Is Gamow Bag Necessary on Kilimanjaro?
A hyperbaric chamber is a sealable pressure vessel large enough for one adult to enter and stretch out, where he or she can be supplied with oxygen under pressure. The Portable Altitude Chamber, PAC, was designed to treat severe altitude sickness when immediate descent - the preferred treatment is not possible. It is inflated by a foot pump to simulate conditions of greater air pressure at lower altitude for sufferers from Acute Mountain Sickness, AMS. It is unwieldy to move, claustrophobic to experience and needs constant pumping to maintain pressure as it is not air snug.
The Gamow Bag is only recommended at very high altitudes such as on Everest, or staying at Crater Camp on Mount Kilimanjaro where fast and immediate descent is not feasible. But on climbing Mount Kilimanjaro it rarely takes more than an hour to find relief at lower levels except from Crater Camp, where the Gamow Bags should be standard equipment. One should never attempt to hike higher once symptoms arise on a Kilimanjaro trek as they can swiftly develop into High Altitude Pulmonary Edema, HAPE, where lungs are fluid congested and it is necessary to administer extra oxygen through a face mask. This is not possible in a Gamow bag. The other form of severe AMS is High Altitude Cerebral Edema, HACE, which manifests rapidly and is potentially fatal if descent is delayed. Symptoms are slurred speech, blindness, paralysis and coma. Rather than relying on a Gamow Bag on Kilimanjaro climbs, you can depend on our highly experienced guides to identify the severity of the problem and get you down fast and safely. We advise trekkers to take an extra day acclimatizing on Kilimanjaro to make summit success more likely and allow you to avoid the worst effects of Altitude Sickness.