- Roxanne Vogel climbed up Mount Everest in 10 days. Most other climbers take weeks or months to scale the world's highest peak.
- She trained for years by sleeping in an altitude-simulating chamber and completing some workouts in a fasted state.
- The "rapid ascent" technique she used for Everest has also worked well for her expeditions to South American volcanoes. Vogel is now training to summit Antarctica's highest peak in December.
- Visit INSIDER's homepage for more stories.
Roxanne Vogel doesn't hold any official world records for climbing the world's tallest mountain, but to climbers who know the trek well, she's a star.
In May, Vogel cruised to the top of 29,029 foot tall Mount Everest and back down in 10 days, racing back and forth from the thin clouds of Tibet to sea level on the California coastline in 14 days total, the fastest known rapid ascent time to date.
(Vogel is not the speediest climber Everest has ever seen, but her journey to the mountain and back again from sea level is the fastest known trip of it's kind. It usually takes a month or more for bodies living at sea-level to acclimate to those heights.)
"Primarily, I think I really wanted to see if it could be done," Vogel told Insider, when reached by phone inside the oxygen-starved training chamber she now sits in for a few hours at work every day. "I am a researcher and a scientist at heart, and I really wanted to be able to collect data and see what happens to the body when you actually do something like this."
Take a peek at what Vogel's journey was like, from sea to summit.
Vogel lives and trains on the coast, in Berkeley, California, where the air is thick and moisture-rich, about 20% oxygen.
Vogel is both an endurance athlete and a scientist. She works as a nutrition researcher for Gu Energy, where she helps develop new kinds of gels, performance drinks, and snacks for athletes.
To get ready for Everest, she competed in several 50 kilometer-plus ultramarathon races. She also hiked up the highest volcano in the world, the Ojos Del Salado, which straddles the border of Chile and Argentina.
Vogel completed the volcanic journey in 5 days, which is about a third of the time it takes most people to summit the 22,600-foot-plus peak.
In order to prepare her body for such great heights, Vogel slept about eight hours every night in this oxygen-starved tent. "I'll typically get in there around 8, 8:30, and then I'll usually be out of the tent by 4:30 or 5 at the latest," she said.
"I actually found that I missed it when I came back from Everest," she said of sleeping in the oxygen-deprived tent. "The generator noise is almost like white noise to me, like a gentle hum that lulls me to sleep and then, you know, it's a little bit warmer inside the tent. Especially during the winter, it's kind of cozy."
Once Vogel wakes, it's off to work at Gu, where she takes advantage of another oxygen-deprived chamber, fielding calls and doing work from inside this small room for a few hours each day.
The bed and work chambers can mimic what oxygen levels are like at Everest base camp, in the thin air that is only about 11% oxygen, 17,000 feet high.
This "live high, train low" strategy is used by other athletes too, and some small studies suggest it might help boost their performance.
Vogel sometimes trained for Everest while hungry, hoping to teach her body how to run on fat instead of carbs.
"They're like, 'All right, you're going to go do this really long workout, but you're not going to eat anything,'" she said of her Everest coaches.
Vogel also tried to teach her body to use more fat by limiting how many carbs she ate on a daily basis, and only consuming carb-heavy items like fruits and sports drinks after her workouts.
"For me it was just kind of a general health decision," she said, explaining that her family has a history of Type-2 diabetes and heart disease.
"For the past several years I've been kind of a lower carb, higher fat and protein diet person, which makes you just a better fat burner in general," Vogel said. "I primarily get carbohydrates from vegetables, from fruits, from residual cards in nuts."
Vogel suited up for the Everest trek like she never has before.
Then, in May, after years of preparation for the rapid Everest ascent, it was time to head out.
Vogel packed up her things and headed for Tibet, the north side of Everest.
It was the first time she'd ever used oxygen for a climb, and Vogel said it was "incredibly cumbersome."
Vogel said it was "so difficult to manage the mask and the tank and the whole 8,000 meter suit thing."
"I had very limited visibility, very limited mobility, I couldn't turn my head or see over my shoulder," she said. "It was a lot of new things."
"As soon as you put that oxygen on, everything comes back into focus," she said. "The colors are more vivid, you can smell things more clearly. It's totally different."
"I wonder what it would be like to do it without oxygen," she added (it's a feat her climbing partner became the first woman to perform in 1988). "You know, maybe that will be the next project."
Coming from the north is a "totally different experience" than what most Everest climbers are used to, she said. The Chinese side of Everest gets a little more than a third of the foot traffic that Nepal does.
Vogel was one of about 300 people who climbed Everest from the Tibet side this year, the New York Times reported.
"It was weird because I didn't see anybody else on our route that day, you know, we were alone on the summit," Vogel said.
The same was not true on the Nepalese side of the climb, where hundreds of climbers were all scrambling to get to the top of Everest, within just a few short windows of good weather. At least 11 climbers died on the mountain this year during and after the so-called "traffic jams."
Now that Vogel has reached the top of Everest and climbed back down in a mind-boggling 10 days, she's planning to cap off her final summit of the seven highest peaks on each continent with a trip to Antarctica in December.
"I'll have to go back at some point," Vogel said of Everest, because she didn't get to explore it fully. "That was my only little bit of regret. I was like, 'Oh, I wish I could check out some of the cool historical and cultural sites here.'"