/ Drug taking in modern mountaineering

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Rollo - on 18 Oct 2012
In the light of all the Lance nonsense and a strong history of drug taking in cycling going back over a hundred years got me thinking...

I have recently coome to know of historical drug taking in mountaineering (e.g. 1st ascent of Eiger, 1st ascent of Annapurna) I was wondering if anyone knew of performance enhancing drug taking in modern mountaineering/climbing.

One might imagine that the benefits could be significant:

Amphetamines - Stamina for multi-day, single push adventures
Steroids - training
EPO - High altitude without O2

I'm not trying to make a judgement call here, the beauty of climbing is it's relative lack of rules. Just wondering
Flinticus - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Rollo:
I've not read of any. What was used on those first ascents you mention?
Kid Spatula - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Rollo:

I wouldn't climb anything if I was on amphetamines from personal experience........
lost1977 - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Flinticus:

i believe amphetamines
Luca Signorelli - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Rollo:

"Pervitin" (a brand name for metanphetamines) was extensively used in mountaineering during the 30's and the 50's, mostly by German climbers. It was very easy to find in Europe at that time, as it at been distributed, in one form or the other, in massive quantitites to soldiers during and before WWII. I believe also that Pervitin was an over-the-counter drug in one form or the other at least until 1954.

Climber used amphetamines to overcome exaustion but also because it was believed back then that they were useful for altitude.

graeme jackson - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Rollo:
Maybe if more climbers used cannabis they wouldn't take themselves so seriously.
Rollo - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Flinticus: Pretty sure it was Amphetamines on the Eiger,

The White Spider :
'Just then a little phial of heart drops came to hand in the first aid bag. That devoted woman Dr Belart of Grindelwald had made me take it along in case of emergency, remarking :"If Toni Kurz had only had them along, he might even have survived his ordeal".
We were only supposed to use them in the direst need though.
On the bottle it said "ten drops". I simply poured half of it into Wiggerls mouth and drank the rest, as I happened to be thirsty. We followed it up with a couple of glucose lozenges, and were soon in proper order again."
The White Spider, Heinrich Harrer (1995) P120

Also I'm reading Lionel Terray's book Conquistadors of the Useless which is absolutely brilliant. At one point he mentions spending a comforatble night thanks to drugs (I assume these are sedatives of some sort so not strictly performance enhancing) and also mentions vaguely drugs that the team Dr. keeps giving them
Milesy - on 18 Oct 2012
The early bonnington expos used amphetamines and they were all rattling sleeping tablets as well particularly at high altitude bivvis.
Milesy - on 18 Oct 2012
Cant exclude Caffeine from modern climbing. Used by many and definately has many benefits.
Rollo - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Rollo: Should have said Terray was on the expedition that did the first ascent of Annapurna (1st 8,000er)
Flinticus - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Rollo:
Great, I've got that book, wiaitng to finish The Beckoning Silence.
Nigel Thomson - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Rollo:


>
> One might imagine that the benefits could be significant:
>
> Amphetamines - Stamina for multi-day, single push adventures
> Steroids - training
> EPO - High altitude without O2
>
> Charlie - For getting your hole in the Clachaig


Bruce Hooker - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Rollo:

I wouldn't call taking sleeping pills at high altitude "drug taking" in the pejorative sense, simply a medical solution to a medical problem. In the same way having a few amphetamines in the rucksack just in case is common sense. I always had both, used the sleeping pills until I ran out or forget them but never bothered with speed. Neither are exactly performance enhancing, just normal medical precautions.
BGG - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Rollo:

Acetazolamide is used by some people on high altitude expeditions.
edek_w - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Rollo:
Hermann Buhl took pervitin (amphetamine) and cocatee (cocaine-based stimulant), on Nanga Parbat:
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=859146
Goucho on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Bruce Hooker: Like you I always carried some amphetamines in my sack on big alpine routes, and used them on 2 occasions where they probably saved my life.
Rockhopper85 - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Rollo: What an interesting read, thanks to all who have contributed :)
Damo on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Rollo:

When Erhard Loretan and Jean Troillet climbed the Supercouloir on the north face of Everest in 1986 there were rumours they were on drugs. Nothing was ever proven, just talk and Loretan laughed it off, ascribing their success to Swiss cheese. They were sponsored by a Swiss drug company though, you can see the logo for Adalat on their suit. Adalat is a brand of nifedipine. Nifedipine can have various benefits with regard to increased circulation, edema and has often been classed as a 'smart drug'. Whether it could be termed 'performance-enhancing' I don't know.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nifedipine
Mark Reeves - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Rollo: Loving this thread, really interesting. Did know about the phet habit of early alpinists other than Crowley.

