Monte Rosa

From Bioblast


Monte Rosa

Science and adventure

Project Monte Rosa 2004

Carsten Lundby, from The Copenhagen Muscle Research Centre (Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark) was the project leader of the international expedition to the Margherita Hut on Monte Rosa. Robert Boushel and Cindy Wright-Paradis (Dept. of Exercise Science, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada) and Erich Gnaiger (Dept. General and Transplant Surgery, Innsbruck Medical University, Austria) collaborated within this high-altitude physiology project to study mechanisms of acclimation in mitochondrial respiratory function in small muscle biopsies. On Monte Rosa, two Oroboros O2k were applied at high altitude, to perform high-resolution respirometric experiments under the extreme conditions close to the peak of the second-highest mountain of the Alps after Mont Blanc. Biopsies were taken by Jose Calbet (Las Palmas, ES) and Kirsten Moller (Copenhagen, DK). The expedition started on 21 August 2004 and returned on 4 September 2004.

  • Jacobs RA, Boushel RC, Wright-Paradis C, Calbet JA, Robach P, Gnaiger E, Lundby C (2012) Mitochondrial function in human skeletal muscle following high altitude exposure. Exp Physiol 98:245-55. - ยปBioblast linkยซ
  • Erich Gnaiger (Innsbruck AT) High-resolution respirometry in small biopsies of human muscle: Correlations with body mass index and age. MiP2005:14-5.
  • Cindy Wright-Paradis (Montreal CA) Mitochondrial respiratory function in human skeletal muscle fibers studied at high altitude. MiP2005:28-9.

Monte Rosa Project 2004 (Monte Rosa Expedition, download pdf; 2004-10-24)

Over 100 years ago: Durig and Zuntz 1904

Arnold Durig (1872-1961)
More than 100 years ago (Durig and Zunz, 1904), Arnold Durig (studies of medicine in Innsbruck, collaboration with N. Zuntz in Berlin, professor of physiology in Vienna, Austria) and Nathan Zuntz (Berlin, Germany) described how they "ascended to the Col d'Olen (2900 meters), and, having remained there for a week, passed upward to a hut (4560 meters) constructed near the summit of Monte Rosa ... They lived in this hut two weeks and a half. The height of the barometer was 443 millimeters, which indicates a quantity of oxygen amounting to 12.2 per cent. of an atmosphere. On the Col d'Olen there was no increase in their metabolism when they were resting, and there was no increase in the requirement of energy necessary to accomplish one kilogrammeter of work. ... At the higher level, ... the resting metabolism increased at once and permanently to the extent of 15 per cent. ... The increased metabolism was not due to cold, for it was present when the individual was in a warm bed in the hut." (Lusk, 1928).
  • Durig A, Zuntz N (1904) Beitrรคge zur Physiologie des Menschen im Hochgebirge. Archiv fรผr Anatomie und Physiologie. Physiologische Abteilung. Supplement:417-56.
  • Burtscher M, Gnaiger E, Burtscher J, Nachbauer W, Brugger A (2012) Arnold Durig (1872-1961): life and work. An Austrian pioneer in exercise and high altitude physiology. High Alt Med Biol 13:224-31. - ยปBioblast linkยซ

Capanna Regina Margherita (4559 m)

The hut near the summit of Monte Rosa is the famous Capanna Regina Margherita constructed in 1893 at an altitude of 4559 m on the Punta Gnifetti by the Club Alpino Italiano. The CRM was officially opened on 18. August 1893 in the presence of the Italian Queen, who supported and sponsored a scientific laboratory at this hut which bears her name. It was declared as an international laboratory in 1901 at the Physiological Conference in Turino. After years of limited use and deterioration, the new Capanna Regina Margherita was built at the same location in 1979.


  • Lusk G (1928) The elements of the science of nutrition. Sauners Company, Philadelphia and London:584-5.
  • Simons E, Oelz O (2001) Kopfwehberge. Eine Geschichte der Hรถhenmedizin. AS Verlag, Zรผrich:231 pp.
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