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Giving up the top of the world to save a man’s life

Canadian climber to speak about his 2006 Everest expedition at avalanche fundraiser



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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 humanities teacher.

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 Brash’s group.

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 Brash.

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 favour.