Adrian Ballinger and Emily Harrington Set Speed Record on Cho Oyo
Mountaineering super couple Adrian Ballinger and Emily Harrington set a record in the high Himalaya that was inconceivable just one generation earlier. The pair summited 28,854-foot Cho Oyu, the sixth tallest mountain in the world, in a total expedition time (including round-trip travel between their home in California and Tibet) of only two weeks. The average expedition length for an 8,000-meter peak is about two months, and that's not including travel. Ballinger dubbed the feat a "lightning ascent." He and Harrington pulled it off by following a very specific home-based training plan in which they pre-acclimatized to about 20,000 feet using hypoxic tents and a mask-based training system. They also spent long days running and climbing in the high Sierras at 14,00 feet near their home. An expedition doctor monitored their progress using bloodwork to chart their hemocrit levels and blood cell counts, among other data.
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