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A team of mountaineers are making a historic trek top of Mount Everest via the notorious West Ridge -- and for the first time ever, the entire expedition will be broadcast in real-time to an iPad near you.
The team, led by renowned North Face athletes Conrad Anker and Cory Richards, a photographer, will look to repeat the historic 1963 American Mount Everest Expedition, a climb through Everest’s seldom visited West Ridge.
The two will broadcast the entire experience through dispatches, photos and video to National Geographic’s May issue for iPad as well as the On Everest Field Test blog.
In addition, a second team, including Montana State University geologist David Lageson and writer Mark Jenkins will attempt to summit from the more common Southeast Ridge route.
The expedition is sponsored by National Geographic and The North Face, with support from Montana State University.
Joining the climbers at Base Camp will be a team of Mayo Clinic researchers who will study the impacts of high altitude on human physiology.
"We are interested in some of the parallels between high altitude physiology and heart failure physiology," Dr. Bruce Johnson, who is heading the team, told The Associated Press before leaving Nepal's capital, Katmandu, for the mountain.
"What we are doing here will help us with our work that we have been doing in the (Mayo Clinic) laboratory."
Johnson and the eight other team members flew to the airstrip at Lukla, near Everest, on Friday, Apr. 20
It will take them about a week to trek to the Everest base camp, with several porters and yaks helping to carry their 680 kilograms (1,500 pounds) of medical equipment. They will set up their lab at the base camp, which is located at 5,300 meters (17,380 feet), and expect to be at the camp until at least mid-May.
The team says Everest's extreme altitude puts climbers under the same conditions experienced by patients suffering from heart disease. The team members plan to study the effects of high altitude on the heart, the lungs, muscle loss and sleep during their stay at Everest, which peaks at 8,850 meters (29,035 feet).
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The Associated Press contributed to this report