Research assistant Alex Kasak sent his first impressions of sighting the mountain:
George Mallory stated almost a century ago "because it is there" – well, we are here! Our first glimpse of Everest today! Suddenly Everest appeared with Lhotse in the foreground and other equally impressive peaks lining the path to Everest playing peek-a-boo over the ridge. Sticking up into the jet stream as it does, the high winds blow snow high into the sky off the massive pyramid. I am unsure if it was the trek to the top of the ridge to gain this view or my awestruck senses taking it all in that made me short of breath.
Feeling mild symptoms of high altitude the night before and the shortness of breath through the morning, I felt recharged to move forward. Seeing is believing and it is all too real now that we can see where we are headed, seeing what our work has been for, and seeing it all come full circle. The rest of the day was spent circling through a small village and visiting the Buddhist monastery there to gaze upon their "yeti skull" apparently the only one in the world. Although none of us are Buddhist, I believe we were all humbled by the reverence of the faith or maybe just the culture.
Throughout the trek we monitored everyone’s energy expenditure using the BodyMedia armband and gathered accelerometry and ECG data from the Mayo-developed device. Our group has been eager to wear the devices and even more so to look at data. The North Face members of the group continue to provide patience and a willingness to learn and always come to us before they head off on personal treks or sight seeing to see if we need them as if they are our indentured servants. In reality we are indebted to them for their continued cooperation and willingness to subject themselves to us for the sake of scientific research. Tomorrow 14,000 feet, and another day closer!