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Heart of the Rockies Medical Center: 1000 Rush Drive (near Highway 291), Salida CO. Ph: (719) 530-2200.
St. Vincent General Hospital: 822 W. Fourth Street, Leadville CO 81201, Ph: (719) 486-0230.
The Fourteener area's location provides for amazing and diverse weather conditions. In general, the area boasts over 300 days of sunshine per year. Winters in Buena Vista and Salida are mild in comparison to other mountain regions in Colorado. Because of its location and altitude, Leadville winters are a bit more like what you might think of when you think Colorado. Summers are an alpine delight with comfortable days and cool nights.
Most visitors notice the change in altitude the moment they step off the airplane; everything takes a little more energy altitude. For every 1,000 feet of elevation gain there is about 3% less oxygen available. The Central Colorado elevation is more than a mile high. Most ski resorts in Colorado, as well as the towns of Leadville and Alma, are approximately two miles high. Some people experience headaches, nausea, loss of appetite, and trouble sleeping at elevations as low as 6,000 feet while others experience less severe symptoms or none at all.
The best thing you can do to prevent or minimize the effects of altitude is to have an acclimatization plan suitable for your age and fitness level. Regular exercise at home is a great way to ensure your body is in the best physical shape to properly acclimatize. Allowing yourself 1-3 days at a lower elevation before heading into the high country will provide your body with time to adjust to the lower oxygen levels. Try to avoid strenuous activities during the first 24 hours at high altitude. Most important of all is proper hydration. Avoid alcohol, sleeping pills, respiratory depressants, and drink plenty of water while acclimatizing. Drinking water will help to replace the fluids lost through heavier breathing at altitude. While exercising, the movement of air over your body is accelerating water loss from skin. Hydrate before, during and after exercise. Try to consume no less than a pint of liquid per hour while exercising, and drink every 15 to 20 minutes even if sensation of thirst is absent. If you are thirsty, dehydration has already begun.
When hiking at altitude in clear skies expect the air temperature to drop about 5.4 degrees for every 1,000 feet of elevation gain, or 3.3 degrees when it’s snowing, raining, or you are in a cloud. Pack the proper supplies including extra layers, rain jacket, sunglasses, sunscreen, food, water, map & compass, and proper footwear.
UV intensity increases with elevation because there is less atmosphere to filter out the sun's harmful rays. In Denver there is 25% less protection from the atmosphere than at sea level, and approximately five times more ultraviolet light at 8,000 feet than at sea level. Apply sunblock and wear protective clothing. Sunburns at elevation have a “delay factor”; by the time you notice you are turning pink you are already burnt.
Colorado Parks & Wildlife (800) 244-5613
For a list of local license Retailers, Phone Purchase and Online Purchase visit the Colorado Parks & Wildlife website.
Private groups or individuals do not need a permit to hike or climb any of Colorado’s 14,000 foot peaks. Some routes cross or border private property, so know your travel plan and treat the land with respect. Outfitters offering guided hikes are required to have permits and insurance.
Anytime is the right time to visit Fourteener Country! Each season holds its own unique charms and all four season must be experienced to truly appreciate the beauty of Colorado.
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