American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Scientific Programs on the Wyoming Everest Expedition

  • Notes
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1989

Scientific Programs on the Wyoming Everest Expedition. Expedition members participated in valuable scientific programs including atmospheric chemistry sampling; geological research pertaining to the uplift history of the Everest region; demonstrating a weather forecasting model of the meteorology department of Penn State University through the daily use of electronic mail via our laptop computer and a suitcase-sized satellite phone provided by COMSAT; and the testing of a high-altitude pressure bag for the emergency treatment of acute mountain sickness. This last device, first thought of by Dr. Charles Houston in the 1930s, is both simple and obvious. It weighs only seven pounds. The flexible fabric bag needs no artificial oxygen. It is pressurized with a foot pump to simulate a lower altitude. It was employed to good effect by expedition MDs to treat a number of serious cases of pulmonary and cerebral edema and it seems likely that at least one fatality was prevented by its use. Tragically, a French expedition to Cho Oyu on an acclimatization walk to our base area suffered the death of an experienced climber from pulmonary edema. Having left Paris eight days earlier, his ascent to 5180 meters was extremely rapid. He perished overnight quite near our simple apparatus which might have saved his life if its presence had been known.

David Padwa

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