I live at 5400 feet in elevation. Plus, where my BGE sits, not optimal for aif flow until winter when we get north winds.
I had similiar problems getting a good fire built and sustained as well. Been running a LG BGE for about 3 years now. Anyway, I simply bought the stainless grate to replace the stock grate at the bottom of the fire box a year ago.
It's simple and easy. Made a world of difference and does not interfer with coals or wood. Takes a little more cleaning as smaller burnt pices will fall through buy it's no bother to me.
You can find them on Ebay:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Stainless-Charcoal-Fire-Grate-Large-Big-Green-Egg-Grill-Free-Shipping-/271037524029?_trksid=p3284.m263&_trkparms=algo%3DS IC%26its%3DI%26itu%3DUCI%252BIA%252BUA%252BFICS%25 2BUFI%26otn%3D21%26pmod%3D230802740949%26ps%3D54
I paid around $30 so this is too enpensive but you get the idea.