Everest / Alpine Expeditions

Astronaut Scott Parazynski Everest Update: 22 May 2008: Resting at Base Camp

By Keith Cowing
Scott Parazynski
May 22, 2008
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Astronaut Scott Parazynski Everest Update: 22 May 2008: Resting at Base Camp
Everest Base Camp
Scott Parazynski

Keith Cowing 10:53 pm EDT I just got a satphone call from Scott Parazynski at Everest Base Camp. The word I’d use to describe his mood is “contemplative”.

Otherwise, Scott is Scott, and he just always seems to be able to find a positive way to look at things. He was cheering me up!

Scott had to halt his ascent of Everest the other day when stabbing back spasms made it impossible for him to go ahead. Had he done so, he’d said the felt that he’d have run the risk of eventually needing rescue – and placing his fellow climbers at risk as they carried him down.

In such situations, given his seasoning as a climber, you make the risk evaluation calculations rather easily, instinctively, and logically. He said that the decision was easy to make given the circumstances. “I gave it my best but it was not possible for me to proceed” he said.

The descent back down the mountain and across the Khumbu icefall was rather painful, Scott said.

He has been back at Everest Base Camp for a day or so and is now relaxing. Some pharmaceuticals, stretching, and plain old rest are helping a lot. He has quite a vista to sit back and ponder.

Moreover, his close friend and climbing partner Adam made it to the summit as did many of his new friends. That accomplishment by his comrades has been a powerful antidote to any transient sadness associated with not making it to the summit himself. It’s a climber thing – a lot like human spaceflight – a few see space – many more make the trip possible – and some stay behind – yet all share in reaching the goal.

Scott has read a number of the messages I have forwarded him from OnOrbit.com and NASAWatch.com readers and he said it really buoyed him up. He’ll be reading more of them tomorrow – post descent – so please keep sending them.

The plan is to depart Everest Base Camp soon – within 24 hours. The walk down will be slow and painful. Scott hopes to get to Kathmandu such that he’d be back in the States by 30 May.

I expect some updates from Scott on his way down.

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