Monday, 5 April 2010

Abandoned on Everest



In 2006, a lone climber attempting the summit of Mount Everest for the third time was, purely by chance, caught in an amateur photograph taken by another climber of the scenic mountaintop ahead. The climber in the photograph was making his way up what is known as the Final Push of the Northeast ridge, between Camp VI at 8,230 m and the summit. It was late in the afternoon, a foolishly reckless time to undertake the lengthy and dangerous route.

It would be many hours before the the photographer and his climbing team saw the man again. Leaving the camp at the recommended time, shortly before midnight in order to reach the summit at daybreak, they were first in line of a total of roughly 40 climbers attempting the Final Push that day. A long train of men, all tethered to the lengths of rope permanently in place to keep climbers on the right track.



For decades, this rope had taken climbers within a few feet of what became known as Green Boots cave. A small limestone overhang located at 8500 m, it was already infamous among climbers for the same reason it earned its nickname. For the past ten years, the body of a climber who died in 1996 has been a grim landmark for every climber of the Northeast route, lying curled up in the fetal position, wearing fluorescent green mountaineering boots.



This morning, however, Green Boots had company. Sitting no more than two feet to the left of the corpse was a man who at first glance appeared to be dead. His gloved hands were on his knees, his hood and hat cast his face in shadow. The only feature visible was the man's severely frostbitten nose, already a greenish black hue. On closer inspection, the vapor from the man's breath could be seen rising.

What happened next entered the folklore of the highest mountain on earth. Every man interviewed gives a different story. What is certain is that every single one of the 40-odd climbers attempting the summit that day left the man in the cave, whose name was David Sharp, to freeze, either by choice, by ignorance, or by misjudging him as a corpse they already expected to see in that infamous cave.

While chilling in itself, the incident pales in the bigger context of the deadliness of Mount Everest. For every ten climbers who have ever reached the summit, the mountain has claimed one of them. In the 56 years since the first men in history reached the top, 216 people have died, and the grim reality of the horrific conditions of the Final Push is that 150 bodies have never been, and likely can never be, recovered. They are all still there, and located, almost without exception, in the Death Zone.



Above a certain altitude, no human can ever acclimatize. Known as the Death Zone, only on 14 mountains worldwide can one step beyond the 8000 meter mark and know that no amount of training or conditioning will ever allow you to spend more than 48 hours there. The oxygen level in the Death Zone is only one third of the sea level value, which in simple terms means the body will use up its store of oxygen faster than breathing can replenish it.

In such conditions, odd things happen to human physical and mental states. A National Geographic climber originally on Everest to document Brian Blessed's (ultimately botched) attempt at summiting, described the unsettling hallucinogenic effects of running out of oxygen in the Death Zone. The insides of his tent seemed to rise above him, taking on cathedral-like dimensions, robbing him of all strength, clouding his judgement. Any stay in the Death Zone without supplementary oxygen is like being slowly choked, all the while having to perform one of the hardest physical feats imaginable.



Lack of oxygen and treacherous terrain are not the only challenges on Everest, however. Ascents are very rarely attempted outside a very short window between May and June when conditions are at their absolute best, with average temperatures of -27 degrees celcius, and 50 mph winds. But Mount Everest is so high that the top actually penetrates into the stratosphere, where winds known as Jet Streams can flow up to 200 mph, driving temperatures down to minus 73 degrees celcius.

Any exposed skin at high altitudes, even at the best of conditions, are prone to frost bite. A reaction to extreme cold, frost bite starts when blood vessels in the skin contract to preserve core body temperature, in conditions where normal blood flow would lead to the body cooling dangerously fast.



Over time, if the exposed areas of skin are not heated, the lack of blood flow causes tissue death and, even if reheated, gangrene. At this stage, amputations are common.


Climbers are by no means ignorant of these facts. They are reiterated in every source, in every article, and somehow adds to the dangerous allure of the mountain.


But in the words of David Brashears, five time summiteer of Everest, "there had been nothing in my training to prepare me to pass through the open graveyard waiting above."


The case of Hannelore Schmatz is an infamous one. On October 2, 1979, after a successful summit, and for reasons unclear, she died of exhaustion 100 meters short of reaching Camp IV. For years, any climber attempting the southern route could see her body, sitting, leaning against her backpack with her eyes open and brown hair blowing in the wind. Despite being so exposed and so visible along the well-trodden climbing route, rescue operations are virtually suicidal in the Death Zone. A Nepalese police inspector and a Sherpa who tried to recover Hannelore's body in 1984 both fell to their deaths. It was finally high winds that blew her remains over the edge and down the Kangshung face.



An area along the northeast route to the summit has earned the unassuming nickname of "Rainbow Valley", simply because of the multicolored down jackets of the numerous corpses littering the hillside. Even in the harsh conditions of lethal altitudes, corpses can remain for decades, some appearing frozen in time with climbing gear intact.



Brashears explains, "Despite the snow and ice, Everest is as dry as a desert, the sun and wind quickly mummify human remains." The picture below serves as an example, it shows the corpse of mountaineer George Mallory, lost on Everest in 1924, and the state in which it was found in 1999 after 75 years exposed.




No study has ever been done on the causes of death on Everest, what it is that makes people sit down and give up sometimes within shouting distance of safety. But climbers refer to a kind of confrontation with fear that they experience at a certain point up the mountain. The realization that, not only will you not be able to help anyone else in trouble, but if you mess up, in any way, no one will likely be able to help you either.

