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GAS Tour Summer 2017

This tour has three days in Murren, Switzerland. My wife thinks she may have altitude sickness. Murren appears to be at the top of a mountain and I was wonder if anyone had any similar symptoms.

Thanks for your replies.

Tim

Posted by
5975 posts

Its not at the top of a mountain. Its about the same elevation as Denver or Albuquerque.

Posted by
11450 posts

It would be unlikely she would have altitude sickness, most unlikely . Like almost no chance .

Posted by
8245 posts

The Schilthorn is the top of the mountain and very much above Muerren. On one trip I did (21 day Best of Europe) to the Schilthorn several people started feeling ill at the top but were fine as soon as they descended. (headache, slightly queasy stomach) This last summer when I went on the GAS tour everyone in that group was fine at the top of the Schilthorn. No one felt ill in Muerren.

I have a huge fear of heights and do not like the gondola rides so I usually sit with my eyes closed. This time, coming down, the gondola operator came over to me and asked in English if I felt sick. I was surprised and said no, just don't like heights. He grinned and said a number of people feel sick from the elevation and he just wanted to make sure I was OK which I thought was exceedingly nice. This area is so jaw-droppingly beautiful that I make myself go on the gondola rides because the reward at the end of the ride is so worth it.

As far as elevation, Muerren is at about 5400 ft. Lauterbrunnen Valley, which is where the bus will park, is about 3,000'.

Has she been affected at elevation before? It does not happen every time to every person. Sometimes I feel headachy when I go from my home at 2800' to Yellowstone at 8,000'. Sometimes it doesn't bother me at all.

Posted by
112 posts

We live in the Denver metro area a 5,280 ft and frequently visit and hike altitudes of up to 10,000 ft.. Altitude sickness or fatigue can effect many people visiting the area from lower elevations. Most people from lower elevations require some acclimation if they will be doing any strenuous work or exercise, especially if they are older and / or out of shape. Altitude sickness, although infrequent, can have a fairly broad range of severity. I've seen it hit younger very heathy people as well as those not so. It just depends on how well and fast your body adapts. If you plan to hike out of Murren, be in good shape. We've stayed there and the "easy paths" could be a challenge for one not used to altitude. Also, one "does not have altitude sickness". One becomes ill because they adapt poorly to altitude. Suggest one does some easy walks that get your heart elevated slightly and see how good things feel. Then go up gradually. Generally immediate over exertion causes altitude sickness.

That being said, Murren and the whole mountain and valley experience is one of the best we ever had on our RS and individual trips to Europe. This may sound a little silly, but for these concerns and conditions one of the very helpful things to have is a retractable walking stick (not cane). It takes a load off walking and you can rest standing by leaning on it. For general walking around; and the rough paths out of Murren this is highly suggested due to rocks and irregularities of the mountain paths.

Posted by
289 posts

I can sometimes have altitude problems when I stay at altitudes of 7500 feet or more. Murren is much lower than that, but you can develop altitude problems at any time. The best thing to do is drink lots of water to stay hydrated. Avoid alcoholic beverages. I usually use several pillows when I sleep to elevate my head. This helps with breathing during the night. You'll be fine, and you'll love the alps. The scenery is spectacular. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and you can see the Shilthorn and then hike around the area.

Posted by
5666 posts

The trip from Murren to the top of the Schilthorn has a change of gondolas part way up, and you can walk or sit at the intermediate level to have extra time to acclimate to the altitude. I took a half-hour there sipping a bottle of water and admiring the view before continuing up -- just to be on the safe side. But no problems in Murren itself.

Posted by
11262 posts

I had no problems in Mürren or at the top of the Schilthorn, but did feel a bit woozy on the way up to the Jungfraujoch, on the other side of the valley, as well as once I reached the top. I was moving in slow motion for the first half-hour or so up there. I followed advice and ate some trail mix and drank water at the first sign of symptoms, which did seem to help.

The good news is that you can have a great Berner Oberland experience at the lower elevations; you don't have to go up the Schilthornbahn or Jungfraujoch to enjoy the area. However, if your wife does get sick at the elevation of Mürren, then she won't be happy. If she can handle Mürren but not higher elevations, she'll be fine, as there are numerous walks, lifts, etc.

Posted by
41 posts

Thanks. I suspect some of it is mental. If it is only Denver altitude, it should be OK. Probably going on the Ireland tour next year, then onto GAS. We have been to southern Germany so some of it is a repeat. Not a bad thing as my arms are a lot stronger than 4 years ago so the Hoffbrau House should be much easier this time.

Posted by
646 posts

I wouldn't call it mental. Many visitors to Denver suffer from fatigue, depressed stamina, and head aches, not to mention needing more sleep. Breathlessness usually requires more altitude.

Posted by
1 posts

We have been to Murren twice and none of the people we were with had altitude sickness...

Mont Blanc, that one we had altitude sickness.
It is a cute little town, worth a visit.

Jeff

Posted by
79 posts

Your body becomes dehydrated at higher altitudes. Drink lots of water, it helped me while hiking in Colorado and Switzerland.