To test whether the 6-minute walk test (6MWT), including postexercise vital sign measurements and distance walked, predicts summit success on Denali, AK.
This was a prospective observational study of healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 65 years who had been at 4267 m for less than 24 hours on Denali. Physiologic measurements were made after the 6MWT. Subjects then attempted to summit at their own pace and, at the time of descent, completed a Lake Louise Acute Mountain Sickness Questionnaire and reported maximum elevation reached.
One hundred twenty-one participants enrolled in the study. Data were collected on 111 subjects (92% response rate), of whom 60% summited. On univariate analysis, there was no association between any postexercise vital sign and summit success. Specifically, there was no significant difference in the mean postexercise peripheral oxygen saturation (Spo2) between summiters (75%) and nonsummiters (74%; 95% CI, -3 to 1; P = .37). The distance a subject walked in 6 minutes (6MWTD) was longer in summiters (617 m) compared with nonsummiters (560 m; 95% CI, 7.6 to 106; P = .02). However, this significance was not maintained on a multivariate analysis performed to control for age, sex, and guide status (P = .08), leading to the conclusion that 6MWTD was not a robust predictor of summit success.
This study did not show a correlation between postexercise oxygen saturation or 6MWTD and summit success on Denali.