Media term it "summit fever", the apparent callousness that drives mountaineers to disregard ethics on their Everest ascents, sometimes literally climbing over dead bodies to reach their goals. But whatever the preparation and outlandish cost, perhaps it's not simply ruthless determination that makes someone abandon their team mates, and yet still have the energy to summit. In such alien conditions, utterly hostile to human life, climbers might face their own mortality. Under the spectre of pure, unadulterated fear, they must realize that they are beyond help as well as beyond helping anyone else.

If they don't, they fall among those who never leave, abandoned on Everest.









Online Documentaries:
Dark Side of Everest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQJQapyHAQg
Dying For Everest: http://www.documentary-film.net/search/watch.php?&ref=132

384 comments:

  1. and yet more people still clime there. makes perfect sense and proof that people should be exterminated off this planet due to the ignorance and incompitence.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fantastic article. Many thanks for that. I find it interesting that the climbers who comment here all bravely agree that they know the risks involved in climbing to the summit of 8000m+ mountains and that they know they may die trying. I don't understand then why they appear unwilling to even attempt to help stranded climbers on the grounds that....they may die. Maybe not so brave after all. The summit photo is worth dying for, but another persons life is not. Vain and selfish methinks. As a climber, I find you guys disgusting.

    ReplyDelete
  3. And yet I am still the only one disturbed by the photos of the dead climbers being paraded for those to judge. Yes me the "anon" from previous comments which are obvious if you scroll up. Let's have a discussion on the morality and disrespectful nature of these photos?!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Whether the photos are disrespectful depends who's looking, it seems to me.

    And thanks, Ian. You articulated exactly what I was thinking.

    ReplyDelete
  5. astonishing post this...seems that the TRUE experts condemned the lack of action by ascending climbers...i trust their opinion (they have a reputation that precedes them).

    Also seems like the "what the f**K do you know?" argument is all there is for "survivalists" to justify such decisions...which is fine but there will always be the case that's an exception to the rule me thinks.(this may be one such exception)

    so in essence it comes down to what individuals are willing to do as well as what they are actually capable of doing to help.

    As a non climber i would hope to be both willing and capable in such a situation.As for Everest climbers, it seems that some have no such aspirations to the disgust of others.

    (i have no experience so cant sympathise but i am very capable of empathising thanks very much)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Most of these comments are unbelievably immature, to personally attack anyone shows that they are completely incapable of joining in to a discussion, after all this it what this site is for to discuss a topic. How can anyone really have such a strong opinion on such a delicate subject is impossible unless you were their at the time when this happened.To throw accusations in the air is disrespectful to anyone in that situation and the family and you should be ashamed. Anyone can access this discussion board and could be viewed by members of the family or those that were lucky enough to make it down alive. personally I think after reading how on the edge of life you must be to do this climb a cyanide tablet might be an option for me but would I take it? Would you take it? who knows unless you are in that situation. A few of you have mentioned that a group of 40 passed by, you make it sound as if they were all in a huge group traipsing past and gave them a glance and continued on climbing. Surly they would have been coming past in dribs and drabs with other groups scattered here and their. I would have also thought that no matter how big your group of people were that a discussion about saving someone would have taken an enormous amount of effort and had people standing around for a long time to organize. While this might seem possible to some people i'm sure that the only thoughts going through their heads were the next step they take or it could be them. Making decisions on rescuing someone with altitude sickness impairing the mind to think logically is something i think we are all missing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How do you know that "the only thoughts going through their heads were the next step they take or it could be them"? Were you there? Are you a high altitude mountain climber? And how do you know that altitude sickness was impairing their ability to think logically? Are Edmund Hillary, Juanito Oiarzabal, Ed Viesturs etc. fools who don't know what they are talking about when they slammed the 40 climbers that day for not attempting to rescue Sharp?

      Delete
  7. I find the story of Hannelore Schmatz interesting. She died just outside of camp but supposedly her husband was expedition leader. Whats up with that? I've been unable to find any details of what happened and why he isn't mentioned in regard to her collapse. Also, I have been unable to find any pictures of Hannelore either living or dead. I think someone spent a lot of resources making sure there weren't any available on the web. Two men lost there lives trying to recover her remains. I think there must have been a large amount of money involved to motivate someone to make a special trip into the death zone to recover a body. Can anyone shed some light or direct me to information? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  8. To El -
    I haven't read all the comments, so not sure if your question to Will of "what was the name of the documentary you saw" was answered or not. But, I have seen a documentary about the David Sharp story and it's called Dying for Everest.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Super post. I had no idea. I'm not a mountaineer so, I just never thought about it. It's very interesting to know though. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  10. It's not that posters here are better human beings, it's called the DEATH ZONE for a reason. Reason escapes everyone's brain.

    "A lot of people do get summit fever and locked into this basically trance-like state in trying to reach the summit on the summit day and a lot of that has to do with the hypoxic state they're in...
    Because good rational sound people with families, with wives, with friends, make astonishingly bad decisions that cannot be explained through the drive to reach the summit alone.
    None of these people would risk their lives the same way at sea level with their brain saturated with oxygen. So the summit fever up here has a lot more to do with just wanting to reach the top, it has to do with the state of your brain up here." -NOVA

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hummh. You guys would last two seconds in the Marine Corps. Under no circumstances is a brother left behind. You value how difficult it is to get to the top as the impossibility of getting a friend, comrade, brother, back to safety? 40 people sat with him? Bet that cheered his soul right up. Unbelievable. I hope as you tell your story of your great conquest you remember one that could of been done. But I guess you have your priorities. Sleep tight.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Stanley Millgram showed that the amount of human pain we can stand and watch, and do nothing, is significant. This post brings up some cold, hard truth about the human condition. Nice work.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Couldn't you just climb up to where the bodies are and then ride them down like a sled? That seems to be the easiest way.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I can figure most of the comments were by educated people that not only know how to write they also know how to spell.Well written article.Very refreshing.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Foolish. The only achievement was the first people up there. Now they are just walking in footsteps of giants.

