Countdown to departure…

Researchers meet at Stanford University (From left to right: Markus, Susannah, Jacob, and Hari)

With less than one week until our departure for Kathmandu, the TripleED research team is busy with expedition preparations!

At our base of operations at Stanford University, Markus, the project manager, and researchers Hari, Andrew, Jacob, and Susannah, are readying themselves for the challenging endeavor ahead. Virpi, a fellow researcher in Finland, is likewise preparing to join the group in Nepal.

Markus Hällgren, EEED project manager

Markus is finalizing arrangements with our Nepali expedition company, Rolwaling Excusion, and overseeing the preparation of research materials and equipment. Markus is also assembling personal gear to climb Lobuche East (6,145 meters, or 20,161 ft) en route to Everest’s South Base Camp. He will trek to Base Camp, oversee the initial month of ethnographic research, then return to Stanford University to process data from the “home base”.

Andrew is overseeing the design of research methodology, and making final adjustments to interview protocols. He is helping to conduct Skype interviews with experienced mountaineers around the world, to build contextual data and for the case study on Everest. Like Markus, he is also preparing gear to climb Lobuche East en route to Base Camp, and will return to Stanford University after one month.

Jacob Gomez, base camp researcher

Jacob will be staying at Everest’s Base Camp for the duration of the climbing season, through early June. He will climb Lobuche East en route to Base Camp, then in addition to conducting ethnographic interviews and participant observation, he will managing the research equipment and data storage. In the last few weeks, Jacob has also been conducting interviews with mountaineers to build contextual data.

Hari Mix, climber and researcher

Hari, a researcher and climber, is preparing for his ascent of Lhotse – 27,940 ft, the fourth-highest peak in the world – which he will attempt without the aid of supplemental oxygen. On the mountain, Hari will be documenting his ascent with a Contour video camera attached to the top of his helmet, and will keep an audio diary.

With his extensive experience in high-altitude mountaineering, Hari has been helping Markus, Andrew, and Jacob prepare to climb Lobuche East. Last week, they practiced climbing and belay techniques they will use on the ascent.

Jacob, Hari, and Markus practice climbing at Castle Rock, Santa Cruz Mountains

Susannah, a researcher, will be staying at Everest’s Base Camp for the duration of the climbing season with Jacob. She has been helping to design the ethnographic interview protocols, and has been interviewing mountaineers for contextual data with Jacob and Andrew. At Base Camp, she will conduct interviews and participant observation, and monitor radio communications from expeditions teams further up the mountain.

Virpi, a researcher in Aalto University in Finland, is preparing to join the team in Katmandu! She has been helping to prepare interview protocols, and will conduct interviews and participant observation with the team for the first month of fieldwork, like Markus and Andrew.

The entire team is eager to begin this adventure together, and we can’t wait to start seeing the results of this unprecedented study. We will keep you updated as prepare for takeoff!

Markus, Hari, Andrew, Susannah, and Jacob meet over dinner in Palo Alto, California
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