Climbing a mountain is a feat everyone would be proud of. Mountain climate is harsh, and if you’re not careful, things could turn terribly tragic as they did in the case of 14 year old Warren Asiyo who died during a climbing expedition at Mt. Kenya. His death was attributed to undetected High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) which are both advanced forms of acute mountain sickness (AMS). Acute Mountain Sickness occurs due to poor acclimatization in high altitude areas and can be fatal within hours.

His death led to the formation of the Warren foundation. The Warren Foundation officially launched an outdoor safety initiative set to sensitize the public on safety when undertaking outdoor activities.

Acute Mountain sickness,a form of altitude sickness, accounts for 50% of the fatalities on Mt. Kenya. Here are some of the forms of altitude sickness and their symptoms.

Altitude sickness

Altitude sickness has three forms. Mild altitude sickness is called acute mountain sickness (AMS) and is quite similar to a hangover – it causes headache, nausea, and fatigue. This is very common: some people are only slightly affected, others feel awful. However, if you have AMS, you should take this as a warning sign that you are at risk of the serious forms of altitude sickness: HAPE and HACE. Both HAPE and HACE can be fatal within hours.

High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema (HAPE)

HAPE is a dangerous build-up of fluid in the lungs that prevents the air spaces from opening up and filling with fresh air with each breath. When this happens, the sufferer becomes progressively more short of oxygen, which in turn worsens the build-up of fluid in the lungs. In this way, HAPE can be fatal within hours.

High Altitude Cerebral Oedema (HACE)

HACE is fluid on the brain. It causes confusion, clumsiness, and stumbling. The first signs may be uncharacteristic behavior such as laziness, excessive emotion or violence. Drowsiness and loss of consciousness occur shortly before death.