I wrote this about three years ago,
http://lifeinthevertical.co.uk/blogs/blog/2009/01/citius-altius-fortius-a-brief-overview-of-ergogeni...

It doesn't include stuff on diamox, Nifedipine and dex. However they are now commonly used on Everest after scientist found they could all be used in preventing pulmonary odema. Although I have written about them in a chapter I am working on about Altitude medicine.

I also gave a talk a while back at LLAMFF on whether Everest has ever had a 'fair means' ascent. I got to Messner and Halberer as the closest, although I found out that they too took sleeping pills of some description on their ascent.
Damo on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Mark Reeves:

Messner and Habeler almost certainly would not have succeeded without the bottled oxygen-fuelled team plus Sherpas who put the route in for them. This was a criticism of their ascent at the time, fwiw.

Radson posts on here sometimes, and I think he trialled Viagra on Everest a couple of years ago (seriously). http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3534558.stm
Hannes on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to Rollo: Apparently normal ibuprofen helps with altitude sickness.

Lots of people have a cheeky pint to calm down, Johnny Dawes when he did that recentish E-lots slate route springs to mind
lukas richardo - on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to Rollo: Ive often thought about this. It’s the surrounding ethical debates that frustrate me most. But I think they have less of a hold over climbers. Im an advocate of proper pharmaceutical quality drugs that can boost our performance in the mountains. Or at least, id be happy to take drugs with a view to improving my performance at the margins of my ability. So where drugs can take us to places in ways otherwise unachievable I say drugs have a place up high. Also, the notion of the ‘first undrugged ascent of route x’ will keep branding companies in business which is an economic plus.:-)
lukas richardo - on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to lukas richardo: My point, more succinctly put, is that elite climbing is about human potential – irrespective of the combination of chemicals sloshing about inside us.
mikekeswick - on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to Hannes:
> (In reply to Rollo) Apparently normal ibuprofen helps with altitude sickness.
>
> Lots of people have a cheeky pint to calm down, Johnny Dawes when he did that recentish E-lots slate route springs to mind

Learn to walk a slackline then have that cheeky pint and note the results....Before I tried it I would have sworn that a pint has no effect on me. However having to do something super-coordinated taught me differently.
willworkforfoodjnr - on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to mikekeswick: I don't know about slacklining, but I juggle better after a pint...
Milesy - on 19 Oct 2012
The late Alex Macintyre advocated climbing with a hangover as it dulled down an over active mind.

And I whole heartedly agree with the previous comment that you can not claim that you are elite for not using oxygen if your success depended on others who were using oxygen. The argument does not fly.

It is a crap argument anyway. Modern Ice axes, crampons, synthetic clothing and climbing gear all make ascents possible that humans would not be able to do otherwise. Oxygen in my eyes helps physiologically as much as crampons and axes help physically. Both are reducing the mountain in the exact same way and anyone else who says otherwise are living in a romantic blinkered fairly land.
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to Milesy:

Are ice axes and crampons in mountaineering not more like bicycles are to cycling, and racquets are to tennis, ie the basic equipment you need to play the game?

You *could* play tennis by patting the ball back with your hand, but it wouldn't be much fun...
Milesy - on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

I would say no. Fundamentally since cycling started cycles havent changed much functionally. Sure they are lighter, have better gearing but a bike is still a bike. They are not just basic equipment - they are fundamental. The same is not true with mountaineering advancments.

If you went back in time and pulled an old fashioned step cutter forward he might scoff at your leashless tools and front pointing as unfair means. In another 50 years time we might look on some new pioneering mountaineering advancements with the same attitude.
Rollo - on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs: You *could* play tennis by patting the ball back with your hand, but it wouldn't be much fun...

Ha ha!

Thanks for all the interesting responses. When you think about all these things logically it becomes a total head-f*ck. This is one of the few situations I prefer to think about subjectively.

