CASE Medicine
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NEWS: 9th Aug 2010
Team A arrives at Gnifetti

Team A has arrived at the Gnifetti Hut at 3670m, sited on the Rocce Garstelet. This hut is 420m above the Punta Indren cable car, the third in a series of cable cars that link to Alagna. It is described as of sprawling wooden construction, and is one of the largest huts in the Western Alps. It sleeps approximately 280 and boasts stunning views of the surrounding Alpine Peaks. It is open from Easter to mid-September. There is a Madonna of the Glaciers chapel located adjacent to it. It is a popular staging post for those climbers that want to summit any of the tops of the Monte Rosa, as well as shorter routes on the Piramide Vincent.

The team planned to spend three nights at the Gnifetti Hut acclimatizing to the altitude, before climbing to their final destination ? the Margherita Hut. This sits at 4559m on top of the Monte Rosa. However, plans may change as the weather forecast is not good for climbing day. Most of the group has had a poor first night?s sleep at the Gnifetti Hut. This is a common symptom of altitude sickness. This meant that all had no difficulty getting up to start the first of the planned research experiments ? the diary.

The collection of diary data has been used by the group in 2007 and 2009. It consists of a number of questions related to the Lake Louise score, as well as some basic physiological measurements after a period of rest and then after two minutes of exercise. The Lake Louise score is a validated measurement of acute mountain sickness. The basic physiological measurements consist of oxygen saturations, blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate. The two minutes of exercise is stepping up and down on a 20cm step at a rate of one step per minute. This appears very easy at sea level but becomes remarkably tiring at altitude. The diary data is collected every day before breakfast, and is used to inform all of the rest of the planned research experiments.