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News from 09 April 2003

Arrival in Namche Bazar, 3450 m

After we left KTM on April 7 with our team (7 mountaineers including me, 1 base camp physician, 5 physicians of the Giessen research team, and one more accompanying person) and with about 1.5 tons of expedition and research equipment, yesterday we reached Namche Bazar, the last larger village before Everest base camp. Except for short fever episodes and upset stomachs, everybody is doing well, and the acclimatization goes on without complications.

The weather is also still cooperating with us. We could even see Mount Everest for the first time, during the ascent from Phakding (2660 m) to Namche Bazar (3450 m) - 5800 m above us!!!

First view of Mount Everest
First view of Mount Everest
Expedition porters on the way to Namche Bazar
Expedition porters on the way to Namche Bazar

In a side room of a trekking lodge, we installed the instruments for the first medical study day (9.4.03). Here, at almost 4000 m altitude, a real small cardiological-pulmonological intensive care unit was created. The mountaineers will use the coming two study days for a slow acclimatization. Besides this, there will be checks of the mountaineers' pulmonary circulation. It is planned to test medications that shall reduce the high pressure in the pulmonary system which is caused by the "thin air". Such medication could then be used for seriously ill patients (who suffer from high pulmonary pressure already at sea level). It is incredible what a medical high-tech was organized and transported to this altitude in the heart of the Himalayas for such a research project. Such investigations have never been carried out in this environment. If we will succeed in carrying out the same investigations in the base camp at Mount Everest, this would be an incredible success and maybe even a new approach for the treatment of millions of patients with pulmonary disease.

During the times when we are not involved in some medical checks, we go to higher altitude up to about 4500 m for improving the acclimatization.

On April 11 we will leave in the early morning in order to reach the base camp at the base of Mount Everest on April 14 or 15.

Frank, Eckhard, and I are more than happy and relieved that we could leave the dusty, hectical and also somewhat chaotic Kathmandu behind - and so the organization work that has characterized the last six months finds its end. Especially getting the cargo from the cargo center at KTM airport was once again a lot of stress.

Being on the way in the clean mountain air mountains is a real joy for our souls. Finally we find time and capacity to tackle the mountain.

Eike Mrosek

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