Altitude Sickness In Montana: 6 Tips How To Avoid

Altitude Sickness Montana

In the Big Sky Country of Montana, altitude sickness can be a real concern. We'll inform you about Montana altitude and how to avoid Montana altitude sickness.

Montana Altitude

Montana altitude is on average 3,400 feet (1,040 m) in elevation.¹ Surprisingly, it's one of lowest among the prominent mountain states including Colorado.

  • Montana altitude - average 3,400 feet (1,040 m)

However, Montana altitudes rise far past 3,400 feet in areas around the state. Considered the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Montana has scenic mountains all across the state.

The highest point in Montana is Granite Peak at 12,807 feet above sea level. A top destination in Montana, Big Sky, has an altitude of 7,218 feet. Montana is also home of some of the most beautiful parks including Glacier National Park.² 

Montana altitudes include some of the following popular spots:

  • Granite Peak altitude - 12,807 feet (3,903 m)
  • Big Sky altitude - 7,218 feet (2,200 m)
  • Glacier National Park altitude - 6,646 to 10,466 feet (2,025 to 3,190 m)
  • Bozeman altitude - 4,820 feet (1,469 m)
  • Billings altitude - 3,123 feet (952 m)
  • Missoula altitude - 3,205 feet (978 m)
  • Whitefish altitude - 3,028 feet (922 m)
  • West Yellowstone National Park altitude 6,667 feet (2,032 m)

While these don't include all of the highest mountains and peaks, there are many areas that exceed 8,000 feet in altitude.

Altitude Sickness Montana

Altitude sickness Montana is common in areas of higher altitude, like Big Sky. Particularly if you're skiing, hiking, biking, or adventuring into the Montana mountains, altitude sickness becomes a real threat.

Altitude sickness, or acute mountain sickness, occurs from lower oxygen levels at higher altitudes. The higher you go, the less oxygen your body has to breathe.

Your body needs to adjust to lower levels of oxygen in the air, and if doesn't, you can get sick from high-altitude conditions. Symptoms such as fatigue, headache and nausea can start to happen within 24 hours.

Altitude Sickness Montana symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • loss of appetite.
  • feeling of malaise
  • dizziness.
  • Sleepiness or sleeping difficulty
  • Rapid breathing 

You'll want to be on the lookout for these potential Montana altitude sickness symptoms. Identifying altitude sickness Montana early on and taking the right precautions we list below can help you prevent it getting severe.

6 Tips How To Avoid Montana Altitude Sickness

Montana has endless beauty with many mountains, lakes, and rivers which attracts people from around the world ─ totally over 12 million visitors a year.³

However, if you are not used to the altitude and sudden change in climate, you can suffer from Montana altitude sickness.

As a company with years of experience in the Rocky Mountains, we share our top researched tips to avoid Montana altitude sickness.

Here's 6 Tips How To Avoid Montana Altitude Sickness:

1. Get Proper Hydration

When you go to a higher elevation, your body needs more water than it does at lower altitudes. The increased demand for water comes from two factors: increased respiration rate and drier climate.

Getting proper and adequate hydration is most important to avoid dehydration.
Wilderness Medical Society reports that you can lose water twice as quickly at high altitudes compared to sea level.⁴

Experts recommend drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of water. We'd recommend even more if you're active outside such as skiing and hiking.

2. Slowly Acclimate

If you're planning to climb a high peak or ski at a high elevation, don't go straight from sea level. Spend time in lower elevations first and allow your body time to adjust and acclimate.

For example, when you fly into some of Montana's major airports such as Billings Logan International Airport and Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport you'll be between 3,500 and 4,500 feet in elevation. Stay in those cities for minimum a night or two before exploring high altitude areas like Big Sky.

By gradually increasing your altitude in stages, you'll give your body the ability to better adjust by acclimatizing slowly.

3. Replenish Glutathione

In research, glutathione was shown to deplete in high altitudes by up to 45%.⁵

Known as the body's master antioxidant, glutathione plays a key role in fighting oxidative stress which is caused by high altitude exposure.

By replenishing glutathione levels, you can better equip you body for Montana's altitude.

4. Take It Easy & Rest

Take it easy. Don't plan on doing too much too soon when you first arrive in Montana — take it easy for a few days until your body gets used to the change in elevation.

You'll likely need a day to a few days before you're fully acclimated and ready for strenuous hiking or skiing activities. If you feel "winded" or fatigued, this is a sign that your body needs more time to acclimate and potentially more rest.

Rest up at night. If possible, get into bed earlier than usual and try not to stay up late — this will help give your body time to adjust during sleep hours.

5. Limit Alcohol

While alcohol may seem like a good idea after a long day of hiking or skiing, alcohol and altitude sickness are a terrible combo.

Alcohol can be extremely dehydrating which is counterproductive to what you should be doing in Montana's high altitudes. Alcohol has a diuretic effect, which means it makes you urinate more frequently.

Symptoms of a hangover and altitude sickness are very similar, those of which include headaches, nausea, and fatigue.

At least limit your alcohol consumption the first day or until you don't see any signs of Montana altitude sickness.

6. Take Altitude Supplements

Probably the least utilized solutions, but one of the most effective, taking altitude supplements can help fuel your body with proper nutrition for high altitudes.

There are many herbs for altitude adjustment. One particularly, DHM, was shown to help in high altitude conditions.

  • DHM, a flavonoid from Japanese Raisin Tree extract, exhibited in a study the ability to enhance physical performance at high altitudes.⁶
Taking powerful herbs such as DHM can improve your trips and experience at high altitudes in Montana.

This concludes our top researched tips to avoid Montana altitude sickness.

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1. Montana - Britannica
2. Glacier National Park
3. Visit Montana Celebrates the Future of Travel
4. Why Do You Need to Drink a Lot of Water at a High Altitude
5. Effect of high altitude (7,620 m) exposure on glutathione 
6. Dihydromyricetin Improves Physical Performance under Simulated High Altitude