Monthly Archives

October 2010

Wellness Warriors

High Altitude Sun Protection

Above the Clouds – Beneath the Sun

We at Coolibar have great admiration for those who pursue intense outdoor adventures and strive to help them do it safely.  Height seeking mountain climbers need to be aware of the dangers of UV at higher altitudes.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “UV intensity increases with altitude because there is less atmosphere to absorb the damaging rays. As a result, the chance of damaging your eyes and skin increases at higher altitude.”

Our friend Paul Ridley of Row for Hope shares his Mountaineering experience.

High altitude mountaineering comes with lots of obvious risks: avalanches, crevasses, falling ice, high winds, and high altitude sickness. As a climber with two parents who’ve battled melanoma, I’m acutely aware of the health risk from sun exposure that is only a second thought to many mountaineers.  

In the thin air climbers encounter above 10,000 feet there is often no hope of protection from clouds, and the thin air and reflective snow makes for dangerous sunburns. While climbing I’ve been sunburned on the roof of my mouth, the underside of my nose, and inside my nostrils.

Paul Ridley – Muir Snowfield

Keep in mind there is enough reflected UV that even in a shaded area, skin can sunburn. Apply sunscreen to exposed areas to avoid a burn, even if you plan on wearing a sun hat or staying in the shade.  The Coolibar Face Shield offers both the skin –coverage protection and breathe-ability that sun-conscious climbers need at altitude.

Take it from Paul and remember to protect your skin, especially at high altitude.

  • Sun protective clothing, including a hat with a three-inch brim, will protect you at all times of the day. 
  • Use ample sunscreen on those parts of your skin that will be exposed – face, neck, top of ears, hands.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes. 

Be SunAWARE and Be Safe!

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Wellness Warriors

The Grand Canyon Peeke Performers

Every year over five million people from all over the world visit the Grand Canyon.  Less than 1% of those visitors ever reach the bottom.  Of those that actually complete the Rim-to-Rim hike, only 8% are women.  

These statistics didn’t dissuade eight determined women.  The Grand Canyon Peeke Performers physically and mentally challenged themselves to complete the rigorous Rim-to-Rim hike as a part of their journey of personal fitness and well-being.  They hiked the Grand Canyon north rim to south rim, with an overnight stay at the base.  The 26.2 mile (marathon distance) trek included 112 degree temperatures and the load of their 25-pound backpacks. 

The Peeke Performers were lead by wellness expert Dr. Pamela Peeke, who invited her friend and colleague, The US Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin, who shares a love of hiking.  With the addition of 6 adventurous women the Rim-to-Rim hikers were assembled and trained for months with Dr. Peeke to increase their stamina and endurance in preparation for the challenge.

Dr. Pamela Peeke and Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin

Dermatologist Dr. Shanny Baughman, a Grand Canyon Peeke Performer, brought this momentous hike to Coolibar’s attention.  Being a dermatologist, Dr. Baughman was concerned about UV exposure while in the Grand Canyon, with virtually no protection from the sun.  They needed lightweight, breathable, sun protective gear – that’s where Coolibar came in.  Coolibar equipped the 8 women with UPF 50+ hats and shirts to keep them protected from the sun.

Pictured below are The Grand Canyon Peeke Performers at the start of their expedition.  More details to come on their Rim-to-Rim adventure.

Grand Canyon Peeke Performers - Wearing their Coolibar UPF 50+ Travel Shirts and Lightweight Sun Hats
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