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type 1 diabetes
ben wiessner
1:09:48 PM
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes last week. I've been climbing a few times since, and my blood sugar levels are behaving themselves, so it doesn't look like this diagnosis will have any substantial impact on my lifestyle. All the same, I am curious: are there many other type 1 diabetic climbers out there?
5:26:12 PM
I don't think that there are that many adult onset type ones around anyways, let alone climbers.
Could be a worry on a multipitch....

5:36:23 PM
Hi Ben,

My Sister and Father are both Type 1 Diabetics. Although neither are climbers my Sister has a particularly active lifestyle. The only effect it has is on management of diet, insulin and when and how much to eat. She in fact is now living in Nepal (again not as a climber) and the main issue there is supply of insulin and blood sugar monitoring stuff.

So although I can't say definitively how it would effect climbing id say that, with monitoring, you will be ok once you get into the routine.

All the best

6:15:10 PM
Hey ben,
Now that you cant climb with Gay Abel you should be right. I bet you he was slipping some form of pharmacological substance in your water bottle that screwed with your blood glucose level because you were climbing harder than him. You got to watch out for those scientists, dodgy people...

But seriously, crazy story re: easter. Good to hear its all going ok.
Mark R
7:33:37 PM
Hey Ben, have a mate in NZ who I have climbed with for many years, including very very long days in the mountains through to rock climbing. Good understanding of the condition and good planning should allow you to keep on trucking! Good luck.
10:34:27 AM
Hey Ben

I have been climbing for over 15 years all around Australia and the USA. Long multi pitch routes and alpine climbing as well as the typical shorter stuff. I have had type 1 since i was 14. I have been a guide since i was 16. You just need to get into the rythm of it and after you have had it for a while you can feel what you body is doing. Always carry a bottle of lemonade (any high sugar drink) where ever you go. You can survive for days with high blood sugar, but i find that the biggest problem is getting low blood sugar. Always run it a bit higher if you plan for a big day (around 10).

Good Luck man

12:12:55 PM
Hi Ben,

A mate of mine was diagnosed with type I diabetes at the age of 21. We have skied, bush walked, run marathons and climbed together for many years. As a previous poster has mentioned, always keeping a glucose source with you (eg Gatorade, snakes, barley sugar etc) for the long multi-pitch days is really important. Good luck with it all, if you are vigilant with your diet (ie careful monitoring of your carbohydrate intake) and subsequent insulin requirements there is nothing you can't do.

12:29:58 PM

I read somewhere about a diabetic climbing an 8000m peak of some kind. That would be tough as you have to keep it warm. It was a raising awareness type thing so you shpould be able to google it.
3:16:53 PM
Hi Ben
Check out
Also recommend
Diabetic Athlete's Handbook by Sheri Colberg
which has lots of relevant info that you won't find on the internet
Mr Brownstone
8:42:04 PM
Hi Ben
I dont think that this should be a problem. Like the other posters have said keep some high sugar dinks or food with you. Also let your climbing partners know of your condition as they may be the ones that have to help you if you have a Hypo. Probably pack a glucagon pen with you in your pack and instruct all of your climbing partners about the use of them incase of an emergency. Take it with you on long multipitch climbs that you can't get to the ground or to your pack in a hurry. If you listen to your body, you should know when you are going hypo and have a high sugar drink or a power bar and be able to get back to a reasonable BSL.
2:50:52 PM
Hi Ben and other T1s
I wish to retract my previous recommendation of Diabetic Athlete's Handbook, having recently reviewed the performances of a cohort of athletes featured in the book 10 years down the track from the 2009 edition. If you are interested in long term athletic performance, I suggest you do a similar analysis yourself before deciding whether to follow the methods it describes.
There are many young T1s competing internationally, but very few over 55 in high level sport.
Despite being 59, surviving decades of T1DM, primary Addison's disease, multiple abdominal surgeries for bowel cancer, spinal surgery, and having screws in one shoulder and one ankle I have recently returned to climbing and this year led grade 17 sport and ticked several benchmark V3s on the Moonboard.
Despite asking on the T1 climbers' and mountaineers' forum as well as general T1 athlete FB groups, I have been unable to find any other T1 my age who is climbing or bouldering at that level.
If you do know of anyone please let me know.

There are 11 messages in this topic.


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