October 2, 2018 9:49 pm

Wednesday, Head for the Summit with Chuck, Gary, Alan Oram and World-Record Breaking Mountaineer Vanessa O’Brien

The mountain can teach you many things. On this episode of Playing with Science hosts Chuck Nice and Gary O’Reilly embark on an epic trek with one of the world’s best mountain climbers as we explore the sport of mountaineering.

Our hosts are joined in studio by Vanessa O’Brien, world record holder for summiting the Seven Summits – the highest mountains on each continent – in record time, as well as being the first American women to climb K2.

Photo of self taken by Vanessa O’Brien (using a timer) on October 4, 2011 near the summit of Shishapangma, the world’s 14th highest mountain climbing from Tibet.

Vanessa O’Brien (taken by herself using a timer) on October 4, 2011 near the summit of Shishapangma, the world’s 14th highest mountain climbing from Tibet. [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via http://vobonline.com/.

You’ll hear about Vanessa’s adventures including which summit was easiest. Find out about the differences in certain “Seven Summit” lists. Explore how mountain climates are changing, both literally and as a result of the influx of tourism that can prove dangerous to the Sherpa community. Vanessa provides some insight on how to become a mountain climber given that there aren’t courses in mountaineering, and we discuss the risk-reward factor that sponsors must deal with when sponsoring climbers.

Later on, our expedition welcomes another member, Dr. Alan Oram, one of two people in the United States to be a licensed mountain guide and a board-certified physician, as well as being specialized in Emergency Medicine. Alan tells us the most common threats that explorers face when making the dangerous hikes, like Acute Mountain Sickness and hypoxia. He also tells us how much his job involves providing psychological help to his clients while on the mountain.

Join us as we investigate how mountain climbers alter their fitness preparation depending on which peak they’re preparing to climb. We ponder the importance of mentally preparing and staying in the moment during the climb. Vanessa and Alan also tell us why they climb mountains – and it’s for more than just getting to the top.

Please join us tomorrow night for Conquering Mountains, with Vanessa O’Brien right here on our website, as well as on our Playing with Science channels on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and TuneIn. If you’re an All-Access subscriber, you can watch or listen to this episode ad-free.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
–Ian Mullen