Therefore for me using up-to-date equipment seems "fair" whereas using O2 seems less "fair". But this is purely my opinion. And if you compensate for no O2 by using some other means i.e. drugs this seems equally less "fair"

For me ideally significant ascents should come with a disclosure form - e.g. we used 5 bolts for ascent, three bolted belays for abbing, no O2, sleeping pills, and amphetamines were carried in case of emergency.

More for interest really than "judging"
Milesy - on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to Rollo:

That is already the case in the Himalya. Elizabeth Hawley is known for very tough interrogation about ascents. Even "plods"
Rollo - on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to Milesy:

Interesting. Have you read her book?
Milesy - on 19 Oct 2012
Didn't know there was one. Just know how thorough she is about recording ascents.
Sir Chasm - on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to lukas richardo:
> (In reply to lukas richardo) My point, more succinctly put, is that elite climbing is about human potential – irrespective of the combination of chemicals sloshing about inside us.

Exactly! Just like running faster or being the fastest at riding a bike.
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to Milesy:

Whether you use a hickory shafted museum piece or the latest leash less wonder, you won't get far up point five without some form of ice axe... Id say they are pretty fundamental to the exercise.

Unless you've got pretty sharp fingernails....

I'd still place them in the basic equipment category, along with boots, a nice warm coat, and a pack of scotch eggs.

Whereas oxygen, amphetamines, compressor powered bolt drills and kendal mint cake are in another category. it's not that they are against the law, or anything, but that an ascent without their use may well be possible and would be in better style.

For the vast majority of climbing though it's irrelevant. We do what we need to get to the top safely, in a style that we are satisfied with ourselves.
Damo on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to Rollo:
> (In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs) You *could* play tennis by patting the ball back with your hand, but it wouldn't be much fun...
>
> Ha ha!
>
> When you think about all these things logically it becomes a total head-f*ck. This is one of the few situations I prefer to think about subjectively.

Yeh it's impossible to be totally objective or logical about it, at least if you ever want to climb a mountain again.

I would say though, that within a community or sporting activity, certain ideals evolve, for whatever reasons and to move toward realising those is seen as improvement. In alpinism, and mountaineering in general, it has been seen as a good thing to do more with less, trim excess, operate with an elegant minimum, rely as much as possible on our human skill, physical and mental, rather than on technology.

As it has been shown that even Everest can be climbed without bottled oxygen, then that becomes the ideal to move toward, in terms of alpinism. Even more so for the other 8000m peaks, which from the 70s through to the late 90s were mostly climbed without bottled gas, but now the numbers have changed significantly. Technology has increased, not decreased, and in the cases of oxygen and fixed ropes, it has been used to make up for shortcomings in ability and experience, to lessen the challenge rather than improve the person. In the wider terms of alpinism and mountaineering, it is a retrograde step, accepted for commerce, convenience, 'safety' and individual ego. It is only a progression in numbers, not spirit.

At this point in time no one has been able to climb a big mountain without an axe and crampons of some kind (some that have, have used fixed ropes) but if one day they do, then that will become the elegant ideal of minimum technology that has inspired alpinism over the years, and some will move toward it.

We're not there yet, so it is genuinely unrealistic for pretty much everyone, whereas climbing without bottled oxygen has been done around 200 times on Everest and many times more on the other 8000ers, so at this stage it is seen more as a choice than a necessity.
Milesy - on 19 Oct 2012
South Col without bottled Oxygen as part of a large commercial expedition with fixed ropes, larges teams and sherpas.

West Ridge with Oxygen, small team, alpine style.

What is purer??

You could even make the argument the same trade route.

South Col with oxygen pre-season before himex and co fix camps and ropes, or South Col after fixing but no Oxygen?

It can not simply be Oxygen - Bad, No Oxygen - Good.

I am pretty sure that not using Oxygen is going to be easier if you are hauling and resting up fixed ropes.
MG - on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to Milesy: When there is a recognised World Mountaineering Champion I might care, a bit. Or give up mountaineering. Until then as long as people don't spoil things for others, and if they shout about their achievements, are honest, I really don't mind how they choose to climb things.
Rollo - on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to Rollo:

Last two points very good and very interesting.

