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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Kinaba who??

As many of you know I am a Hash House Harriers. This year the bi-annual Interhash is held in Borneo (see their website) and I am intending to go! Not only that, I am intending to be fit, to be very fit, and not to have lung infection; I am going to climb Mount Kinabalu

Gunung Kinabalu (The Malay name) is a prominent mountain in Southeast Asia. It is located in Kinabalu National Park (a World Heritage Site) in the east Malaysian state of Sabah, on the island of Borneo. Its summit (known as Low’s Peak) is at 4,095 metres (13,435 ft) above sea level.

The main peak of the mountain (Low's Peak) can be climbed easily by a person in good physical condition, and requires nomountaineering equipment. That sounds like me doesn't it! All I need to do is make sure I can handle the altitude.

Altitude... For anyone who lives near the sea to even spend a short time above 4000 meters. There is a 20% chance of getting altitude sickness in areas between 2000 – 2500 m, and a 40% chance in areas of 3000-3500 m. With below 50% lung capacity this may affect me worse...

Sensitivity to altitude sickness varies from individual to individual, and is not dependent on the degree of physical fitness, nor on the previous number of visits to high altitude areas. Patients with heart and lung diseases run more risk at high altitude. The symptoms can persist for up to 72 hours after arrival and may continue for 2-5 days when remaining at high altitude. At first the symptoms of acute altitude sickness are mild: the patient complains of headache, fatigue and shortness of breath (dyspnoea) upon exertion, lack of appetite, nausea, insomnia, dizziness, general malaise, and sometimes swelling of hands, feet and face (first of the eyelids). The severity of symptoms depends on the altitude, the rapidity at which this altitude was attained, the effort expended in getting there and whether the visit is prolonged there overnight. The complaints can get worse(vomiting, dry cough and increasing shortness of breath), and can sometimes eventually develop into life-threatening conditions due to high altitude lung oedema (fluid in the vesicles of the lung, with a worsening dry cough, fever and shortness of breath even when resting) and/or high altitude cerebral oedema (swelling of the brain, with headache that no longer responds to analgesics, unsteady gait, increasing vomiting and gradual loss of consciousness).