    ReplyDelete
  16. If the odds of dying are already 1 in 10, then stopping to help someone down increases those odds considerably, do the maths people would you really change those odds to 50/50, I certainly wouldn't and from my very very brief experience on very low mountains - going down hurts much more than going up.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Summit attempts are full of stories of failure because the team backed down due to health, weather, conditions, etc...

    If you're ascending and you have to back down, you 'attempt' to take everyone with you.

    You NEVER walk past a dying person on your way up, so don't for one second try to justify your actions.

    May God forgive you, because I don't.

    A Mountaineer

    ReplyDelete
  18. Questions, from a first rsponder, non-climber.

    Someone up above said that the 40 people had ropes and ladders. Assuming that is true, it would have been (theoretically) possible to improvise a stretcher and secure Mr. Sharp to it. I've done this at sea level.

    Now, questions:

    1) It involves a lot of rope handling, getting the lashing right. It that safely/humanly possible at that altitude and temerature? With gloved hands??

    2) Was anyone there capable of getting that done in a safe amount of time? Did anyone there have the skills and knowledge to effect a safe rescue.

    3) Could they have gotten him out of the Death Zone to a place of safety in a safe amount of time?

    4) Was there someone present who was trained to assess Mr. Sharp's condition and decide to attempt rescue?

    First responders are trained to assess the situation in regards to their own safety. We are also trained in triage - determining not only who needs help, but if some people cannot be helped immediately. Did someone attempt that assessment?

    These are my questions for the mountaineers who have been there. What do you think?

    ReplyDelete
  19. The judgment of these people who climb Everest lies in the future. What will their egotistical quest contribute to the future of the universe, considering that the first to summit have shown it could be done?
    So, they prove to themselves that they can accomplish a difficult thing. Big deal. What they also do is take a lot of money out of the useful pool of people's lives and work, and throw it to the winds. Once one proves that they have no care except for their own useless gratification, how big a leap is it to believe that they will walk past a dying comrade or dump their trash anywhere they please?
    Survival is a team sport.
    The next time I meet a self-proclaimed "climber", I will say, "Hello, a__hole."

    ReplyDelete
  20. Call me gruesome, but I really enjoyed this story. I was on wikipedia reading about the individuals that had died on Everest, and I came across this page in search of pictures. I guess I don't have much of an imagination so I had to see it for myself. Definitely still on my bucket list to climb, but I will take more caution in my steps. Not like it is going to happen any time soon; however, if the opportunity arrises I would grasp it with both hands. What a wonderfully written article; exactly what I was looking for!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I agree will linseys perspective. if part of the requirement to reach the summit is to relinquish all compassion for others in the quest for your own vanity you are not getting to the top but heading towards the bottom?

    ReplyDelete
  22. I would like to propose the possibility that the reason the bodies (namely David Sharp) are left on the mountain top is not because of misjudgment or choice, but rather an awareness of the reality that any attempt to recover his body would simply lead to more unnecessary death. Imagine a team of say 15 climbers ascending the mountain with the sole intent of rescuing Mr. Sharp. Now assuming they make it to him in time and without complication, they would then have to carry him down on a stretcher, across deadly ravines, down ladders to a safer location where he MAY be able to receive treatment.

    I suppose I simply view the argument that these passersby were merely empathetic as poorly thought out and a bit cynical. God Bless anyone who attempts an Everest ascent.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I have been really glad after reading this blog as the knowledge which has been given via this blog is simply tremendous. I would congratulate and appreciate the blogger for doing this much hard work.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I have been really glad after reading this blog as the knowledge which has been given via this blog is simply tremendous. I would congratulate and appreciate the blogger for doing this much hard work.

    ReplyDelete
  25. This is a great article, but we also need to note what the author has already stated-the summit of Everest has a 1/3rd of the oxygen that sea level does, and in such extreme conditions it is barely possible to carry oneself up (and down!) the mountain, let alone another climber. I agree there needs to be much more sensitivity on part of climbers who get carried away by 'summit fever' and a serious reconsideration of mountaineering ethics...Some situations (as evidenced by the May 1996 disaster) create situations where it is very near impossible to help others as healthier climbers can be so impaired by adverse weather conditions and oxygen depletion. I think some climbers do the best they can with the little strength and oxygen they have, and some clearly don't. There are definitely many many sides to this and it is a discussion worth continuing to have, because the death toll will only continue to rise as more and more climb.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I've read that high camp was 300ft from cave here david sharp was left. It would have taken 15 minutes to descend to the camp and get oxygen bottles and other life saving equipment. It has been said here that there are guide ropes to follow to make things easier. Plus people have been saved from higher altitudes than the cave. David was in need of a hero or heroes to save him. I would imagine they are a rare breed and a lot less than 40:1 change of finding one. Expecially in this situation where you have time to think of the personal dangers you would face.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Great post and story, but holy crap does it seem like mountaineering is a mammoth waste of time, energy, and money. Yay!, you made it to the top of a mountain and "found truth." You created a bond with your fellow man that others "just don't understand." You have connected to mother earth or some other BS. Put your money into a local charity. Volunteer at a local kid's shelter. Make a difference in someone else's life, and you will find a reward greater than at the top of any hill.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I think the mountain summit should be forever closed and made a sacred monument to those who died, and also to the callousness and vanity of those who would seek achievement while they watched a fellow human being pass away.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great idea. I also think it should be made a sanctuary that only the local Nepalese or Tibetan sherpas have access too, since it is after all, they're mountain, not ours. They respect it and worship it, and don't harbor desires to 'conquer' or 'assault' it. Moreover, only they seem to care about how ugly the mountain has become with its piles of garbage and corpses. So, close it to everyone but them, so they can clean it up and restore it to its pure beauty and sanctity, in the way they have always looked upon it.

