Sea Level to 14er Challenge Recap
If you’ve been following us on social media you likely know about the ‘Sea Level to 14er Challenge’. We applied academic learnings around breath training and put them to the test by climbing a 14,000-foot (4,287 meter) peak (Mt. Bierstadt in Colorado, USA).
The purpose of this challenge was to see if the breathwork training exercises and techniques we know, share, and coach here at Recal would properly translate to the real thing. If so, we’ll have made an advancement in making altitude more accessible by helping others avoid or decrease symptoms of altitude sickness, especially for those not living at high altitudes or who don’t have the resources for expensive training equipment.
Here’s what Anthony, the founder of Recal, had to say at the top of Mt. Bierstadt shortly after completing the challenge.
“So we’re at 14,000 feet right now, and I was pleasantly surprised at the performance of the breath training. A key element of the training was how it would translate; and as we were ascending up, and I was just putting one step kind of in front of the other, I immediately recalled the training itself. It felt like a familiar feeling to be moving forward, feeling breathless or hypercapnic (maintaining some level of CO2 in my body), but being able to keep going. This was an exact replica of the training.
Up here, the air pressure is much lower than at sea level, and I could feel my diaphragm and my intercostal muscles actually working harder. Which felt fine because that is part of the strength-building that the training included – enough strength to pull in more air, given the lower difference in pressure between lungs and outside.
Due to the CO2 tolerance I built, I was also able to keep my breath rate (breaths/minute) slow and steady, which was good for my heart rate. I could feel myself pulling in a necessary amount of air, at a slower rate that prevents dead space in the lungs, and oxygenating my body really efficiently through it all. And of course, I was breathing through my nose, obviously, because that’s what we do here at Recal and at Oxygen Advantage.
So that combination of both feeling the breathing muscles do the work that I, of course, trained them to do and then the feeling of the training translating directly to this, came together really nicely. Overall, this has been an amazing experience to test out the ‘Sea Level to 14er challenge.”