Hiking to basecamp on the north side typically takes six to eight days as climbers begin to get used to the dizzying height where the journey to the summit of Everest begins. The north ridge route begins from the north side of Everest in Tibet. Expeditions trek to the Rongbuk Glacier, setting up base camp at 16,990 ft just below the glacier.

Climbers will usually stay for four to eight weeks at base camps, acclimatizing to the altitude and waiting for conditions to be suitable for the ascension. A typical stay involves regular climbs out of basecamp as a way to get in shape for the final ascent to the summit of Mount Everest, the highest point on planet Earth.

Nelson will begin increasing his altitude gradually from here. He will climb to various camps and acclimatize at different altitudes, descending back to basecamp as he conditions his body in order to complete the climb to the top.

Throughout his training from basecamp he will need to consume lots of fluids, and take preventive medicines such as Ginkgo biloba extract, and garlic soup, which help the body adjust to the extreme height.

In addition, Nelson will need to be mindful that he is not overexerting himself – tricky for mountain climbing in general, as it tends to be a pretty physically demanding activity.

Throughout his time at basecamp and the different camps that he will visit during his conditioning, up and down the mountain as he acclimates, Nelson will take memory tests at varying altitudes, aiding with a project being conducted by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis.

By studying Nelson’s extraordinary memory under these extreme conditions, the faculty and graduate students of the university’s Psychology Department’s Memory Lab hope to be able to learn more about how general memory works, in order to develop strategies and tools for people who suffer from memory deficiencies such as Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

In memory of his grandmother, Nelson climbs for memory.

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