Caudwell Xtreme Everest
Our latest project was a large-scale physiology study en route to and ascending Mount Everest in Nepal (8,8848m) in the spring of 2007.
We studied the progress of 220 volunteers as they ascended the standard trekking route to the base camp on the Nepal side of the mountain. We set up physiology laboratories on the trail in order to study changes that occurred as trekkers ascend further into the thin atmosphere of a high altitude environment.
We also set up laboratories on the mountain itself to study our climbers as they made their way towards the summit. The highest of these laboratories was on the South Col of Everest, at 8,000m. We successfully measured the amount of oxygen in arterial blood sample from climbers near the summit, data that has been recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Work continues to analyse the core data sets in order to reveal physiological processes that improve performance at high altitude. These finding may eventually benefit those patients suffering the effects of low oxygen levels in hospital.