What Spaceflight and Mountaineering Have in Common

September 20, 2017
DMD Staff

Most people will never travel to space or climb Mt. Everest, but Scott Parazynski, M.D., accomplished both. In this clip, he connects the dots between the two endeavors to reveal how they are alike. Continue to hear what spaceflight and mountaineering have in common.

Most people will never travel to space or climb Mt. Everest, but Scott Parazynski, M.D., accomplished both. In this clip, he connects the dots between the two endeavors to reveal how they are alike. Continue to hear what spaceflight and mountaineering have in common.

“Flying in space and climbing Mt. Everest actually have a lot of similarities. In fact, I remember leaving my tent at high camp four, which is a 26,000 ft., in the middle of the night. I had a big down suit on, I had a backpack on with an oxygen tank in the back, I had lights on my head, big bulky gloves like my spacewalking gloves. I had to put crampons on my boots and I was connecting to fixed lines on the way to the summit. It felt like floating out of the hatch on a spacewalk — the same sorts of tasks, the same sorts of mental and physical preparations. The importance of having good gear and having great teammates really resonated with me, it seemed like a very similar operational environment. Obviously, they're very different places. One has gravity the other doesn't, but the same sort of mindset went into both, and I think one experience gave me confidence to then tackle the other, and also the skillset and mindset to do it safely. I went to Mt. Everest with the intent of making it a round trip. It's very important not to just have your laser-focus on achieving the summit, but making it a round trip. If you don't come back home it doesn't really count, so I think that my two career paths in spaceflight and mountaineering really complemented one another, and I wouldn't say that I fearless in any way. In fact, I just manage risk that gives me confidence to take on challenges like this.”

RELATED: More from Scot Parazynski, M.D.

· This Is What It’s Like to Stand on Top of Mount Everest

· Here’s What It’s Like to Walk in Space

· Astronaut Describes ‘One of NASA’s Finest Hours’

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