      Delete
  29. I see both sides of the argument on rescue. Their stupidity and recklessness doesn't mean you should face a very real chance that someone else will die as a result. If you do everything you're supposed to and still get in trouble then it's a risk you're obligated to take but I'm not so sure in this instance.

    Either way, I have a nice car, a spacious apartment and eat out a lot. With that money I could probably save dozens of lives every year... and I imagine most of us are in similar conditions. In that regard most authors here are worse than anyone on that climb. In fact, the victim also probably spent tens of thousands of dollars to be there on Everest... dieing, money which could have saved dozens of lives. So he's kind of an asshole too. We all are.

    ReplyDelete
  30. It'd be difficult but there is no reason on this earth an automated drone system couldn't grab bodies and haul them back.

    The issue is that life saving infrastructure is simply not being placed there.

    =/ There are reasons for that. But leaving 150 bodies to rot in some sort of macabre tourist attraction is probably not one of them.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I think that we can not talk or said anithing againts or in favor or every climber who left unhelped people at the top, unless you were in the same situation then, you can really undetstand the situation and theh said if you were or not able to help someone else.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Fantastic article...at the very edge of human endeavor there is little room for sentimentality!!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Incredible blog. I've been mesmerized all day reading up on this.

    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  34. If I were to climb, I would do so knowing that I may never return.
    I know the risk and I would accept them. Otherwise I would not climb.
    I would not expect someone to help me. I would not want them to risk their lives doing so. It was my decision to climb.
    Climbing is a death wish. We all like to kiss danger on the cheek. Some people drive at 100 mph, some snort coke. We have to know that our decisions can kill us.
    If I were to climb everest, and was at a point of no return, injured or sick, and I see a team of 40 making their way to the summit, I would use my last bits of energy to give them the thumbs up.
    I would have died doing what I love, and to me, that is better then dying because of old age or a car wreck.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Hello,

    Just a note: I believe that the climber you quote in the article is David Breashears - perhaps you could correct your post so that his name is spelled correctly.

    Otherwise, a very compelling article!

    Erin

    ReplyDelete
  36. A nice and an always returning debate.

    Personaly I believe I isn't possible to rescue anybody up there with out endangering your own and others lives.
    But the main consideration is this. Everybody who is going up there know this fact. Getting up there is accepting the fact you aren't able to help and you're aren't getting help. It's not
    inhuman, it's the descision or choice for live and dead of you and others at the first place which makes it human.

    RIP everyone on all mountains around the world.
    Paul (Netherlands)

    ReplyDelete
  37. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln_Hall_%28climber%29

    This climber of Everest was rescued a few days after Mr. Sharp at 8600 meters, while severely frostbitten and having spent the night exposed to the conditions without a tent.

    Seems to strongly suggest that David Sharp could have been rescued.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Lindsey, the conditions on top of the Everest are so inhuman that you would be lucky to even remember your whole journey to the top. I bet sometimes these climbers don't even notice people being left behind, your entire body is operating in a mindless state, much like when an boxer tries to fight back after receiving an almost ko punch.

    ReplyDelete
  39. First thing they teach you in first aid etc is that you've got a duty of care first and foremost to yourself and secondly to other people.

    ReplyDelete
  40. It's funny how the people saying they should have rescued Sharp think that the climbers all wen tup the mountain in a huge clump of 40 people. Do you guys really think the mountain paths are that large? If it's a death sentence to carry YOURSELF UP a mountain, how dangerous do you think it is to carry a FROZEN BODY DOWN a mountain? Sharp knew the risks and never would have survived a descent from where he sat. ANd it's likely that anyone rescuing him might have killed themselves and -other climbers- in the attempt.

    Anyone who thinks normal human decency applies on the top of a mountain has no idea what they're talking about. There's no such thing as an honorable death, just death. The only thing worse than leaving someone to die is to try to same them and kill yourself in the process. Now they are responsible for YOUR death. THink about that.

    ReplyDelete
  41. No tool, unless you've been up there, you can't judge. Look up as many quotes and philosophies from climbers as you like. You know nothing of what it is like up there unless you've been there yourself; those men made their their choice and have to accept the consequences, whether those consequences are dying in Everest's death zone, or recieving hate from various holier-than-thou tool on the internet. Also, just because some of the climbers don't agree with you doesn't mean that they are "noobs" and the fact that you think so is an obvious sign of your own ignorance.
    and to those who denounce the climbers for even trying to reach the highest point in "such a pointless sport", screw you too. They are following their dreams and giving a meaning to their lives. Just because you want to take the safe route in life so you can be safe and sound when you die anyway, doesn't mean that everyone else has to as well.

    ReplyDelete
  42. *men and women made theur choice

    ReplyDelete
  43. Leave the bodies up there, they're cool.

    ReplyDelete
  44. a fasznak másznak oda fel.
    maradjatok otthon a mamával!

