Man dies from Altitude sickness in the Big Horns

Outdoor Junkie

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Forest Lake, MN
Just saw this come through on facebook. Apparently he passed away from altitude sickness while on a mule deer/ elk hunt in the Big Horns. I knew you could get sick but I had no idea that you could actually die from altitude sickness. I have to admit that reading this article brought tears to my eyes thinking about the pain that his kids felt when daddy didn't come home. Hopefully some good comes out of this and people realize how dangerous this can truly be.

http://www.mlive.com/news/jackson/index.ssf/2015/10/we_built_so_much_here_albion_f.html
 

LopeHunter

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Yes. Can be fatal. Is rare for death to occur. The scary thing is once you have an episode related to being at altitude your risk increases and continues to increase with each subsequent event. Lots of good info online from trusted sources for wise steps to take if are headed up in the mountains. If you or someone in your party starts to have a pounding headache, nausea, etc, then is time to descend down to 8000 feet or lower. A hospital visit is not something to avoid and try to macho out of in front of your buddies. Stay safe out there.
 

VAspeedgoat

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Agreed, very sad. I was there a few days later and didn't know it happened. Makes me wonder what I would have done in that situation. Prayers for the family.
 

Rooster52

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Very sad indeed. This was the first year I was subject to altitude sickness while on my elk hunt. Not good. Fellow hunter,take this serious .
 

Nameless Range

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Incredibly sad and tragic for his family and friends.

I have a friend who had to take an emergency helicopter ride off of Granite Peak in the Beartooth a few years ago due to altitude sickness. Breathing became near-impossible for him and I remember him saying it was the worst headache he had ever experienced.

I think the thing to remember with altitude sickness is experiencing it is not a sign of weakness, or failure of the will. The effects of altitude on the body are largely outside of the control of the mind. It can seem to the contrary when one individual is hurting badly from the elevation while others are perfectly fine, but there seems to be a lack of factors that predict which individuals will suffer from AS.
 
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NKQualtieri

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Bozeman, MT
I teared up too. So heartbreaking for his sweet fam.

A friend of mine died from elevation sickness while backpacking. He had lived in CO his whole life and was into technical mountaineering and skiing, had climbed 14ers, all of the above. He just didn't realize it was altitude sickness as it tends to feel like a bad flu.

So just a quick word to the wise, this can happen even if you're acclimated. If you start feeling sick in the mountains, immediately move to lower ground. It's the best safeguard you have, no matter how much time you've spent up there.
 

SnowyMountaineer

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Very sad, thankfully it rarely ends in fatality. I've been altitude sick plenty of times, it's amazing how varied the human response to altitude is based on physiology. When I lived at 5K feet it consistently hit me about 10K-10.5K. I now live at 6.5K, and it still consistently hits at about 11K.

It's one of the many reasons that knowing your body's response to environmental stresses is important. Even then, like Nikki's friend, it can be sneaky like hypothermia.
 

mixedbag

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scary stuff there and sad story.Only time I felt effects of it was at 11.5 ft in Co.Felt like someone was standing on my chest at night;it was that hard to breath.Think the fire was sucking the little oxygen we had out of the tent.I didn't feel bad hunting,and only noticed it that one night
 

Kiwi

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That's a very sad story indeed. I also had no idea that you could die from altitude sickness.
 

WyOpitz

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Wyoming
Same area that I have hunted this year. I didn't hear about this until now. Pretty sad for his family. Pre-existing heart condition likely contributed to the cause.
 

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