Tuesday, September 28, 1999
"Well, we made the last seven-eight miles of our walk out in record time...I think it has to do with a Tejas travel theory that one travels faster towards a food source than away from one especially when one is almost out of food...."
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MountainZone.com followed Vernon Tejas on an unusual winter attempt to climb the highest peak on the South American continent, 22,829ft Mount Aconcagua, and to track how the human body responds to extreme cold and altitude. The team collected data by tracking their pulse and blood-oxygen saturation rates, as well as by taking psychological tests at different elevations as they ascended.
The climbers took tests of mental flexibility, problem solving, and dexterity at four separate elevations on Aconcagua. Their scores were compared to the average scores of individuals who took the same tests at sea level. Both climbers generally performed better than the comparison group, which might be partially attributed to both climbers taking Diamox during the climb. (Diamox is a substance designed to help climbers adjust to increasing altitude.)
Tejas, noted climber and frequent Alpine Ascents International mountain guide joined Bob Elias for this austral-winter climb. The team hopes that these tests will shed light on exactly how our bodies react and adjust to altitude and extreme conditions. Check out Vern's live exclusive dispatches via satellite to MountainZone.com.
Tejas' climbing partner, Bob Elias, is founder and director of the Omega Foundation which was established to pursue meteorological, environmental and other scientific studies at high altitude and high latitude. Elias has an avid interest in cold environment, remote regions of the world. He has experience in the south arctic and antarctic. He lives in the Sierras with his wife Bell and two daughters, Julie and Kristen.