Mt. Everest, part of the Himalayan Mountain range is the highest mountain on the planet. Those who attempt to climb to the 29,000-foot-high peak are a pretty hardy bunch; past 26,246 feet, climbers are challenged not just to climb but to survive. Exhaustion can occur just from the effort of breathing, never mind the dangers associated with lack of oxygen, extreme cold, and falling off the mountain. Climbers who die near the top are most often entombed there, because to bring their bodies back would entail too great a risk for other climbers.
Iowa City emergency medicine physician Chuck Huss is a veteran mountaineer who has participated in expeditions to high peaks across the globe, including four expeditions to Mt. Everest. He has served as expedition physician on several trips, and has an incredible wealth of knowledge on international travel, mountaineering, and global medicine. He sat down recently with med student Asitha Jayawardena to talk about his experiences in the wilderness.