Everest experiment tests Cialis

RIDGWAY – For nearly 40 years, Peter Hackett has been treating climbers as well as the natives among the world’s highest mountains. But his most recent trip to Mt. Everest included prescription of a drug that might more normally be associated with the adult film studios of California’s San Fernando Valley.

Climbers in thin air always experience reduced capacity for physical performance, but about one-third of them decline to a greater extent. This is because vessels that deliver blood to their lungs constrict even more, preventing carbon dioxide from the body being exchanged with fresh oxygen.

Those with high blood pressure in the lungs, such as caused by emphysema and other pulmonary diseases, experience the same problem. And the same problem of constricted blood vessels can cause erectile dysfunction.

Viagra and a relative called Cialis now can be used to allow greater flow of blood to the penis. But could the same medicine help the impaired climbers improve their ability to go uphill while on Everest?

That was one of Hackett’s experiments this year on Everest, and he tellsThe Telluride Watch that in his study of four climbers, all achieved dramatic results. One climber more than halved the time he took to climb from camps located at 21,300 feet in elevation to a higher camp at 24,500 feet. All four summited the mountain and believe they could not have done so without the Cialis.

Did the climbers also report yearning ever so much more for home and loved ones? No doubt there were such conversations, but they were not disclosed.

In another experiment, Hackett gave climbers an asthma inhaler to curb the hacking cough frequently experienced by climbers in extreme altitude. The cough can become so racking that it fractures ribs.

“That’s probably the major health problem up there,” Hackett said.

Results from the experiment, which included 40 participants, suggest improvement.

Hackett first visited the Everest area in 1974 and has twice reached the summit. He was the 111th person to succeed.

Everest has become much busier since then. Just 25 people were on the mountain during his first visit, but this year there were 900. Among this year’s climbers was an 18-year-old girl who had never before been on snow and many others who had never used crampons.

Real estate sales edge up in Aspen

ASPEN – Real estate volume through June in Aspen and Pitkin County was 22 percent ahead of last year, with June being particularly strong, reports theAspen Times.

The greatest amount of activity was in properties ranging in value from $4 million to $8 million. One real estate broker associate, Tim Estin, reported he was “day to day hopeful.” Between 60 and 70 percent of annual sales occur between the Fourth of July and the end of September.

Unless conditions worsen, Aspen can expect to surpass $1 billion in sales, although this will lag far behind the benchmark years of 2006 and 2007, when roughly $2.6 billion was sold each year. “I am of the opinion we’re never going to see 2007, at least not in my lifetime,” said long-time agent Bob Starodoj, owner and chief executive of Mason Morse Real Estate. He sees future prices more in line with those of 2004-06.

Meanwhile, hoteliers in Aspen have been expecting improved economic conditions this summer. Bill Tomcich, director of a reservation agency, expected lodges over the July 4 weekend to surpass last year’s figure of 84 percent of capacity.

For whatever reason, the economy has also been improving markedly in Telluride. Lodging occupancy reservations for June through November ranked tops among 11 ski-based mountain towns in the West monitored by the Mountain Travel Research Program. Occupancy remains low, just 20 to 30 percent, but average daily room rates have been increasing steadily and now are second among those towns. The real estate market has also been bouncing back.

Whistler works on its summer menu

WHISTLER, B.C. – Operators of the Whistler-Blackcomb ski area continue to experiment with the menu of summer activities there.

Last summer, the ski area offered ATV tours among the ski trails. That has been scrapped. So have the helicopter tours. But this year, Whistler will unveil a series of alpine slides, also called a tube park.

Such slides have existed in Colorado for 30 years. Meanwhile, the National Ski Areas Association has been trying to get clear authority to create such amusement park-type infrastructure on federal lands.

Taking stock of summer offerings in Whistler,Pique Newsmagazine publisher Bob Barnett points out that much has changed during summer months in the last 20 years. He points out that mountain biking has become a major activity, and that last year’s new Peak 2 Peak Gondola has also become a draw.

Summer visitors are different than those in winter, and even different from summers of yesteryear, wearing different clothes and carrying different toys, he says. “We need to recognize a significant part of our summer market is different from the winter market, and perhaps different from what we think it is,” he said. “These visitors are probably not the golfers and tennis players envisioned as summer visitors two decades ago.”

Summer visitors, however, also remain less lucrative. “That’s little comfort to most hoteliers, restaurateurs and retailers right now – but there are visitors in the summer. Understanding who they are and what they’re looking for may be the best business Whistler can do right now.”

Jackson Hole goes soft on idling cars

JACKSON, Wyo. – Town councilors in Jackson have rejected an ordinance that would have made it unlawful to let cars and trucks idle.

“This would be a tool in the toolbox for police to use at their discretion,” said a supporter of the ban, Greg Miles. But the majority of council members warned of a backlash. They want a softer approach. “I believe this is a cultural shift, not a legislative action,” said a councilor, Mark Obringer.

It’s already against state law in Wyoming to leave an unattended car or truck idling. This would have extended that ban to vehicles that are occupied. Instead, Jackson intends to work up an educational campaign.

A local resident, David Swift, advised the council that the threat of a proposed idling law would start the job of creating peer pressure to curb the habit of mindless idling. “Tabling the ordinance with ‘we’ll trust people’s common sense’ is good PR, and conversely will starve the anti-government drama-queen crowd of their cherished victim-hood status.”

Vail biomass plant denied federal funds

VAIL – A biomass plant to generate heat and electricity in Vail may still get built, but it won’t be with federal stimulus funds. The Connecticut-based company that proposed the plan had requested $26 million.

Whether enough wood will be available to burn in the $46 million plant remains uncertain. The bark beetle epidemic has led to plenty of dead trees, but pine trees begin rotting relatively soon after they have died. The Forest Service intends to study just how much wood might be available in the long term for such a venture.

Crested Butte to host a gay ski week

CRESTED BUTTE – Crested Butte next March will join a number of other ski resorts and welcome gay skiers.

Aspen, Whistler and Telluride for a number of years have hosted gay ski weeks, and last year Vail joined them. Crested Butte next March will debut the Matthew Shepard Foundation Memorial Gay Ski Week.

Organizers said they were drawn to Crested Butte because of its native funkiness. They particularly noticed the costumes and revelry during the Al Johnson Memorial Uphill/Downhill Race.

– Allen Best

In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
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January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows