Mountain Climbing Kills Brain Cells

Doubt[1]"Three attributes of a good mountaineer are high pain threshold, bad memory and… I forget the third." So begins an article in no less an authority than Scientific American as it weighs in with a critical piece of evidence that all climbers are stupid. Maybe not before we start climbing, but definitely after.

Figure you're just a recreational climber? You're probably more at risk. Never had AMS, HAPE or HACE? Doesn't matter. Climbing only fourteeners? Sucks to be you. In effectively all aspects of the studies cited, climbing caused permanent loss of brain tissue. You would expect this of 8,000 meter peaks like Everest, where all thirteen of the climbers they studied lost gray matter, but it was also true of all eight Aconcagua climbers studied, over 1,000 meters lower, and even two of seven 4,810 meter Mont Blanc climbers.

What can we do about this? There's only one practical solution: rationalization. I'll get us started: we only use ten percent of our brain, so we have 90 percent to waste climbing. Next?



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