By Matt Johns
The Adaptive Grand Slam team are now in Argentina and have started their acclimatisation programme. At almost 7,000m above sea level, the level of effective oxygen decreases from 20.9% to 8.7%. As well as being unpleasant, this can contribute to a number of physiological problems including headaches, nausea and shortness of breath. By acclimatising, the team will be able to ascend higher, faster and with less problems. More importantly, acclimatisation training minimises the chances of the more serious conditions associated with high altitude such as pulmonary or coronary edema.
Acclimatisation training will involve the team slowly increasing the time they spend at increasingly higher altitudes. This will allow the climbers to adapt to the physiological changes in a controlled and safe way. Acclimatisation will also allow the team to get used to the equipment and terrain; ensuring climbing prosthetics fit properly and any adapted equipment is fit for purpose. With temperatures at present getting down to -24C on the mountain, it will also give the team a chance to get used to the biting cold.