    ReplyDelete
  45. MAX is a douche for his comment :D There is nothing wrong with having an opinion Lindsey

    ReplyDelete
  46. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  47. It's hard to stay on one side of the debate as I have never been above 5000 meters but I can imagine how difficult it can get over 8000 meters, to keep even yourself moving. But, not attempting to help, the dying David Sharp sounds no more justifiable when I read the story of how Lincoln Hall was rescued at a height of 8530 meters, just a few later when Sharp was left to die. It was because Dan Mazur and his team preferred saving a human life over a mountain summit.
    Peter Kinloch (2010 story) was also left to die by his own team but it didn’t face criticism because they spent several hours trying to take him down until their own survival was jeopardized.
    So, if Hall could be rescued why couldn't Sharp? An argument can be made that Sharp’s condition was worse but 40 persons pass him by and none bothers to make any 'real' effort sounds outrageous and tarnishes whatever they accomplished by reaching the 'last' point of the mountain.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Just so everyone knows, the ones that people leave behind usually have something called cerebral edema and they wouldn't be able to be saved anyway. I understand wanting to save them, but you might not be able to. great job writing by the way!

    ReplyDelete
  49. whos is the body after green boots is it scott or rob?

    ReplyDelete
  50. To anyone who thinks it was possible to save David, put a platic bag over your head and run up and down a staircase for a few hours. Then try and carry someone up that staircase for another few hours and if you want complete authenticity, do this in a wind tunnel at -40 c.

    ReplyDelete
  51. I love to hike, to explore, to breathe in other cultures & environments. I don't for the life of me, comprehend the fascination with paying thousands of dollars to freeze on a mountain while climbing over dead corpses & stepping over dying human beings, all the while littering a beautiful mountain with empty bottles of oxygen, leftover trash, and in so much pain, you can't even enjoy the exorbitant beauty of a mountain that is being desecrated by people who think trekking up in the middle of the night in order to stand on the supposed "top of the world" for a whole 20 minutes to plant a flag. Is it worth losing life or limb or have your brain swell in your head? And for what? Certainly not to enjoy the glimmering snow & wind & swirling clouds that should & does take your breath away. But not because you're overwhelmed by the beauty but because you're in such pain, you can't see, hear or feel what surrounds you. I'm sorry. I'm sorry for those that feel such need to prove themselves. And I'm sorry for those that have died trying so hard to close an emptiness inside them. But I'm really sorry for the magnificent mountain, that is now littered w/ corpses & trash & ignorance & arrogance & greed. I grieve for Everest most of all.

    ReplyDelete
  52. wow that is intense..thank god im not trying to climb a mountain anytime soon..

    ReplyDelete
  53. they should ban mountaineering up that mountain or just destroy with explosives to prevent any more pointless, ego driven deaths.

    ReplyDelete
  54. To those people who think that 40 people could have saved the guy, none of you have ever taken a psychology class, have you? If you had, you would have learned about the bystander effect. Not only are the people walking past slowly dying, trying to save themselves, but they are also a victim of this effect. The bystander effect is a phenomenon where the more people there are in a group, the less likely they are to help a person. Normal, caring people, at sea level for that matter, have watched people die, get abducted, and let other horrible events carry on because of this psychological phenomenon. You think "Oh, well, I would never do something like that," but don't judge until you've actually had it happen to you, because other victims of this effect would have said exactly the same thing. And that's at sea level with a clear head.

    ReplyDelete
  55. After reading this, I'm not going to hold a grudge against climbers who don't want to risk their lives to assist someone at that height who obviously didn't take the risks seriously enough.

    ReplyDelete
  56. nice to see your blog dear, as i see some thing interesting after a long time.
    Regards

    ReplyDelete
  57. awesome read! thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  58. I have read enough about what people believe it is to be human. What it means to be human is simple. It means we are bipedal monkeys with opposable thumbs no tails and the ability to make CHOICES. While one may feel it is necessary to give up a life goal to save a life, the other may feel the goal is the most important thing. Thus, no matter what someone thinks or does, it makes them no less human. Moving on to what my "human instinct" tells me. If I felt I had the energy or any possible means of helping, whether it be by going back and finding someone who hasn't climbed at all that day or by trying to help myself, I would definitely do so... However, if I felt that I had a small chance of not making it out alive myself, I would not help. I am human, the truth is... I would very much like to live. Chances are I would never try to climb Everest... I understand, however, why someone would. It does take balls (or tits) whatever you want me to call awesome sauce, to climb Mount Everest. Thus, if you have, power to you. My beliefs in short... I wouldn't take a bullet for anyone except for my own mother... does that make me such a bad person?

    Great article by the way... this is the first time I have posted on a blog... It was just that good.

    ReplyDelete
  59. this was the best thing I've ever read. A little creepy, but true. :)

    ReplyDelete
  60. Do you give away all your food and share it with the poorest of the poor because they are all starving to death ? Do you give up your 5 dollar daily mocha frappuchinos from starbucks so that you can feed a dying beggar on the streets ? Instead of buying yourself a new pair of shoes when you don't need to, do you instead give a pair of shoes to kids on the street in a developing country who have no clothes and walk around barefoot all day? Do you give up your morning cup of tea so that others can have clean water to drink? Would you give up a trip to the dentist of the hair salon and instead use the money to take a sick man to the hospital?
    None of those things will kill you but do you do it?

    You won't even do that but you expect someone who is himself or herself on death's door to kill themselves trying to bring an almost dead person down the cliff ?

    ReplyDelete
  61. The David Sharp incident must be the most inhumane act that ever happened at Everest!! Stealing food and bottled oxygen happens every now and then!! I guess Sharp could have been rescued had people acted on their way up! They had to abandon their own summit bid but nothing comes close to saving a human life, not even the summit of Everest!! Plus "The Mountain will always be there!" so one can always come back next season!! The worst thing was no one claimed to notice Sharp on their way up but amazingly noticed only on their way down, some 7 hours later!!
    Sharp, on his third attempt made few mistakes on his part too!! He choose to go with a cheap agency "Asian Trekking" which has one of the worst death rates, and did not hire any sherpa at all!! It was an irony that a large amount of money was found in his bag! Had the mathematician atleast had hired a sherpa, the case would have been otherwise!!
    The unfortunate event did have a good outcome though! It made people question about the ethics on Everest! A week later Australian climber Lincoln Hall was rescued under similar circumstances by 4 climbers, who abandoned their own summit bid!!
    They say one cant think properly and rationally once above the death zone, but does one get so affected that he/she cannot understand the value of human life??

