Jungfraujoch is one of the highest places you can easily get to in Switzerland. No wonder it is referred to as the “Top of Europe,”. This insanely popular tourist destination sits at approximately 3,466 meters (11,371 feet) above sea level.
I have hiked anywhere from 2500m in Switzerland to 5000m in the Andes and I know you can feel altitude affects almost anywhere.
The trick is knowing how to spot them, and what to do when you feel them.
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What Are Some Of The Symptoms
Some people can experience a variety of symptoms from altitude sickness, which can include:
- Headache: This is often the first symptom.
- Dizziness or lightheadedness.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Fatigue and weakness.
- Shortness of breath.
- Difficulty sleeping.
- Loss of appetite.
From my limited experience, I can tell you that shortness of breath is the most common symptom, and nausea for me comes on a lot later. But we are all different, so keep on eye on how you feel and prepare before you go!
How To Prepare For The Jungfraujoch’s Altitude
There are no easy fixes for altitude sickness, but you can be smart about it and prepare a little ahead if possible.
Here are some suggestions if you’re planning a visit:
- Acclimatization: If possible, spend a few days at a moderate altitude before going to Jungfraujoch. This can help your body adjust to the decrease in oxygen. For example, go to the Eigergletscher train stop (2320m) or hike up to the Faulhorn (2,681m) from First.
- Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water before and during your visit.
- Avoid Alcohol: Alcohol can intensify the effects of altitude sickness, so don’t overindulge the night before.
- Limit Physical Activity: Don’t exert yourself too much upon arrival and see how you feel after a bit of walking around or climbing stairs or a small hill.
- Listen to Your Body: If you start feeling any symptoms, it’s essential to take them seriously. If symptoms are mild, it may help to rest and drink water. However, if symptoms become severe or don’t improve with rest, it’s crucial to descend to a lower altitude and seek medical attention. Altitude sickness can be serious, so don’t take it too lightly.
- Medication: Some people take medications such as acetazolamide (Diamox) to help prevent altitude sickness. Consult with a doctor before your trip if you think you might need medication as you won’t be able to just grab them at the pharmacy in Grindelwald.