It's not like climbing Everest (or is it?)

Can we learn from an Everest climber's acclimatization schedule of successively higher climbs followed by returns to camp to recover?

Photo of Chris Good
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A few years ago my wife (who is an amazing teacher) passed along to me a young adult novel titled Peak. It was the story of a 14 year old boy named Peak (named after his, now separated, mother and father's own passions for climbing) who finds himself in a bit of trouble after scaling the exterior of the Woolworth building in New York. Without giving away the story, Peak ends up on an Everest Expedition with his adventurer father. 

Among the most compelling storylines within the novel are those told around the many ascents and descents made by the climbers as they attempted to acclimatize to the altitude changes along the route.

The main idea behind acclimatization is that  you "Climb High and Sleep Low" essentially stressing your body with day climbs  to altitudes with lower oxygen levels and returning to lower altitudes to recover and replenish or build new red blood cells.

When climbing Everest the acclimatization schedule includes weeks of hiking to higher altitudes and returning to lower camps all in preparation for one final push to the summit.

What might we learn?

Transitioning from High school to college can be an incredible shock. What if there were an acclimatization schedule that allowed each student to take those stresses in manageable segments before making the dramatic push to new heights?

Maybe fewer students would fail to complete their college path?
Maybe more students might see the path as accessible and manageable?

[Optional] Synthesize a little! In one sentence, describe what you learned from your empathy exercises or analogous research. (Ex: Good advisors make a difference.)

How might we make the transition more successful by giving students a chance to grow and recover along the way?


Join the conversation:

Photo of Dan Ryder

Oh this feels like it could it could be so interesting to explore when we get into the ideation phase.  I just dig the heck out of a really interesting analogy that paves the way from some concrete pathways and systems we could try out.

Wondering if Matthew Drewette-Card  has seen this and if we might be able to apply it to . . . oh . . . middle school and high school into post-secondary vertical model. 

Photo of Chris Good

Agreed - I think ideate is going to be a lot of fun! there are so many possibilities for how we might build in these acclimatization stages. And one place I wonder about is if they have to be linear (much like the climb up everest) or if instead they are more like branches - or many paths (to get a little Zen on you ) where students can re-calibrate and adapt to where their callings take them.

Photo of Dan Ryder

Wondering how a cyclical model might work . . . concentric circles . . . and upward spiral perhaps, but that can grow into different directions.    I don't think it needs be linear.   What might hurt the Everest analogy is that there are so few safe approaches whereas in post-secondary land, there are many, many pathways available that can all yield rewards.

Photo of Ellen Deutscher

Hey Dan... just saying hello. :)

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