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Next time, 'go' before you go.

Fans of Jon Krakauer's "Into Thin Air" who have made reservations to scale North America's highest peak this summer (because their vacation is too short to get them to Everest) are in for a shocking sight and perhaps a case of "Sasquatch's revenge." Diarrhea plagued at least one-quarter of the 132 climbers who spent time in the base camp at 17,200 feet while scaling Mount McKinley's 20,320 feet from June 11-14, 2002, according to a report in the journal Wilderness and Environmental Medicine. The source of the contagion appears to be piles of infectious human waste left like fecal cairns on the snow around the base camp. The same unsanitary conditions exist on Mount Rainier and on Himalayan peaks, according to's report on the research. The best ways to avoid infection at 17,000 feet are largely the same as precautions at sea level: washing hands, using water purification tablets, avoiding overcrowded housing, and removing waste. The mountain's ice pack makes burial out of the question. Rangers at Denali National Park now issue "clean mountain cans" with which each climber can haul out their products of digestion. Climbers' disappointment with the filth they find after hours of arduous mountaineering was summed up by researcher Bradford D. Gessner, M.D., who told "They think they're going on a pristine climb and there's virus-laden poo all around them."
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Title Annotation:INDICATIONS
Author:Kubetin, Sally Koch
Publication:Internal Medicine News
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 15, 2005
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