My final note is: I would like to see honesty and not ruining it for everyone else (don't know why this last one bothers me since I am unlikely to be going to the greater ranges or Cerro Torre or any such, but it does!)
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to Milesy:
> South Col without bottled Oxygen as part of a large commercial expedition with fixed ropes, larges teams and sherpas.
>
> West Ridge with Oxygen, small team, alpine style.
>
> What is purer??
>
> You could even make the argument the same trade route.
>
> South Col with oxygen pre-season before himex and co fix camps and ropes, or South Col after fixing but no Oxygen?
>
> It can not simply be Oxygen - Bad, No Oxygen - Good.
>
> I am pretty sure that not using Oxygen is going to be easier if you are hauling and resting up fixed ropes.

all true, and illustrates the futility of trying to get too precise about these things... we *could* produce an algorithm to weight different factors and generate a "purity" rating, but that would seem needlessly overcomplicated

i think its enough to acknowledge that there are factors that make an ascent in better or worse style, and the overall progress in mountaineering has been to improve style over time.

but this has its biggest impact at the cutting edge, where people are looking to extend the limits of what is possible. if i ever get on a big mountain, i'll be happy to use any advantages going, up to and including oxygen, ladders and anti-gravity platforms if they ever get developed. the view from the top would, and getting back with all my limbs intact, would be justification enough for me,

cheers
gregor
Damo on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to Milesy:
> South Col without bottled Oxygen as part of a large commercial expedition with fixed ropes, larges teams and sherpas.
>
> West Ridge with Oxygen, small team, alpine style.
>
That is an impossible scenario, so there is no comparison. You can't use O2 on an 8000er and climb in alpine-style. The infrastructure required for the logistics of O2 preclude climbing in alpine-style. Either Sherpas are needed, or shuttling loads.

>
> It can not simply be Oxygen - Bad, No Oxygen - Good.
>

Sure it can. Won't be popular though ...
tony on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to Rollo:
>
> My final note is: I would like to see honesty and not ruining it for everyone else (don't know why this last one bothers me since I am unlikely to be going to the greater ranges or Cerro Torre or any such, but it does!)

In what way does what one person does "ruin it for everyone else"? If person A chooses to use whatever assistance they choose to get up a mountain, I don't see how it has any bearing on what anyone else chooses to do.
Milesy - on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to Damo:
> That is an impossible scenario, so there is no comparison. You can't use O2 on an 8000er and climb in alpine-style. The infrastructure required for the logistics of O2 preclude climbing in alpine-style. Either Sherpas are needed, or shuttling loads.

I think that is incorrect. There have been instances in literature where small teams have taken oxygen on technical routes and done the work themselves without resorting to high altitude sherpas. I am not saying porters werent used but all the work high up on the hill was done by the climbers. Maybe I am not using the term alpine style in the strictest sense such as two guys in a single push with bivis etc, but certainly not commercial expeditions.
Milesy - on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to Milesy:

Hornbein and Unsoeld were partner of a larger group including sherpas and fixed camp tactics. However Hornbein and Unsoeld branched off and completed the route in what is still classed as Alpine Style with Oxygen.

Now do you think their success and route is in a less pure style than someone jumaring up fixed ropes proclaiming that they are not using oxygen?
Rollo - on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to tony:

Well one example that springs to mind is the Compressor Route on Cerro Torre. 100kg petrol powered compressor and 400-500 bolts on a route that has since been climbed "by fair means".

I guess you could argue putting up ladders and fixed ropes and getting "unqualified" people on the mountain might be ruining it?! Difficult area, and again, very subjective.
t.j - on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to Milesy:
> (In reply to Milesy)
>
> Hornbein and Unsoeld were partner of a larger group including sherpas and fixed camp tactics. However Hornbein and Unsoeld branched off and completed the route in what is still classed as Alpine Style with Oxygen.
>
> Now do you think their success and route is in a less pure style than someone jumaring up fixed ropes proclaiming that they are not using oxygen?

your point doesn't really prove anything. a team climbing in alpine style without oxygen is a purer ethic than a team climbing alpine style with oxygen

a team jumaring without oxygen is a purer style than a team jumaring with oxygen

by even trying to make the comparisons you seem to concede the point that oxygen makes for a less pure style so comparisons to other situations are irrelevant
Milesy - on 19 Oct 2012
I agree in the like for like comparisons but that is the point I am making. It is about context. Is some guy rattles up the west ridge with oxygen tomorrow I would be over shaking his hand and asking for a photo where as someone who went up via the south col I probably wouldnt. It is all about personal values and what we all see as fair and pure.
t.j - on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to Milesy: Yes but if the debate is over the use of oxygen then the comparisons you are making have no merit.

