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And as the hours slipped by,
so too did their chances at reaching the summit of Mount Everest.
“I guess that deep down we
knew we weren’t going to summit right away,” said the 39-year-old Grade 9
By noon, however, Hall had
made a comeback of sorts. The fluids, oxygen and encouragement had revived him.
He was able to stand up and his team had arrived to help him down the mountain.
It was too late, however, for
Five hours on the side of
Everest without moving forward can take its toll.
“You’re quite out of it
yourself,” remembered Brash. “It’s all dreamy and kind of a hazy feeling. It’s
easy to see how people die, if you just sit around for a while, you get so
lethargic you just sit there.”
It was a bitter descent for
The event, perhaps, would not
have made headlines in Australia and Canada, had it not been for another
tragedy which had unfolded days earlier just 500 feet below them.
Thirty-four year old David
Sharp also got sick on Everest but he never made it down the mountain like
Hall. Forty climbers passed the sick Englishman on their way to the summit, and
hours later found him still alive on their descent. He later died in that spot.
Ten days later Brash and his
team passed Sharp on their way to the top that day, never realizing that his
death was drawing stinging criticisms in the climbing community, not the least
of from the late Sir Edmund Hillary who blasted the climbers that passed Sharp
on the way to the summit, more focused on their personal achievements than
helping a man in distress.
Brash is careful to not pass
judgment on his fellow climbers.
“They must have decided that
they couldn’t (help), is what I think,” he said. “They obviously thought about
it. Apparently people gave him oxygen and nothing was happening… It would have
been a multi-hour job to do anything… It was a judgment call.”
Just as it was a judgment
call to sit with Hall and help him recover when the odds were not in his