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August 7, 1981

Medical science team to climb Mt Everest

JAMA. 1981;246(6):589. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03320060009002

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A 21-member medical science mountain-climbing team is moving into the Mount Everest region of Nepal to begin an ascent expected to take them to the summit of the world's highest mountain sometime in October.

Among other scientific objectives, the team plans to study the body's adjustment to low levels of oxygen, as well as metabolic, endocrine, and digestive functions under conditions of the 8,848-m climb.

Australian-born John B. West, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and bioengineering, University of California School of Medicine, San Diego, is leader of the team, which includes 14 physicians and other medical scientists (JAMA [MEDICAL NEWS] 1979;241:1446).

About 40 Nepalese Sherpa guides and porters are being employed to help the team move more than 11 metric tonnes of scientific and other equipment up the mountain. "Nobody has ever attempted to move that amount of material up to those altitudes before," West says.

If all goes well,