Hypoxic chamber : Preliminary steps to an actual man dive at the altitude of 6400m above sea level






23 Jan, 2020



Frédéric Swierczynski, diver of the extreme, came to prepare for
a high altitude dive in the lakes of the world’s highest active volcano, el Nevado Ojos del Salado in the Andes. This preparation took place in an altitude simulator, the hypobaric chamber at Comex trial and test Centre in Marseille, France.

Extreme altitude diving at 6,400m

Accompanied by Sébastien Devrient, a mountain guide and Film director, Frédéric Swierczynski prepared for this expedition to the Andes at the border between Argentina and Chile. Their final goal is to carry out a manned dive into the waters of the highest lake in the world at 6,390 m on the mountain side of the volcano Nevado Ojos del Salado.

The adventure started last year when Frédéric performed a first dive in a lake at 5,870 m on the same volcano side. However, early comers snow and ice made it impossible to carry out the dive at 6,390 m.
They return this year in order to fully achieve their goal.

These two expeditions will be the subject of a film «a drop of water on a volcano» scheduled to be released in Switzerland in 2020.

The story of this feature documentary, directed by Sébastien Devrient for Vertiges prod, will not only focus on a sporting feat but, above all, it will emphasize the human adventure. It will also propose a reflection on man’s ability to adapt to his dreams and
ambitions as well as addressing the problem of acclimatizing the human body confronted to a wild and unpredictable nature.

Preparation in hypoxic chamber

It is at Comex altitude simulator, an hypobaric chamber complex, that Frédéric Swierczynski and Sébastien Devrient came to prepare their expedition, joining equipment tests, physical training and dive procedure rehearsal. The first step was to simulate an altitude of 6,400 m and then a 20-minute immersion in chilled water at 2°C. At this altitude, one has to face the cold temperature conditions and the lack of oxygen, less than twice as rare as at sea level due to the ambient low atmospheric pressure.

They have thus been able to reproduce the different conditions they will face during this adventure, supervised by our technical teams and under the medical supervision of the PHYMAREX Institute.


Medical supervision

Throughout the experiment, a medical team from the PHYMAREX Institute, Doctor Mathieu Coulange (MD) and Doctor Jean-Charles Reynier (MD), continuously monitored Frédéric’s vital parameters – body temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, carbon dioxyde and oxygen saturation…

Because of its immersion at an altitude of 6,400 m, this represents a huge difference in atmospheric pressure compared to a normal dive performed at sea level (1010mb compared to 440mb approx.).


This is a very uncommon and exceptional mission, we are taking advantage of this experience to collect as much data as possible. They will be used in publications for the scientific community,’ explains hyperbaric physician Jean-Charles Reynier

Doctor Jean-Charles Reynier (MD)

Hyperbaric Medical Doctor, Phymarex


Altitude simulator

The ability to reproduce altitudes up to 40,000 m (131,000 feet) in this 20m² hypoxic chamber complex meets the needs of major european and global manufacturers and service companies in the aeronautics and aerospace sector, such as the validation and certification of equipment, masks, suits, helmets, communications, etc.

as well as manned tests in order to prepare and make fully aware pilots and aircrew to hypoxic risks they may have to face during an actual flight.

The close control and monitoring of extreme pressure and temperature conditions allows our company to be involved in a very wide range of projects.


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