    ReplyDelete
  62. I've been in the position in the past to act as the Good Samaritan during several emergencies. Under normal circumstances I know that I would never EVER leave another human being to suffer or die without some sort of rescue attempt. But as I said, that's under normal conditions...

    I'd like to think that my immediate reaction to help others would still kick in above 8,000m, but I can't honestly say I know for sure. While I'm not a mountaineer of any sort, much less an extreme alpinist, I have been in situations of extreme fear, and in situations where my body has been pushed to the limits, and in situations where my decision-making abilities have been impaired. But I've never been in a situation where all of these conditions have occurred at the same time. I just don't know if my altruism would still kick in at that point.

    While the reality of climbers stepping over the exhausted or injured on their way to the top of Everest is certainly appalling, I don't think it's fair to label these people as uncaring without knowing what their condition was at the time of the climb.

    There ARE many instances of miraculous rescues on Everest and the other 8,000m peaks, as well as heartbreaking, heroic rescue attempts that don't succeed. Many of these rescue attempts and successful rescues are carried out by climbers who shelve their summit bids in order to help. Some of them may not have ever gotten another attempt at the summit.

    There are also stories of climbers who didn't stop to help and who went on to summit who tell of the severe regret and anguish that they had to live with after making that decision. I ran across an article recently about two climbers who did just that, but who went back to Everest many years later just to see if they could remove the body (of the person they ignored) for proper burial.

    Remember, Everest is sort of the "Super 8" of the 8,000m peaks- anyone and everyone attempts to climb it whether they have the skills to do so or not. That means you're seeing a broad range of human behaviors in a microcosm- an incredibly harsh and demanding microcosm at that!

    Mt. Everest seems to bring out the best in some people and the worst in others, and who a person is at home may not be any indicator of how they will react in such an extreme environment.

    ReplyDelete
  63. I don't know if anyone posted this fact re: David Sharp.. Most mountaineers that hiked up to Everest that morning, did so in the dark. You don't go for the summit in daylight.. you do it in the dark. So for some of the 40 some people that went up that day, who "passed by" a dying David Sharp and "could have stopped to help" don't be so self righteous.. mountaineers are looking where they're walking, usually pretty damn tired, are wearing oxygen masks.. low peripheral vision, and probably passed by him in complete darkness. Unless he collapsed and fell directly on the trail, which he did not.. he was off the trail by about 20 feet.. people did not "pass him" knowing he was there on their way up. It was indeed, one of Russel Brice's climbers, along with his sherpa, who discovered him on the way down.. and they left him with some oxygen and attempted to treat him. The circumstances of the trip back down Everest are simple.. you have enough oxygen left to safely descend.. your own life is on a clock. It's no different than a poor swimmer not being sucked into saving someone that's drowning by getting within arm's length of them.. they WILL grab you, and they WILL drown you.. and then you're both dead. You accept that risk, and respect that risk, especially when you climb alone.

    ReplyDelete
  64. "Anonymous said... and yet more people still clime there. makes perfect sense and proof that people should be exterminated off this planet due to the ignorance and incompitence."

    It is clear that you do not understand mankind, progression and how we humans survive. Without people who do these things we'd all still be sitting in a field starving and looking for our next meal with no language, clothing, or any other advancement. Risk is an engine that drives advancement. Without risk takers we would have died as a species before we started. The first man that left his cave to find food took a risk and I am sure there were sloths not unlike you saying are you nuts it is dangerous out there. There is a difference between educated forward thinking risk or risk based on necessity and risk done in a stupid haphazard fashion. Those who know what they are up against, prepare and move forward with the proper skill and care drive our species forward. People like you leave no mark and just sit around carping and sucking up the resources that others have provided. Every piece of technology that you enjoy every advancement was achieved through risk and progression. Not one was gained from saying oh that is stupid thing to do we should all just die.

    I know you thought your comment was spicy and deep but the reality is it was pathetic, weak and symptomatic of of those who are arrogant and live by sloth. Neither of those are an appealing virtue to anyone. No one says I want an arrogant lazy coward to hang out with. not even those who are just like that. They need those of us who move forward.

    ReplyDelete
  65. the guy in last pics tent blew away whilst he was skinning one up

    ReplyDelete
  66. Attempting to rescue someone from the Dead Zone is like jumping into a river of lava to save someone who has fallen in.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Anyone who climbs these mountains are @ssholes and if they die, good for them - really!!!

    Pussies leave those in need behind. Heroes die trying to save others. The self-righteous give 2 sh*ts!

    Such thrill seekers. You want a thrill, run into the twin towers knowing there is no escape but giving your all to try save to others.

    Climbing this beast has no bearing on others. It is simply a selfish act; very much like masturbation. Yes it feels great at the time but typically when you are done, self-embarrassment sets in.

    I’m not a rock climbing dude and don’t care to be one. I’m not 100% sure on how the altitude affects one’s judgment either. I have however, saved “animals” from a burning building to put a smile on a young child’s face. Thank God it wasn’t their parents!!!

    I have saved an adult with the Heimlich maneuver. I cried for about an hour afterward. Not because of the situation, but because I was prepared for the situation.

    I would feel much better about myself saving another climber than climbing a dumb a mountain. Who really gives a sh*t? F*cking P*ssies!!

