The 40-strong group travelled to Nepal in November last year to conduct ground-breaking research into acclimatisation at high altitudes and will discuss the highs and lows of the expedition at a presentation evening on 1 March at the University's Headingley Campus.
The Leeds Metropolitan University researchers examined the use of artificial acclimatisation using a state-of-the-art laboratory on exercise performance and symptoms of acute mountain sickness during the expedition to the Himalayas which included treks to the 6476m Mera Peak and the 7129m Baruntse, located between Everest and Makalu.
Above 2000m altitude exercise becomes more difficult than at sea level as the decrease in air pressure causes a significant disruption in the oxygen supply to our brain and muscles. In areas of extreme altitude such as the Himalayas, mountaineers find it difficult to complete simple physical tasks and have a high risk of developing acute mountain sickness (AMS) which can lead to more serious illnesses.
Pre-acclimatisation in an altitude laboratory has been shown to improve exercise performance, however there has to date been no research that follows acclimatisation in the laboratory through to a high altitude expedition. The team of researchers are currently analysing the data collected in Nepal and plan to present the full findings of the research later in the year.
Amanda Seims, the expedition's research leader, said: "Conducting research during the expedition was extremely challenging for both participants and researchers, but the resulting information will add considerably to our knowledge and understanding of human performance in a high altitude environment."
Dave Bunting, the expedition leader added: "During the time we spent in Nepal we encountered a number of challenges whilst completing the expedition, however the experience was truly a memorable and life changing one for all the team members. The presentation evening is an excellent opportunity for us to share the highs and lows and thank all those who supported us and made the expedition possible."
Researchers at Leeds Metropolitan are well known in the field of sport and physical activity and have an environmental chamber at the University's Carnegie Research Institute, which is used with athletes and mountaineers who will be performing in extreme temperatures, humidity or altitudes.
Ex-army mountain training specialist Dave Bunting, the expedition leader, has led numerous expeditions including 11 to the Himalayas. Leeds Metropolitan ran a previous expedition in 2009 to Everest Base Camp during which participants completed volunteering work for the Self Help Group for Cerebral Palsy which is based in Kathmandu.