March 7, 1986

Everest, the Testing Place

Author Affiliations

Medical College of Virginia McGuire Veterans Administration Hospital Richmond


by John B. West (foreword by Sir Edmund Hillary), 187 pp, with illus, $18.95, New York, McGraw-Hill International Book Co, 1985.

JAMA. 1986;255(9):1200. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370090126036

Everest, the Testing Place by John B. West, MD, is a chronicle of the 1981 American research expedition to Mount Everest organized and led by Dr West, who is a professor of medicine and physiology at the University of California, San Diego. Dr West is recognized and respected for his pioneering work in ventilation perfusion relationships and high-altitude physiology. This expedition combined scientific objectives with the adventure of climbing at extreme altitudes and, in some ways, was a continuation of the 1960-1961 Himalayan scientific mountaineering expedition, of which Dr West was a member.

Dr West begins his book by detailing the history of mountaineering with emphasis on scientific investigations at high altitudes. He then describes the challenging problems encountered in obtaining funding, selecting team members, developing new equipment for high-altitude cardiopulmonary research, and assembling and transporting the equipment. The trek to the base camp is detailed, as are the problems