Dr Thomas Küpper
Hello everyone, my name is Nicolas Yerace, and I'm an undergraduate student at UC Davis who's found a way to couple his passion for mountaineering with his medical aspirations in the form of a research project. To better understand my fascination with amphetamine and dexamethasone usage in high altitude mountaineering, I'd like to take you along for a quick ride through the past several years of my life.
When I was 14 years old, I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to hike the John Muir Trail with my dad, which we completed in just eighteen days. By the end of the trip, I had compounding blisters on the balls of my feet, a throbbing headache in the back of my head, and shooting pain radiating along my right hip--which, I would later discover to be a partially severed sciatic nerve. For most people, this would be a miserable experience riddled with injury and sleep deprivation; but for me, this was a chance to prove to myself that I could break through the mental and physical barriers that other people had set for me. I am a strong believer that people have no "limits", only "plateaus", so long as they are willing to push beyond them. Keeping that in mind, I hope to summit Mount Everest before I turn 21--a lofty goal, but one that I have been working towards for the past several years, gradually gaining experience and confidence. Pinballing off of a backpacking trip, I went to see the movie which would completely reshape my alpine ambitions: Everest. After watching the movie with some friends, I found myself completely enveloped in the world of mountaineering; the first winter ascent of K2, the deadly avalanches of Annapurna--I was obsessed. As you can imagine, it didn't take long before I was begging my dad to take me up a glaciated mountain. From California's Mt Shasta to Greece's Mt Olympus, I've been blessed to start a climbing career so young and plan to make it last for as long as my knees will hold up.