Aug 14 - Day 11&12 High Alpine Testing

TESTING AT BARAFU CAMP (15,180FT / 4,600M)

After two days of acclimatisation at 4000m the team had to battle through another tough section of the climb and make a 600m ascent. Departing from Karanga Camp the trail turned steadily uphill, the temperature dropped significantly, the landscape is more barren and the terrain is now far less forgiving at these higher levels.

Everybody is now starting to feel the extreme challenge of operating in this zone. The cumulative effect of 12 days hard trekking and sleepless nights is starting to have an impact, unfortunately there have been a couple of the team members that have been escorted back to lower altitudes having displayed early signs of altitude sickness.

The team could not wish for a better lead than Conrad Anker, a 3 time summiteer of Everest and one of the most decorated alpinists. He will want to push the team to their limits but will not take any unnecessary chances. For those whose data signals suggest they have not made sufficient adaptations, they will likely be restricted from the summit push. The margins are small in unforgiving environments and the additional insights delivered by @Biovotion and @Philips will be vital in the next 48hours.

Barafu Camp (#8 in the map below), is set on a small, exposed flat area on a ridge. Acting as base camp from which the team has spent the past two days undergoing extensive medical testing, similar to the baseline measurements at the very beginning of the expedition. This will yield further important and insightful data points on the effect of altitude on the cardiovascular system.

It is from Barafu Camp that the team will make their summit attempt on the August 16. Having satisfied the demands of the Mayo research team and their testing protocol, the team will switch their focus to recovery. Ensuring hydration and nutrition strategies are executed before retiring to the tents in hope they can catch some sleep.

A unique cocktail of adrenaline and oxygen deprivation will unfortunately keep many of them awake this evening!

Linda, one of the climbing participants and a cancer survivor has written a super report that we wanted to share. @Linda thank you very much for the vivid insights.

"Tanzania and Kilimanjaro are amazing, we are at 15,300 ft today. Full of loving, peaceful people whose livelihood is built around this massive mountain.

Communication is next to non existent. Trekking with Kili Tracks and the young, but very wise Wilfred Moshi is perhaps the best. There are more than 100 Sherpas for 28 people including researchers, a big company and a start-up company [yes, yes, that’s us!].

My friend @ConradAnker comes to life on this mountain! And there is one couple from Mayo on their second climb here! Also climbing with us is a couple from New Mexico -- a retired physician, and teacher who is a breast cancer survivor - both are 61!

The Mayo research team works so hard, it's unbelievable. The Mayo doctors are very observant, professional and caring for everyone. All are curious and watching how I breath and move in this environment of high altitude. I am in the slower group. When we climbed to 12,300 ft training up Johnson Mt. I felt a slight headache that started in my shoulder & neck. It could have been from carrying the back pack however, and not the altitude, but I have a good appetite, am sleeping well (in spite of the snoring around me!) HA!

My tent mate is one of Paul's students from China. Wand Gin is 24 years old, attending Cornell in NY. She is very respectful and loves to chat with everyone, she is so curious! Two people unfortunately became ill and had to turn around. It made us all sad to see them go, but safety is first.

Richard (from SeaDog Video in London) and Luke Johnson, work together at all hours filming. I can't wait to see the video they make of this trip!

Three of the climbers were part of developing the arm band we all wearing. And Thomas, from Austria, is with a bio startup company that developed the arm band monitor we are wearing daily.

Nights are very cold and getting colder. We have a big climb tomorrow. I may have cell service but not sure, but if I do I will send more photos. Love, hugs and kisses -- There is no place like home.