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Scott ala Edmund Hillary goggles at Camp II
Miles O'Brien: Astronaut Scott Parazynski still making his way to the summit. It was a tragic day at Base Camp however - as a Sherpa guide died in a huge avalanche. I spoke with Keith Cowing this morning EDT - evening on Everest. [More from Miles O'Brien]
Image: endolithic organism found within Antarctic rocks by NASA Astrobologists.
One of the things Scott will be looking or during his ascent of Mt. Everest is evidence of habitable zones for microorganisms. Given the low temperatures, air pressure, high radiation levels, and scarcity of liquid water, the loftier portions of this mountain can be considered "extreme environments". Organisms that live in such extreme environments are often called "extremeophiles".
This morning Jon Shea and John Golden, with Phinjo, headed up to Camp 2 to join the climbers already up there. Their tentative plan for the next few days is to head up to Camp 3 and beyond, depending on the weather!
At BC this morning, we had a meeting with a number of other expeditions at HRA to debrief what went well and what can be improved for the future regarding rescues, such as the one that occurred yesterday. [More at IMG]
Keith Cowing: I just spoke with Scott at Camp II by radio (precise location sent via SPOT). He sounds cheerful, rested -- and excited. Scott is currently on a rest day before tomorrow's push to Camp III - but he is not just "resting".
May 7, 2009 - Today started out pretty normal, with the first team making a timely departure and climbing the Icefall in good form. Later, Rejean was descending the Icefall with Dawa, his sherpa, and three of our IMG sherpas who had already carried to C2 and were on the way back down to BC (Mingma Tenzing #2, Thunang, and Karma Dorje). The five of them made good time back down the Icefall until about 10 am when a huge ice avalanche swept down the lower Icefall from the West Shoulder and blasted them. Immediately afterwards they radioed to us that they were all OK.
Only later, when they all returned to camp, did we get the whole story. [More at IMG]
Editor's note: It is a sad day for all those involved at Everest and our sympathies go out to the family of the missing sherpa.
Image: I took this photo moments after the avalanche began. The speed and ferocity of this avalanche was terrifying.
Keith Cowing: There was a massive avalanche off of the west shoulder of Mt. Everest this morning. Within a very short period of time the entire lower Khumbu Icefall was enveloped in pulverized ice and snow. I will have a longer report and a video of the avalanche online in a few hours.
More photos and video ...