Dispatch 28 from Everest / May 9, 2012

Elias: Testing on Everest

Two Ascents, Both Seek Summit — Southeast Ridge Team to Focus on Education and Science; West Ridge Team of Anker and Cory Richards to Retrace Route of First American Ascent on West Ridge.

Climb to Be Covered Online Starting March 16 at natgeo.com/oneverest and www.thenorthface.com/everest. Real-time Updates from West Ridge Team to Start April 16 on National Geographic Magazine App for iPad

We’ve been in base camp for eight days, and today we will head back up the mountain for our third rotation. We were hoping that our third trip up would be for the summit, but the weather has not been cooperating, and in terms of acclimatization, it’s getting to be too long for us without being up high.

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The team spends time inside the Mayo Clinic Tent at Base Camp.

Six members from The Mayo Clinic arrived here in base camp while we were up on the mountain last time. With them were also two employees from The North Face, and one from National Geographic. The group brought over 600kg of really expensive and technical medical equipment. Thus, we spent the last week getting tested.

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Our blood, heart, lungs, cognitive functioning, sleeping, general body composition, and energy expenditure were all examined and will be further analyzed. The reasoning of Dr. Bruce Johnson and his team was to study the cardiopulmonary system under extreme stress. The goal is to hopefully apply the findings to people with heart problems. He and his team have found similarities between what happens to the body as it ascends and is exerted at high altitude, and what happens to the body of a person with a failing heart. Similarities such as fluid in the lungs, changes in heart rhythm, changes in breathing, etc. For us climbers, it is an opportunity for what we do to potentially have an impact on the mass population, as heart problems are so widespread in the world, and we are all glad to participate. For more info: (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/244391.php)

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Emily Harrington works on a Mayo Clinic cognitive test.

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Phil Henderson has his pulse checked.

In addition to working with the Mayo personnel, we were testing various prototypes and working with the two members from The North Face on developing better products. We had many productive conversations, and the unique and immediate interactions that happened in the field proved beneficial to all.

The athlete team is very connected to the product innovation, design, and testing process, and the people within the company that work in these areas. Derek Campbell, the Director of Global Product Innovation, and Landon Bassett, the Outdoor Division Brand Manager were sent all the way here to Everest base camp to see how we use our gear firsthand, and to listen to what problems we have, and work with us to modify existing products or to create new and better ones.

The end result proves that the system works very well, as The North Face products are always at the forefront of innovation and quality because they are truly – “Athlete tested, Expedition proven.”

It was good to have them all in camp, refreshing new energy. It seemed that both the Mayo team and the TNF team were very satisfied with all that they did while here. Working and spending time with them allowed this rest cycle to pass by with ease. Now, however, they are gone, and it’s time that we go back up again. Stay tuned.

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