Tragedy on Mt Everest

Last week the world was admiring the feats of Mark Inglis of New Zealand, the first double amputee to reach the summit of Mt Everest in Nepal. It has now transpired that Mark was not quite the hero everyone thought he was. Sure, he is still the first double amputee to reach the top of the world. That in itself was a truly remarkable and gutsy effort, and I still admire him for his courage and determination.

Where were the True Heroes?

On his way to the summit Mark passed English climber David Sharp some 300 metres below the top. David was in serious trouble, ill-prepared, poorly equipped and sheltering under a rock with no oxygen and almost dead. Mark – along with some 40 other climbers that day – ignored the plight of the dying climber. Sure – they were all courageous, gutsy and had achieved a remarkable feat in reaching the top of Everest. My gripe is this – did they ALL lack basic human compassion for the dying man. No-one, it seems, made any effort to rescue the dying climber.

Demanding Terrain

What all climbers and trekkers in the Himalayas quickly realise is that this is some of the most demanding terrain in the world. Add the extreme altitude and you have a potentially lethal cocktail. Any weaknesses, or lack of application or preparation are quickly revealed – often with swift and deadly consequences. When I was trekking in this region in January (see the Archives section of this blog) our trekking group saw the body of a Sherpa being carried down past our lodge. Even the locals are not immune to the problems of high altitude.

To read more about this tragic event read the article on ABC News Online by clicking here.


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