Parks to climb Everest for science

Richard Parks

Richard Parks on the summit of Everest in May 2011

Richard Parks has announced his upcoming project to become the first person in history to collect a blood sample and muscle biopsy from the summit of Mount Everest, which he aims climb without using supplemental oxygen.

Project Everest Cynllun is a collaborative British research expedition that will showcase the effects of extreme altitude on the body and mind. By challenging an otherwise healthy human brain in a hypoxic (low oxygen) environment, Richard and his team of scientific experts will explore the mechanisms underpinning cognitive decline and dementia. Their primary focus will be exploring the link between low blood oxygen levels in the brain and cognition.

Parks and his science team will leave for Nepal at the end of March, with plans to arrive at Everest Base Camp late April, aiming to reach the summit during the last week of May via the South Col route from Nepal.

On the summit, Richard will collect samples both without supplemental oxygen and also following five minutes of breathing supplemental oxygen to demonstrate how close the human brain is to its limits, before descending without oxygen. Selected data will be collected continuously above the Khumbu Icefall during the summit bid and during descent using state of the art technology.

Richard aims to collect the following samples on the summit:
– Arterialised and venous blood samples
– Novel tablet based cognitive performance assessments
– Continuous cardiovascular, respiratory and brain function measures
– Expired gases
– Salivary hormonal and mucosal immune responses
– Muscle biopsy