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Mountaineering The Mountaineering forum is for discussion that relates directly to mountaineering (alpinism, climbing).

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Old 12-04-2008, 07:09 PM
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denwaite denwaite is offline
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It's my understanding that the diuretic effect of caffine is not enough to offset the actual fluid taken in. If you ingest caffine without adding the fluid in coffee, you don't get the fluid to offset the diuretic effects. I don't know much about the vascular constriction - I'd bet it isn't enough to worry about outside of artic cold conditions. Good aclaimation is probably more important than giving up coffee or tea. The vascular problems resulting from dehydration are likely much more severe so I drink coffee and tea, enjoy my backpacking mornings, and stop in the bushes as often as necessary!
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Old 04-22-2010, 04:05 AM
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kcwins kcwins is offline
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Start the day without coffee????? Oh hellllllllllllllll noooooooo!
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Old 12-19-2012, 06:25 PM
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ultralightbackpacker ultralightbackpacker is offline
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Originally Posted by hoosierdaddy
What is your experience with caffeine at over 10,000 feet?

I gotta have my coffee in the morning! I don’t like tea for the equivalent caffeine rush and caffeine equivalents such as Java Juice, caffeine pills or something similar doesn’t seem to offer a viable solution as I'll explain soon. For that kick-start that I "require", I know there has to be unpleasant or even dangerous physiological tradeoffs at altitude.

Here’s my thinking: Caffeine is a vaso-constrictor as well as a diuretic. The vaso-constriction of alveoli capillaries in the lungs slows the exchange of O2, which is already in short supply at altitude. Your heart is already beating faster to get more oxygen in your blood system than at your normal altitude. If you’re already having trouble catching your breath at 10,000’, it doesn’t make sense to add fuel to the fire in the form of caffeine to make your heart work even harder. The caffeine caused vaso-constriction also causes blood vessels in the extremities to constrict which will make one's hands & feet get colder faster.

The diuretic effect makes you lose water thru urination. You dehydrate faster at altitude than normal due to drier air, cold and greater exertion so you are making it worse with a diuretic. Not an ideal situation when one considers that few alpinists get an optimal amount of water in the system on a daily basis anyway.

So, is there a solution other than giving up my beloved cup of java?

I feel best if I abandon the caffeine
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