Altitude sensitivity

When do you start “feeling” altitude in general? e.g. shortness of breath just walking up a slight hill, slight headache, slight nausea, dehydration, increased urination.

  • 3,000’ (914m) or below
  • 3,000’ (914m) - 6,000’ (1,828m)
  • 6,000’ (1,828m) -9,000’ (2,743m)
  • 9,000’ (1,828m) or above

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I had an incident a couple years ago that led my doctor to tell me I shouldn’t bike above 3,000’ anymore, the reason being that I have an underlying heart condition and I also appear to be inordinately sensitive to altitude changes. I sort of knew about the altitude issue already, even as a teenager in Lake Tahoe, I’d feel a tad dizzy and faint just walking up 10 steps to our cabin.

If you’ve been at higher elevations, when did you start feeling the effects? I don’t mean full on vomiting and cerebral edema, just when you started to notice that you were at altitude.

I haven’t been cycling above 14000ft….Between 12k and 14k, I feel I have to work harder but no bad symptoms like you describe…NEVER.

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I’m not sure how to answer. Live at sea level, and when going up to Truckee / Lake Tahoe (elevation 5800-6200 feet) its not easy to detect shortness of breath, but if quickly climbing stairs I’ll feel it. Same with Reno at elevation 4500.

Slight headache, slight nausea, dehydration - really only feel those things above 9000’ for example going up to Breckenridge Colorado (elevation 9600) for a couple days. One of my worst ‘hangovers’ was going from living in Portland (sea level) to Breckenridge with friends to ski, and having a couple beers the night we arrived.


For me, it’s 7000 feet. I can go into the red and recover quickly, even at 6000’. But when I get above 7k, something happens and I get wrecked pretty fast.

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Kind of like what @WindWarrior said, I can feel it when going up stairs even at 5,000, but I have to go significantly higher to feel nausea, etc.

I do notice that my sleep, HRV, and RHR all suffer, even at 4,000. My Garmin goes wonky for the week I spend on a cycling trip, telling me my recovery and general readiness is far lower than my own RPE tells me it is.

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