    ReplyDelete
  68. very surprising gnome agree's with all those who hold his oppinion, which he is very entitled to. Very unlikely that anybody who has commented on this post has been in this situation so dont get angry people its just opinion! I feel it wouldve been hard to rescue at that altitude, majority of the people who summit everest are not experienced and they have paid to be shapperoned to the top.

    ReplyDelete
  69. every mountaineer have a dream of Mt.Everest summit. In every step death is waiting for you. If you beat your death you r the winner. If not then also you will be the winner because you are dead in the Mt Everest. all mountaineer want to go to the Mt. Everest because it is there.

    ReplyDelete
  70. I been to the summit of Mt.Everest - and on seven 8000 meter expedition total - out of which 6 (from my own 1x and other expeditions 5x) had persons die. I can say that for the persons who are realistic and imaginative, high climbs are an intense experience in the margin of life and death. Morality, like physical strength, is stressed. Be kind to the survivors and respectful to those who died.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Haunting and beautifully documented

    ReplyDelete
  72. People saying "oh you should have saved him you're so selfish" are just straight up ignorant and foolish. And stop referring to Hilary's quote, he is one man who was good at climbing mountains, does he speak for every person of the world now? NO. Your bias creates your ignorance and you don't even consider the opinions of those who are "not-professional." How many homeless people have you walked by in your lifetime and just said, "ah someone else will help them." This is basically the situation on everest except you can substitute the homeless man with an uncooperative, 200 lb., dead weight, delusional human being. Im not saying that to be disrespectful because its the truth. Sharp could not even stand on his own, probably let alone speak. And i love how every says "OH THERE WERE 40 PEOPLE!!!!! someone could have helped" Are you even considered the situation? You're on the edge of a freakin cliff, and there is the person you have to save, hanging so close to that edge. You think 40 people can just huddle around and carry him down over their heads? HA! Get over your ignorance and use your head! You opinions are valid since everyone is entitled to one, but overall they just don't make sense!

    ReplyDelete
  73. Hey guys and gals, you probably walk past people every day who are sleeping on the streets whilst on your way to work and you give them a cursory nod or even ignore them altogether. Some of those people are very close to death for whatever reason (cold, fatigue, illness) but you accept (or believe) that they have made a choice and that they have to live, and die, by that choice.

    At 8,000 metres the situation is vastly compounded by the complications of being in the death zone and everyone is barely surviving, let alone able to stop and help, without jeopardising their own health and well being.

    Remember that whatever actions we make as mountaineers on Everest have a direct implication on the Climbing Sherpas - they are the guys who are mustered to save and help people who have gotten themselves in to trouble. To stop and sit and pat someone on the hand as they die, to then be the person who now has to be recovered by Climbing Sherpas who have families that they want to see again ... that's a BIG ask.

    There are some folk on Everest who die through bad luck, due to accident or sudden fatal complications. But generally ... people who die should be there in the first place.

    Sharp was one of those people.

    If he'd have given up his mainstream job, turned his back on his friends and family and dropped out of society, perhaps it would have been you who was walking past him in the street with thoughts in your (misinformed) mind that he had made a choice to be there.

    All you have to do every day is get to work, or back home. On Everest, where people have saved for years and paid £££s, why should one loose cannon jeopardise their summit attempt and there life. If they stop and help he isn't going to pay for them to go back again next year.

    He shouldn't have been there and was a complete liability to himself and everyone around him.

    ReplyDelete
  74. The pictures, article & photos are very interesting & my hobby is reading about the people who risk it all to climb Mt. Everest & other mts. All of these adventures fascinate me because I know I could never do it... so, I live vicariously by reading all about it. There was a time when Everest was only for the very experienced & even some of them have perished on the mountain. Nowadays, as Ed Viesturs mentioned, many people who just aren't experienced & "don't belong up there" are going up regardless. As my Dad used to say, "Some people have more money than brains!" On the contrary, "Becase it is there.", will continually be an appealing factor.
    The big wave surfers amaze me as well... something else I couldn't do. However, I did bodysurf at the Pipeline when I lived in Hawaii & that was as far as I would go! Back in those days there were very few who could surf the really big ones, they could be counted on 1 hand, but now there are many.
    Only as far back as the 1970's, both of these extreme sports were limited to a few. Of course equipment etc. has improved dramatically since then... and to think Mallory & Irvine were in tweeds!!!
    My point is, most of us are spectators & could never put ourselves in such extreme situations or indulge in such extreme sports. Whether it's due to sensibilities or not! However, because our interest is there some tend to think we are qualified to make judgement, almost duty bound to do so. Personally, & as well read on this field of interest, I won't take that perogative.
    After all, none of us really know how we will react to a predicament until we're actually there in the moment of the experience.
    May all beings be happy, starting with you!

    ReplyDelete
  75. Sailors will render all assistance possible to another in distress....it's been that way for centuries and frankly it is why they are better people than these selfish narcicists who climb to prove how great they are....

    ReplyDelete
  76. my friend Pat Morrow summitted in 82 and passed Hannelore Schmatz and he mentioned she was entombed in ice at that time

    ReplyDelete
  77. this is a great article,whats your resources?
    where did you get your information from because i think this would be a great entry into my report on everest!.(:

    ReplyDelete
  78. Last picture is confirmed to be Peter BOARDMAN.

    ReplyDelete
  79. After reading a lot on this issue I still come to same conclusion...Those that made the decision to step over a fallen human being to save their own lives will be stepped over themselves. No matter the situation, no matter where...no one should be left behind...this is not a race..no winners here and the ones that have made it to the top...hope you have made peace with God because you stepped over and crawled across his children to get there...what a great feat...sad.

