<figcaption> Credit: Courtesy of Janeet Stocks</figcaption>
Credit: Courtesy of Janeet Stocks

On the first day of school after spring break, nine British children had an unusual tale to tell regarding "what I did on my vacation": They climbed Mount Everest. At least part of it, that is.

Ranging in age from 6 to 13 years, the kids were part of an expedition that Janet Stocks led. As a professor of respiratory physiology at University College London, Stocks designed a study to investigate how children breathe and sleep at high altitudes. Stocks says the study will provide data on the short-term effects of high-altitude exposure in children with lung conditions, a poorly-understood subject that becomes critical when the children visit higher altitudes, or even travel by airplane.

Under blue Nepalese skies, the group hiked from Lukla to Namache Bazaar and finally to Tengboche, at 3,860 meters elevation, a round-trip journey that took three weeks. Along the way,...

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