After an early morning hike to the summit of Kala Pattar, the group made its way back to Lobuche. Along the way, we took a side visit to the Italian-funded Ev-K2-CNR Pyramid Research Center to learn about the research currently taking place as well as future opportunities.
The “Pyramid” is a high-tech, solar-powered research station in the Khumbu region. There are several meteorological stations throughout the valley in Lukla, Namche, Pheriche, Lobuche and Kala Pattar that radio transmit real-time data to the research center. There is also a live video feed of Everest that you can find at: http://www.evk2cnr.org
However, the research at the Pyramid spans beyond meteorology. Since it opened its doors, over 300 scientists have conducted research at the research station, ranging from geological to medical to climatic to hydrologic studies.
One project uses an atmospheric brown cloud station at the Pyramid to evaluate pollution dust levels across the Indian subcontinent. Another project monitors hydrology in the region by collecting data on river flow, glacial retreat and water samples. And yet another initiative studies the impacts of altitude on humans’ cognitive abilities.
At 5050 meters above sea level, the Ev-K2-CNR Pyramid Research Center is the highest laboratory in the world. With its solar-paneled sides, it is self-sustaining. And with a cabinet full of Danish butter cookies, life in the Pyramid is good.
- Kate Voss