This is episode 4 with Dr. Peter Hackett. If you’ve ever wondered how to plan and acclimatize on an adventure at altitude, you can thank Dr. Hackett for starting the conversation.
For those doctors and even some of the high altitude guides out there, Dr. Hackett’s name is well recognized as THE expert when it comes to high altitude medicine. As a climber, emergency physician and researcher he has refined his expertise over the decades.
What is less well known is how a passion for adventure and a willingness to chase an opportunity on a shoestring budget led to over six formative years with the people and mountains of Nepal, which set the stage for the indelible mark he has left on mountain medicine today. Sure there will be some talk about medicine, but I encourage you all to have a listen to the end. This is a story about the courage to take advantage of the opportunities that come your way, and a testament to the positive impact that can come not only to you but to others by saying yes to adventure.
WHAT YOU WILL HEAR:
05:50 – We start with an entertaining story, early experiments paragliding on Denali
10:40 – Peter’s introduction to the mountain environment
12:20 – Coping with violence and trauma in the early years of medical training at San Francisco General Hospital
13:00 – Stepping away from the hospital and the early days on fire and rescue team in Yosemite
19:45 – First encounters with mountain sickness in Nepal
20:30 – Early involvement with Himalayan Rescue Association
22:30 – Monitoring Buddhist Monks’ health in northern India
24:20 – First trip to the Karakoram and K2
27:00 – Interesting patient cases from the early days at the HRA
28:35 – Some insights into cultural acceptance of death amongst the Sherpa
30:45 – Sick trekkers at altitude and the inspiration for acclimatization guidelines
36:40 – Confronting trekking agencies about altitude safety
40:55 – Early research on a shoestring budget
44:50 – His breakthrough paper on mountain illness published in 1976
55:50 – Some interesting life experiences that widened his perspective beyond medicine
59:20 – Comments about how we may be ‘overtrained’ relative to the healthcare needs of the Third World
61:40 – What gave Peter the courage to step out of a traditional career in medicine
68:40 – An early interest in psychiatry and a surprise connection to Nepal
74:15 – The importance of having the courage to take advantage of an opportunity
80:00 -The importance of adventure for personal health and health of the planet
81:50 – Some closing advice for the next generation.