Pentax cameras are being tested to the limits on Everest to document the largest ever medical expedition ever carried out on the mountain. Pentax has provided the Caudwell Xtreme Everest team with its latest generation of waterproof compact digital W series cameras and digital SLRs.

Caudwell Xtreme Everest will place a medical research team on the summit of Mount Everest to take the first ever measurement of oxygen levels in human blood at this altitude. Two hundred healthy volunteers will be trekking to Everest base camp and undergoing a series of tests on-route.

The first of the volunteers began arriving at Kathmandu on 1st April and the research is aimed at improving the care of the critically ill and other patients where hypoxia, a shortage of oxygen in the body, is a fundamental problem.

"Pentax's Optio W20s are waterproofed for up to 1.5 metres for outdoor and underwater photography so are ideal for the extreme and snowy conditions encountered during the ascent to Everest base camp", said Mac Mackenney, Caudwell Xtreme Everest Logistics Manager.

In addition, Pentax has also provided Caudwell Xtreme Everest with digital SLRs that include its K100D for more advanced photography both on the mountain and at its lab in London.