Dr. Kenneth Kamler

In May 1996, Dr. Kenneth Kamler was at Camp III on Mount Everest preparing for a summit attempt when a ferocious storm engulfed three teams of climber returning from the peak. As the only doctor on the mountain when the storm hit, he treated the survivors as they descended from camp IV. His treatment of Beck Weathers and Makalu Gau was portrayed in the bestselling book, Into Thin Air and in the IMAX film documentary, Everest.

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This was hardly Dr. Kamler’s first experience with “extreme medicine.” A climber and doctor on many Everest expeditions, he has worked with National Geographic to carry out geological research and precision mapping using laser telescopes and global positioning satellite beacons. He has been on Everest twice at the request of NASA, helping to test space-age remote medical monitoring equipment. The project was featured on Nightline where, in a television first, Dr. Kamler was interviewed live from base camp by Forrest Sawyer.

He has been on many network news shows including CBS’s 48 Hours with Dan Rather and Public Eye with Byrant Gumbel. CNN featured him as an “Extreme Medicine Pioneer” in a round-table discussion on the future of exploration. In-depth interviews have been broadcast by NPR and other nationally syndicated radio shows. He has been profiled by the New York Times, USA Today, Newsday, US News and World Report and other major newspapers and magazines. He has written articles for climbing and scuba diving magazines, for the Explorers Journal and for National Geographic book, Everest: Mountain Without Mercy. Lyons Press published his first book, Doctor on Everest. His new book Extreme Medicine has just been released by Saint Martin’s Press.

Besides Everest, Dr. Kamler has practiced extreme medicine in some of the most remote parts of the globe– setting fractures in the Andes, treating frostbite in Antarctica, caring for scuba divers in the Galapagos, and performing surgery deep in the Amazon rain forest.

All this is quite a contrast from his usual occupation as a New York microsurgeon specializing in hand surgery and listed in the New York Guide to Best Doctors as well as in Who’s Who in America. Dr. Kamler lectures throughout the United States and Europe on his experiences, at all levels from the United Nations International School Kindergarten class to the New York Academy of Sciences. He is a member of Sigma Xi– The National Scientific Research Society and is a Director and Vice-President of the Explorers Club and chairman of its Science Advisory Board. In 1999, he received an Explorers Club award for heroism and altruism on Mount Everest for his work in the 1996 disaster.

Topics:

  • Risk and Decision-Making
  • Disaster on Everest
  • The Will to Survive

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