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High Alt Med Biol. 2010 Summer;11(2):93-101. doi: 10.1089/ham.2009.1087.

The Silver Hut expedition, 1960-1961.

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University College London, Institute of Child Health, UK. <>


The 1960-1961 Himalayan Scientific and Mountaineering Expedition, commonly known as the Silver Hut Expedition, was a unique project to study the physiology of acclimatization in human lowlander subjects at extreme altitude over a prolonged period and also to make an attempt on Makalu, an 8470-m peak. The leader was Sir Edmund Hillary, and Dr. Griffith Pugh was the scientific leader. Studies were conducted at a Base Camp in the Everest region of Nepal at 4500 m and at the Silver Hut at 5800 m on the Mingbo Glacier. Simpler physiology was continued on Makalu, in camps at 6300 and 7400 m. The expedition left Kathmandu at the end of the monsoon in 1960 and spent the autumn setting up the Base Camp and the Silver Hut. Some members also spent time making a study of the evidence for the existence of the Yeti. The winter was spent on physiological studies at Base Camp and in the Silver Hut, and the nearby peak of Ama Dablam was climbed. In the spring the expedition moved over to Makalu and made an unsuccessful attempt to climb it without supplementary oxygen. The 9-month expedition ended at the start of the 1961 monsoon. An ambitious program of studies was successfully completed. It was a very happy and, scientifically, a successful expedition. Many of the findings were not repeated for many years, and none has been refuted. On the mountaineering side, we were unsuccessful on Makalu owing to a combination of weather and illness, but the ascent of Ama Dablam was considerable compensation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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