READING TIP: From Altitude Tent to the thin air of Mount Everest.

Wilco Dekker slept in one for seven weeks altitude tent from Altitude Dream. Until his departure to Kathmandu where he prepared to climb the world's highest mountain. Wilco shows that everyone with a healthy passion can make their dream come true through faith, trust and conviction. There are many factors that play a part in making the climb to the top successful. Dekker explains that it is, among other things, about identifying as many risks as possible at an early stage and doing everything possible to exclude them all so that no surprises remain on the mountain. Altitude Dream's height tent was a part of that. Do you want to know more? Dekker has written down his experiences in his new book 'Mount Evereston the way to heaven '. In it he describes his lead-up route to the top of the world and explains how the seemingly impossible can become possible.

From: 'Mount Everest, on the way to heaven' by Wilco Dekker
Price € 21.95 | 256 pages | pocket size 21 × 14 | Release date April 6, 2020
Grenzenaandetop.nl

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Some skaters, cyclists and athletes have been doing it for a long time. Sleeping at a high altitude to create extra red blood cells. These red blood cells are produced by the bone marrow, which receives a signal from the kidneys when a shortage of oxygen is detected in the blood. At high altitudes less oxygen is present and so the body will start the process of producing extra red blood cells. Once back at sea level, there are more red blood cells present than normally need to be present and the body can absorb more oxygen and perform better. Surrounding yourself by low-oxygen air can be done by actually looking up the height or simulating the height in a height tent. I immerse myself in this topic. I read and hear a lot about it and decide to rent a height tent seven weeks before my departure and to sleep in a room with oxygen-poor air every night. The intention is that I start making some red blood cells and increase my Hb level.

I now sleep exactly six weeks in my height tent, which I rented at 'Altitude Dream'. The compressor starts up with a loud beep every night and then blows oxygen-poor air through my 10 meter hose into my bedroom. On top of that is my deluxe bed tent height tent, an impressive transparent plastic tent. Inside the tent, the mattresses, sheets, pillows and duvet lie as if nothing has changed. The entrance of the tent is well zipped and the rubber hose sticks a little into the tent on the side. There blows the altitude generator the oxygen-poor air inside. Within 45 minutes, the tent has filled up with the new air that contains only 50% of the amount of oxygen compared to the air outside the tent. I set the height generator to mode 6.5, with the height adapter completely open, which corresponds to an altitude of 5,100 meters. Tonight I again sleep at a high altitude.

I started at 2,000 meters six weeks ago and increased the height by 250 meters every two days. I have fluctuated around 4,000 meters for a while and now make occasional trips to the 4,500 and 5,000 meters. Much higher is no longer comfortable, or I have to spend longer in the tent. At this point, I can't lie in it for much longer than eight to nine hours a night. I have to get out in time to work and exercise. This limits the continuous production of red blood cells, but I have long been satisfied that I can reach 5,100 meters.

The website of 'Altitude Dream' says with a wink that they are not responsible for relationship problems if I decide to use this height tent separately from my partner. I imagine that not every partner wants to sleep in a closed oxygen-poor tent for seven weeks. Fortunately, I hit it off with Jennifer and she goes along in the acclimatization process. Sleeping in a height tent does take some getting used to. There are nights that I sleep through without a problem, but there are also enough that I wake up in the middle of the night around three o'clock and have to take a few extra deep breaths with a stuffy feeling. Not worrying but a bit uncomfortable. Incidentally, completely recognizable with the acclimatization phenomena on all my previous climbs. This happened there and it is part of adjusting my body at a great height. Jennifer experiences the same and can now more easily imagine what I am going through at high altitudes.

Many people wonder whether this really makes a difference. I wondered that too but still chose to do it. I took a blood test six weeks ago to measure my Hb level and repeated it last week to see if there was a difference. And sure enough, this level had increased by 0.3! Not much but a sign that my body is actively stimulating red blood cells. I also believe that the cells in my body have a memory function and accelerate the pick-up when they come into contact with oxygen-depleted air in the Himalayas. In my opinion, sleeping in a height tent gives you a slight advantage to acclimatize faster. This will only become real in the end when I leave for Nepal next week and hopefully reap the benefits.

With a height tent there are a lot of influences that can slow down or accelerate the acclimatization process. If you stay in the tent for more than 12 hours, you are more likely to acclimatize faster. The question is whether you can make that time available. I can't do that, I have to settle for a maximum of nine hours. If you want to go to a great height too quickly in the tent, your body is not yet properly acclimatized and you are often awakened at night by shortness of breath. And that costs your night's sleep. It is important to choose a good middle way. I am happy that I used these full seven weeks to work quietly up to 5,100 meters.

Every morning it is a wonderful feeling to unzip the tent from the inside and to breathe in the heavy oxygen-rich air from outside the tent. I will miss that heavy oxygen-rich air once I am at high altitude.

From: 'Mount Everest, on the way to heaven' by Wilco Dekker
Price € 21.95 | 256 pages | pocket size 21 × 14 | Release date April 6, 2020
Grenzenaandetop.nl

Direct order