My wife and I are not super-trekkers or climbers, but we do enjoy adventure. We are planning to go to Tibet this summer, but are troubled about altitude sickness. We are both 29, in fair but not athletic shape...the locations we are planning on visiting in Tibet are at 12,000 - 15,000 feet. I have been at 12,000 feet before in the Andes and it was very intense, but I was more or less ok...I only spent a day there, so I had no time to really acclimatize. My wife had a very rough time, but she was also suffering from a headcold at the time.
The medical web sites I visit say that altitude sickness is by nature unpredictable as it affects every person differently, even at different times.
I would be grateful if you could add your opinions and personal experience to the mix. What is your experience with/knowledge of altitude sickness? How many days does it take to acclimatize? What is your opinion of Diamox and how well does it work?
In short, if you were to play "Homeland Security" (ick) and give a "colored alert level" as to how wise it is for us to travel to Tibet, what would that color be? Green, as in go for it? Yellow, as in, go but be careful? Orange, as in, you're taking some significant risks? Or Red, as in, it's a pretty stupid idea?
Any advice (especially personal anecdotes from those who have experienced it...qualitatively, what does altitude sickness FEEL like?) you could give would be gratefully appreciated.