Mt. Everest Project

Mt. Everest Project

Mt. Everest Blog

Extreme Everest 2017: Reflections From a Scientific Expedition

In a quest to continuously measure pulse oximetry in hikers and study alternative strategies for treating hypoxia in patients, Drs. Richard Moon and Eugene Moretti describe their 11-day trek in the Himalayas.

Duke Xtreme Everest 2 Recap

In 10 days the team trekked 40 miles and climbed 8,300 feet to the final Everest Base Camp altitude of 17,651 feet, where the barometric pressure is typically 400 mmHg...

Everest Team Reaches Base Camp

The Duke team was happy to see former Duke faculty member Dr. Monty Mythen, chair of Anaesthesia at University College London.  He is shown here with his daughter Charlotte at...

Update from Pheriche

Update from Pheriche Nepal Xtreme Everest 2 trekkers have passed the 4000 meter mark and are now in Pheriche at 4270 meters (14,009 feet) in altitude. We are now on...

Update from Namche

The team spent a couple of nights at the Summit Hotel in Kathmandu, where we were briefed on the journey by our trek leader. In the photo below are, from...

Duke Everest Trekkers Gather

Kathmandu March 29 Despite the vagaries of air travel, all trekkers managed to converge on the Summit Hotel in preparation for the journey to Base Camp.  

Namaste! – From the Everest Team

3 flights, 3 airpots, 21 hours in the air, and about 14 hours in airports later…we have arrived (along with all our luggage) in Kathmandu. Namaste !

Everest Preparations: March 21, 2013 – The Hats

Well, we are getting closer to our departure date (Tuesday) and receiving all kinds of good luck wishes from friends and colleagues. Our friend and Surgical ICU RN, Amanda, while...

Final Preparations for Everest Trek

By Christopher Young, MD We are fortunate to be able to participate in the upcoming Xtreme Everest 2 trek and to have gotten support from a number of individual and...

photodune-2386650-human-lungs-in-digital-design-mTHE MYSTERY OF HUMAN SURVIVAL IN LOW OXYGEN ENVIRONMENTS
Lack of tissue oxygen is a major problem for people with lung disease, heart attack, stroke and for mountaineers. Finding ways to reduce the need for oxygen will eventually improve our ability to survive in severe environments and with critical illnesses. We hope to help solve this mystery.




iStock_000012455560_MediumDuring development in the womb, a fetus thrives in a low oxygen environment, an ability lost shortly after birth. Some of this capacity can be regained by adults when they slowly climb high mountains, where the oxygen is extremely low.

At the summit of Mount Everest there is only one third as much oxygen as at sea level, and if someone were suddenly transported there from sea level, they would lose consciousness in only a few minutes. The only way to stay alive would be to breathe extra oxygen from a tank. However, some people have been able to ascend Mount Everest without extra oxygen. By climbing slowly, they are able to adapt. A firm explanation for this adaptation remains elusive.

If we can understand how this works and accelerate the adaptation process from a few weeks to a few minutes or hours we could better enjoy mountain holidays, save the lives of critically ill people and help climbers better adapt to the perils of high-altitude hikes.


We plan to learn about how humans successfully adapt to altitude and low oxygen environments in a series of experiments over the next few months. We will be studying people in an altitude chamber at Duke and people trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp. We will be examining changes in metabolism and DNA while people acclimatize to the low oxygen at altitude.

For mountaineers and people stricken by critical illness causing lack of oxygen to their brains and other organs, this is a first step toward developing new ways of adapting to altitude and new therapies for devastating diseases.

A simulated climb will be performed in the altitude chambers at the Duke Center for Hyperbaric Medicine & Environmental Physiology to obtain preliminary measurements on effects of altitude on genes. Then a trek to Everest Base Camp will be performed in March and April of 2013 to study adaptation to altitude in large numbers of people.

This work will be done in conjunction with the Xtreme Everest 2 team from University College, London, UK

Out team consists of a skilled group of research physicians, scientists, nurses, graduate students and technicians. For the Everest trek we are joining University College London group.

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Address for the Chamber

Duke Center For Hyperbaric Medicine
& Environmental Physiology

Trent Dr., Building CR2 Room 0584
DUMC 3823
Durham, NC 27710

Appointments: 919-684-6726
Emergency: 919-684-8111

Map to the Chamber