‌Dr. Tom Matthews and Dr. Baker Perry, members of the National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Extreme Expedition to Mt. Everest, work on the automated weather station at Everest Base Camp. Photo by Freddie Wilkinson, National Geographic.

Everest: I journeyed into the 'death zone' to install the world’s highest weather station

Perched at almost 8,500m on Everest, we paced back-and-forth, attempting to stave off frostbite as temperatures hovered close to -30°C and our drill batteries became too cold to work. Our ambition to install the highest automatic weather station in history looked destined for failure.

We were at the end of an almost two-month expedition to conduct a hugely ambitious scientific survey of the 8,848-metre Mount Everest. I am a climate scientist who specialises in extreme environments, and together with Baker Perry (a geographer at Appalachian State University), I was trying to install the highest weather station in the world.

Weeks of sickness had plagued the expedition (from diarrhoea to full-on Influenza-A), but we had so far succeeded. Four stations were under our belt, including at Everest Basecamp (5,315 metres), and Camp II (6,464 metres) – perched high above the infamous Khumbu Icefall.

The day before we had celebrated installing the highest operating weather station in the world, near Camp IV at almost 8,000 metres. Only one team of Italian scientists had deployed equipment this high before.

Any celebrations, however, were short-lived...

Dr Tom Matthews, of the School of Social Sciences, talks sickness, frostbite, crowds and more in The Conversation

He was part of the team that installed the two highest weather stations in the world on Mount Everest to enable communities to respond to climate risks. The expedition was led by National Geographic in partnership with Tribhuvan University and Rolex. 

Read the full Conversation article here

LboroExperts logo on a mountain.

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 19/91

Loughborough University is equipped with a live in-house broadcast unit via the Globelynx network. To arrange an interview with one of our experts please contact the press office on 01509 223491. Bookings can be made online via www.globelynx.com

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2019 QS World University Rankings, University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2019 and top in the country for its student experience in the 2018 THE Student Experience Survey.

Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 4th in the Guardian University League Table 2020, 5th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019 and 8th in The UK Complete University Guide 2020.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.


Loughborough staff, students and alumni make a real difference. They challenge convention, think creatively and find solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing society today and in the future.

Meet the #LboroGameChangers at lboro.ac.uk/lborogamechangers