should be able to take Loveland Pass. Doesn't sound like you'll be up there for long and you won't be setting out on a hike. Returning to lower elevation is what would be recommended to resolve any mild symptoms, and Glenwood Springs is at an "intermediate" altitude recommended for acclimating.

Park City, Utah
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5. Re: Altitude sickness driving I-70?

The general elevation along I-70 is no different than the pressurization altitude of and airliner. I would think it would be highly unlikely that you would notice a thing. If you choose to gain a few thousand more feet over Loveland Pass, maybe you would notice it but I still wouldn't worry about it. If you choose to get out and walk or run at that elevation, you will for sure notice a shortness of breath.

While I'm a mountain man now, I grew up in the midwest and frequently drove out to the Rockies. The only time we ever noticed anything is if we started running up on Loveland Pass.

It's a beautiful drive. Don't let the altitude scare you off. Enjoy it, in moderation.

Have fun.

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6. Re: Altitude sickness driving I-70?

Thank you for your help, everyone!

Little Rock
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7. Re: Altitude sickness driving I-70?

Have lots of water with you & stay well hydrated!!

Fort Collins...
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8. Re: Altitude sickness driving I-70?

You can say you have driven at 11,000+ feet

Windsor, Colorado
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for Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park
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9. Re: Altitude sickness driving I-70?

At 11,990 ft., Loveland Pass is closer to 12,000 ft.

10. Re: Altitude sickness driving I-70?

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