I don't think anyone would argue with the fact that using oxygen makes an ascent easier, you effective reduce the altitude at which you are climbing.

Like you say it comes down to your own personal values on the issue. I personally would rather wait till I was fit enough, strong enough and fast enough to do it without.

I quite like the way Will Gadd puts it in his blog (although it is a slightly overblown rant!):
http://willgadd.com/high-altitude-dopers-and-armstrong/

tony on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to Rollo:
> (In reply to tony)
>
> Well one example that springs to mind is the Compressor Route on Cerro Torre. 100kg petrol powered compressor and 400-500 bolts on a route that has since been climbed "by fair means".
>
I thought we were talking about drugs?
Goucho on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:
> (In reply to Milesy)
>
> Whether you use a hickory shafted museum piece or the latest leash less wonder, you won't get far up point five without some form of ice axe... Id say they are pretty fundamental to the exercise.

Very true.

However, I reckon 80% of people who can get up Point Five with a pair of Nomics, wouldn't be able to with a hickory shafted museum piece.

Modern equipment makes a huge difference - I'd love to be able to go back in time to the 30's, and see exactly what the Heckmairs and Wilzenbechs would have done armed with today's modern gear.
Rollo - on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to tony:
> (In reply to Rollo)
> [...]
> I thought we were talking about drugs?

Ideed. Sorry about that. Multi-tasking at work! I thought the original theme was straying somewhat.

I will concede your point that whatever Person A chooses to take is OK by me!

lukas richardo - on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to Sir Chasm: yes sir. personally i think it is a shame i'll never know how quick humans can move because usain bolt runs clean.
Damo on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to Milesy:
> (In reply to Damo)
> [...]
>
> I think that is incorrect. There have been instances in literature where small teams have taken oxygen on technical routes and done the work themselves without resorting to high altitude sherpas. I am not saying porters werent used but all the work high up on the hill was done by the climbers. Maybe I am not using the term alpine style in the strictest sense such as two guys in a single push with bivis etc, ...

No, it's correct - you're just using the term incorrectly. Quite outside the 'strictest sense'. There is some latitude within the use of the term 'alpine style' but Sherpas, fixed ropes and load-shuttling are not within that range.
Bruce Hooker - on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to Goucho:
> (In reply to Bruce Hooker) Like you I always carried some amphetamines in my sack on big alpine routes, and used them on 2 occasions where they probably saved my life.

I probably never pushed things to the limit being a prudent sort of person, relatively, but when I was back at university I tried one, all it did was stop me sleeping for 48 hours. I knew another student who was not a climber but liked speed, he took loads of it for his exams and wrote like mad throughout the exam... alas he wrote absolute rubbish and failed :-)

On the other hand, sleeping pills at altitude were more than just a luxury we all found them more or less essential for anything like a decent nights sleep. Never used them in the Alps though.

Damo on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to Milesy:
> (In reply to Milesy)
>
> Hornbein and Unsoeld were partner of a larger group including sherpas and fixed camp tactics. However Hornbein and Unsoeld branched off and completed the route in what is still classed as Alpine Style with Oxygen.
>
> Now do you think their success and route is in a less pure style than someone jumaring up fixed ropes proclaiming that they are not using oxygen?

No. It has not, and never has been, "classed as alpine style with oxygen".

'Less pure style'? They did a new route, a hard route, without Sherpas up high, in 1963, and descended a different route. It is one of the great mountain climbs of all time, a magnificent effort, by great climbers and, for the time, excellent style. Oxygen? Their sets were heavy and probably gave only 2l a minute (many now use 4l) and they carried it all themselves up high (unlike most nowadays). In terms of human effort and climbing accomplishments it is so far beyond a modern commercial/jumar/sherpa/O2 climb that comparisons of 'style' are useless.

It does not need a direct comparison to modern ascents, but it is also not helped by your misunderstanding of the term 'alpine style'.

