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NOLS teams with NOVA on North America's Highest Summit

May 12, 2000 -- Producers of the highly acclaimed PBS television program NOVA are climbing and filming on 20,320-foot Denali in Alaska. NOLS is supplying equipment and expertise, including instruction, to the team of climbers.

The medical adventure follows a team of doctors who will study the body's ability to cope in subzero temperatures. NOLS instructor, Colby Coombs, and his wife, Caitlin Palmer, will teach classes on crevasse rescue, glacier travel and other topics. Colby and Caitlin are both Denali veterans, who have made multiple ascents of the mountain.

NASA shuttle astronaut John Grunsfeld a two-time NOLS alumnus, will make his first attempt on the mountain during the expedition. The team will meet up with famed mountaineer Pete Athans who will be on patrol from the Denali base camp at 14,000 feet. Athans graduated from a NOLS mountaineering course in 1974.

Set in the subarctic climate of Alaska, Denali, or Mount McKinley, is among the coldest mountains on the planet and has the highest base-to-summit elevation of any mountain on Earth. Denali has been the site of more cases of frostbite and altitude-related sicknesses than any other North American peak. The expedition will study the causes.

Two doctors, Peter Hackett and Howard Donner, will operate a medical center at 14,000 feet on the mountain while the others will attempt the summit.

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