Leaving a man to die in the Dead Zone of Everest…
Dark Summit: The True Story of Everest’s Most Controversial Season by Nick Heil
Above 8,000 meters on the high mountains of the world is a place where humans were never built to survive for long. On Mount Everest, there have been many cases of people who had to be left for dead because they could not assist in their own rescue. In 1996 when Rob Hall remained behind and refused to abandon a client, both ended up dying. That is the reality of the risk.
Of course, there have been those who were left for dead and ended up surviving against all odds. There was Beck Weathers during the infamous 1996 season. In this book is the story of Lincoln Hall. Left for dead, he was discovered alive the next day and successfully rescued.
Then there is this controversial case. David Sharp, a young British climber was found alive near the summit of Everest. Beside him was the body of a man called “Green Shoes” by climbers. The man had died long ago; his body unrecoverable. It is now used as a marker, to let people know where they are on the mountain.
When David Sharp was found, forty people simply climbed past him, paying scant attention. They left him oxygen and gave some minor assistance, but they all elected to continue the climb. Could Sharp have been saved if some of them had abandoned their climb and helped him down to the next safe camp? Would it have made a difference if he had been a member of one of the expeditions, instead of choosing to basically climb without support?
The question will never be answered. It is certain that above 8,000 meters, a climber knows that he or she needs to know when to turn around. As one climber has said, “Getting to the top is optional, getting down is necessary.” Do people become desensitized to the plight of their fellow humans on such climbs? Or is it simply that the knowledge that each person knows the risks and must be willing to accept that they are in the end responsible for themselves? Is it really too dangerous to even attempt a rescue?
This book explores the questions, without accusations and unbiased. It details the hardships of climbing Everest, how the mind and is I a story of how to survive, and how choices must be made.
I give the book five stars…
Quoth the Raven…