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Mount William and Mary

  • independence pass sign
    Independance Pass sign  Kim Whitley and Ken Kambis at the Independence Pass sign before continuing to the trail head.  Ken Kambis
  • collection 1
    Data Collection  Ken Kambis inputting data at first collection spot.  Kim Whitley
  • climb up
    Climb up to summit  Guide and Kim Whitley resting on climb up to summit  Ken Kambis
  • 2 climbers on horizon
    2 climbers on horizon  2 other climbers on horizon on way to summit  Kim Whitley
  • collection 2
    Data collection  Ken Kambis inputting data at second collection site.  Kim Whitley
  • kk on steep section
    Ken Kambis on steep section  Ken Kambis on steep section with guide infront.  Kim Whitley
  • view above tree line
    View above tree line  View from above the tree line on way to summit of mount W&M.  Kim Whitley
  • wildflower view
    Wildflower view  Wildflower view of mountains.  Kim Whitley
  • kk near summit
    Ken Kambis nearing the summit  Ken Kambis nearing the summit  Kim Whitley
  • mount w&m and elbert
    Mount W&M and Mount Elbert  Mount W&M on the left and Mount Elbert on the right.  Ken Kambis
  • kim whitley on summit
    Kim Whitley on summit with guide  Guide and Kim Whitley on the summit of Mount W&M.  Ken Kambis
  • kk and kw on summit
    Ken Kambis and Kim Whitley on summit  Ken Kambis and Kim Whitley on summit holding W&M flag  Adam Brown
  • wm summit
    Ken Kambis and Kim Whitley on summit  Ken Kambis and Kim Whitley on summit of mount W&M  Adam Brown
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On August 8, 2014, Professor Ken Kambis and Senior Instructor Kim Whitley of the Kinesiology & Health Sciences Department, successfully summited a 14,134 ft. Colorado mountain, unofficially referred to as Mount William & Mary.  The ascent was part of a high altitude research project to determine if pre-acclimation in a normobaric hypoxia chamber would reduce the severity of acute mountain sickness during an actual field climb.  Professor Kambis and Mr. Whitley pre-acclimated in a normobaric hypoxia chamber located in the Department of Kinesiology & Health Sciences’ Jack Borgenicht Altitude Physiology Research Facility.  The “normobaric” hypoxia chamber keeps the atmospheric pressure at sea level values while reducing the fraction of oxygen in the inspired air to physiologically simulate altitudes up to 25,000 ft.  For this climb, pre-acclimation utilized simulated altitudes of 10,000 ft., 12,000 ft., and 14,000 ft. over a period of four days after which the subjects immediately flew to Colorado to climb the mountain that is herein referred to as Mount William & Mary.

 Some scientists think only hypobaric hypoxia, which keeps atmospheric oxygen content at 20.93% while reducing atmospheric pressure to simulate high altitude, works as a pre-acclimation treatment.  Most research to date has utilized hypobaric chambers to test the effect of both normobaric and hypobaric hypoxic pre-acclimation. 

This pilot study field climb of the 14,134 ft. mountain near Leadville, Colorado also was used to plan logistics for a future study involving numerous volunteer subjects who would pre-acclimate in the normobaric hypoxia chamber prior to a high altitude climb.

Mount William & Mary is a currently unnamed geographical feature that has been referred to in the past as South Elbert.  After a previous climb of this mountain in 1997 by Kambis and Whitley during a research project, Professor Kambis applied to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names to name the mountain Mount William & Mary.  Although that application did not result in an official naming of the geographic feature, the possibility of naming it Mount William & Mary was not permanently denied.  Because this mountain is adjacent to several other 14,000+ft. peaks named after prominent universities in the Collegiate Peaks section of the Sawatch Range in the San Isabel National Forest, Professor Kambis is revisiting the naming of this unnamed peak with the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.  The effort to officially name Mount William & Mary, however, is secondary to the research project recently completed as well as any related high altitude research projects proposed for the future.