There is no such thing as 'purity' in climbing, only degrees of compromise.
jazzyjackson on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to Rollo:



Biggie Shakleton smoked weed like a don and was known to roll a blunt in 55mph winds! So what! He didn't give a f**k.
OwenM - on 20 Oct 2012
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:
> (In reply to Milesy)
>
>
> Whereas oxygen, amphetamines, compressor powered bolt drills and kendal mint cake are in another category. it's not that they are against the law, or anything,

I think you'll find misuse of amphetamines is against the law.
macacao - on 23 Oct 2012
Has anyone tried (or heard of anyone trying) EPO? that must be good and ethically not a lot worse than using Oxygen!
mkean - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to macacao:
Never tried EPO or had the inclination to, isn't one of the side effects of EPO an increased chance of dying in your sleep when fatigued?
cariva - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to tony:
> (In reply to Rollo)
> [...]
> I thought we were talking about drugs?

You are so right!!! I will fire up a joint so that we can get back on track!

steveej - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Damo:

Style is subjective. It is honesty that counts.
radson - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Damo:

Yeah, use at you peril. I had a special friend accompany me at Camp 3 for several hours. Luckily I didn't have to put on my harness at that stage.
Damo on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to radson:
> (In reply to Damo)
>
> Yeah, use at you peril. I had a special friend accompany me at Camp 3 for several hours

C3? Pah! I'd say you're soft but that's clearly not the right word here :-)

Pretty sure the record is South Col now. For a while it was held by a NZ/Aus couple on G2, in the 80s. You'll have to go back and reclaim our Antipodean prestige!
Alex Slipchuk on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to the weegy:
> (In reply to Rollo)
>
>
> [...]

you'd need a bottle of vodka for the morning. Guzzle guzzle, hey Presto! Breakfast with Cindy Crawford
myserable old git - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Rollo: Not quite a mountain but has anyone read Street Illegal by Jim Perrin?
David Hillebrandt - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Rollo:
You have raised this very complex topic at an ideal time. We are all aware that mountainers have used drugs for many years and continue to do so.

The UIAA Medical Commission has been debating this for several years and hopes to produce an advice document and consensus statement in the next few months. It is currently being redrafted (yet again). It will be factual, warn of the pros and cons of different drugs and be non judgmental but will encourage open disclosure of any aids used. Drugs which will be reviewed include Oxygen, Acetazolamide, Salbutamol, Salmetrol, Sildenafil, Dexamethasone, Dexamphetamine, Cocoa, Ginko, Nifedipine, Teemazepam and other benzodiazepines.

By coincidence seven respected and experienced high altitude doctors have written differing editorials and comments in the current edition of the journal " Wilderness and Environmental Medicine" (Vol 23, No3, 2012 pp 207-211)on this complex problem.

Thanks to all who have commented in this thread. We will take it into account.

David Hillebrandt
President UIAA Medcom
Gav M - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Rollo:

Years ago I chewed betel nuts all the way in the car to the Northern Coires, convinced that it would prove to be a great aid to winter climbing performance. Nothing was in nick. I developed a sore head on the way home and never dabbled again.
Damo on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to David Hillebrandt:
> (In reply to Rollo)
> You have raised this very complex topic at an ideal time. We are all aware that mountainers have used drugs for many years and continue to do so.
>
> The UIAA Medical Commission has been debating this for several years ... Drugs which will be reviewed include ..., Cocoa,
> David Hillebrandt


Thanks David, nothing worse than seeing those dodgy euros up all night drinking mugs of Bournville only to have them blast past you on the hill the next day! :-)

ERU - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to myserable old git:
> (In reply to Rollo) Not quite a mountain but has anyone read Street Illegal by Jim Perrin?

I'd hesitantly say we ALL have ... what I want to know is has anyone 'followed' him? :P
alasdair19 on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to David Hillebrandt: looking forward to that Dave and thanks for posting.

I've never used anything, thanks to those sharing personeal experience. Personally i hate feeling anything less than 100% there mentally in the mountains and i suspect drugs would just confuse my little brain....
David Hillebrandt - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to Damo:

Well spotted! I'm swapping to Horlicks

Dave H
radson - on 27 Oct 2012
In reply to alasdair19:

To be fair some of the drugs mentioned, clear up your head so you can return to that 100% mental state (disregarding of course...the mental state required to go mountaineering in the first state)

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