You’ll find here the posts by the 2015 Extreme Physiology students. These posts document the students’ experiences during the course. They also summarize the academic papers the students presented during the course.
Slot Canyons I: Buckskin Gulch
Our first experience with slot canyons started like most other days, except we were more sleepy and disgruntled than usual. The day before had been a nine-mile hike out of the Grand Canyon, and we were still feeling it. We hopped out of the van into a cold, blustery day. Everyone bundled up for the trip, wishing we were still in bed.
There was no blazed trail to the slot canyon, so we followed a narrow footpath along a riverbed. They trail ... Read more
The Extreme Dream Team went on an overnight trip to the Grand Canyon. We were excited to see some amazing views, put our physical fitness to the test, and experience some of the physiological phenomena we’d been studying throughout the course. The Grand Canyon is located at the northern edge of Arizona. Carved by the Colorado River and other geological forces, it is 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and a mile deep. Nearly five million people visit the canyon annually, but as we later ... Read more
The following is a summary, presented by Gabby and Courtney, of the first half of “King of the Mountains: Tibetan and Sherpa Physiological Adaptations for Life at High Altitude Edward T. Gilbert-Kawai, James S. Milledge, Michael P.W. Grocott and Daniel S. Martin” (Physiology 29:388-402, 2014)
Tibetans and Sherpas have lived at over 13,000 feet of elevation for over 500 generations, thus giving them plenty of time to develop an evolutionary advantage to the hypoxic environment in which they live. The purpose of this review was to identify the physiological differences between Sherpa/Tibetan populations living at high altitude, compared to lowlanders who ascend ... Read more
We started the day with such promise- it was the first day we actually made it out of the house on time for the day’s adventures. Those who could ski a black diamond trail ascended to the 11,510 feet summit of Arizona Snowbowl to measure spirometry. However, our great feeling of being on time quickly subsided as we realized we had forgotten the laptop for the measurements. Fortunately, we were still able to measure our breathing rate, pulse, and arterial O2 saturation at the mountain peak before hitting the slopes.
With ... Read more
Today we headed off to the Flagstaff Nordic Center to try cross-country skiing and fat tire biking in the snow.
With the sun shining down and the snow starting to melt, we quickly put on our cross-country skis in the yurt and headed off onto the trail.
This being my first experience cross-country skiing, it quickly became apparent why professional cross-country skiers have some of the highest VO2 maxes around. If you have ever watched competitive cross-country skiing, the athletes seem to speed over the snow effortlessly. As novices, we discovered that gliding over the snow isn’t quite so easy; the skill ... Read more
Despite hundreds of photos and hours of GoPro footage , not even the Xtreme Dream Team was able to fully capture the beauty of Sedona on Tuesday’s hike. The photo taking began as we rode in our great white van down Oak Creek Canyon. As we turned each winding corner, a new vista took our breath away. Cell phone cameras snapped away with increasing frequency until we finally reached Sedona itself.
Team Extreme immediately began to feel good vibes as the van rolled through town passing a myriad of crystal ... Read more
Today was an optional day of activities, which included mountain biking; but let’s be honest, who was really going to pass that up? Despite doing a 49-mile bike ride and a hike up to a mile high in elevation the days before you could feel the excitement in the air and pain still remaining in our sore muscles.
On the way to the mountain biking course where we were to meet Zoe Cohen, our guide and a physiology professor at U of A, we travelled farther and farther into desert. The thought on our minds was, “not again”… still traumatized from ... Read more
After yesterday’s intense 49.3-mile bike ride, the “Xtreme Dream Team” decided to give our pelvises a break from the bike seats and go on a “leisurely hike”. We started the day by packing our rations, filling up the camelbaks, filing into the van, and riding to our destination. As per usual, we were blessed with a clear, beautiful sky, and plenty of sun (which we rarely experience in Scranton).
The trail, Richard “Dick” McKee Finger Rock Trailhead, was the path we planned to follow all the way up to Finger Rock, or at least to a higher elevation ... Read more
End of day 3…
After the rainy weather on January 8th washed out our plan of the timed mile and a half (darn…) and any other hopes of outdoor activities, we had to keep ourselves busy finding fun things to do around the house (aka the mansion). It was pretty obvious that bumming around was going to be the preferred activity so we watched a movie and played a game introduced to us by Norm, which we like to call “Xtreme Pictionary”. After laughing to the point where our stomachs hurt we hopped in the van and headed to Rosa’s Mexican ... Read more
Tucson, we have arrived! Tuesday, January 6th was a travel day for all of us. The weather was warm, the sun was setting, and the cacti and mountains took our breath away as we observed the beautiful landscape of Arizona. The journey from the airport to our house was relatively short. We rolled over dips in the road that we were soon to recognize as the road home. The house is beautiful, with a breathtaking view of the entire mountainside.
We ... Read more