Sometimes getting to the top
of the world isn’t the most important thing in life; it can be the split second
decisions on the journey there that can change your life forever.
At least that’s what Andrew
In 2006 he didn’t achieve his
lifelong dream of making it to the top of Mount Everest, despite being just 200
metres from the summit. Instead, he helped save a dying man’s life.
On Friday Feb. 22 Brash will
be the keynote speaker at the Canadian Avalanche Foundation’s Whistler Gala
Dinner ,with an important message about his Everest adventure that made
headlines around the world.
“The message is that the
summit is important but it’s not everything — there are more important things
in life,” said this down-to-earth junior high school teacher from his Calgary
home this week.
By all accounts, Brash should
have made the summit that fateful day. The weather was clear and calm — perfect
weather for a summit attempt — his team was feeling physically well, and he had
the determination to finally realize this lifelong goal.
And then he met 50-year-old
It was dawn, May 26 on the
North Ridge of Mt. Everest, just below the Second Step at 28,000 feet — almost
the top of the world.
Hall, who had become
extremely sick on his decent from the summit, had spent the night on the side
of Everest. He had been left there by a group of Sherpas who had been ordered
to return to camp.
Amazingly, 12 hours later the
Australian climber was awake and somewhat coherent, though still a very sick
man. When Brash saw him for the first time he was slurring his words, with no
gloves on, little equipment and his down suit unzipped to his waist.
“I thought ‘he’s going to die
in the next couple of hours,’” recalled Brash, who couldn’t imagine how they
were going to get Hall out of that situation and to safety.
“You’re really far up and
along a horizontal ridge for a fair ways.”
Brash’s group, which included
team leader Dan Mazur, British climber Myles Osborne and Jangbu Sherpa, never
had a conversation about abandoning Lincoln and making a bid for the top. They
never made a conscious decision to sit with Lincoln, offering their fluids and
oxygen, coaxing him to put his gloves on his severely frostbitten hands. They
just did it. For more than five hours.