    ReplyDelete
  80. After reading a lot on this issue I still come to same conclusion...Those that made the decision to step over a fallen human being to save their own lives will be stepped over themselves. No matter the situation, no matter where...no one should be left behind...this is not a race..no winners here and the ones that have made it to the top...hope you have made peace with God because you stepped over and crawled across his children to get there...what a great feat...sad.

    ReplyDelete
  81. David Sharp died from his own screwups in a misadventure of his own choosing. No sympathy for him.

    If any of these vultures blabbing about the 'harsh necessity' of leaving another human being to die ever get attacked by a gang of street thugs while other people just run or look away, I won't feel any sympathy for them, either.

    ReplyDelete
  82. You didn't even write this. I've seen this like 5 times, an I know the name of the author.

    ReplyDelete
  83. There was a documentary about the death of David Sharp. Sharp went up to summit in the afternoon/evening when all the other climbers were resting before starting their summit attempt at 11pm to 1am. This was madness.
    The second thing was it was the coldest night of the year, stopping for any time causes you to get cold and stiffen up, making the difficult climb far harder to complete.
    The third thing was; he was on his own, absolutely no-one with him.
    Probably the worst thing; he had no radio.
    Any one of those decisions increased his risk of dying by a huge amount.

    The new-zelander Mark Inglis was criticized by Hillary for not helping him down the mountain. He was a double amputee with a faulty regulator on his oxygen mask and the stumps of bone in his amputated legs sticking out through the skin. Jesus H Christ, its a wonder he got himself down.

    It was also mentioned in the comments here that most people passing Sharp on the way up did so at 2am or so, (rescue in the dark?, dont think so) it was pitch black and Sharp was well under the overhang of green boots cave, he just was not visible to a lot of them. It was also mentioned in several websites that climbers have to unhook and rehook their harnesses many times on the way up and down, not just where Sharp was.
    It should be noted that the Lebanase climber who had the first recorded radio call about him had not seen him on his ascent.

    Finally, green boots cave is 820 feet higher in elevation than camp 4.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Sharp_(mountaineer)
    (yeah its wikipedia, but this entry is high profile and so will be peer reviewed regularly to keep it accurate)

    ReplyDelete
  84. Many of you have never been higher then 300m in your entire lives and yet you dare to judge someone who has climbed 8000m+. You do not seem to understand that at one point when you climb such a high altitude all your concetration, effort is to BREATHE! those who climb have to have strenght to put one foot after another foot to climb and all emoitions, opinions, morals are switched off when you are in survival mode. There are few how in such conditions have enough strenght to think about others and they are unique. As you enter the death zone (the name is the actual meaning) you begin to DIE because you body cannot aclimatize at such altitude and you life is a sand clock you have been given certain amount of time to get thru it and out otherwise you WILL DIE! That is one of the major trhills of Mt Everest (notice EVER/REST) is that knowledge that you are dyign while climbing to the top, a unique chance to face your own mortality and stare death in the face. People who managed to climb up usually fall on the way down beacuse all the andrenalin has drained, they put their guard down and this is where the mountain gets you. Its a toll the mountain takes for those couple of mintes at the top. Once in the death zone you begin to die and you will die if you do not exit the zone in certain amount of time. This time is different for people as nobody is the same. Certainity is that you will die if you stay there more then absolute minimum. Its simple once the rest load of the heart reaches the maxiumum load of the heart person is unable do to anything but rest and rest means death. They cant move because their body is shut down its a death sentence eventhough you are still alive an maybe for next couple of hours. But to those around you its clear that your fate is cealed and all they can do is maybe comfort you or give you some extra O2 at their own risk. There is no way of actually helping you down in any way as they are working on their own reserves as tom cruise said in top gun "we are flying on fumes" same is with the body. No extra effort can be taken to help your fellow climbers if htey fall before the camp. Over 200 bodies lie on everst and are reminder to anyone who is not 100% sure he is willing to swap his life for 5-10 minutes on the top of the world. For some people its acceptable risk for others it's redicolous. Its up to a person. You have to show strenght, this is why mountain climbing is so attractive to some people, they are not climbing to conquoer a rock... they are climbing to conquer themselves and their humanity.

    ReplyDelete
  85. It is time to seal Mt.Everest off forever from human exploration. Same for the Matterhorn. It makes no sense to risk one's life there, which is a given if you try.

    ReplyDelete
  86. People have to realize that there were many differing factors between Sharpe and Hall. In most rescues the victim has to be able to help them self to some degree. Sharpe had gone off by himself, never a good idea on Everest, had only purchased 2 bottles of oxygen knowing full well from two previous attempts at the mountain that he would need much more. Sharpe sat down in this little cave,stopped moving and froze from his feet to his knees. In some areas on Everest, due to the terrain etc. if you can't move on your own power then you are done for. Hall after awaking in the dead of night after being pronounced as near death, realized that he was starting to freeze, spent any lucid moments squirming and moving around which kept the blood flowing. Rescuers were able to get Hall to his feet with help and assist him down to camp. This rescue took many hours and many people to get this man to camp. It takes HOURS to walk meters up there. Inglis was using every bit of energy and strength he had to keep himself standing due to being a double amputee. He went on to summit but on the decent had to be rescued himself and later had to have several inches more removes from his stumps due to frostbite. I suppose some may see this as poetic justice. Many, many factors to consider in such a tragic tale. The most mind boggling fact to me is that out of 40 people going for the summit who passed Sharpe, the one who got the most backlash for not helping was the double amputee Inglis. Where was the backlash for the 39 others?

    ReplyDelete
  87. Thank you for the sensible critique. Me & my neighbor were just preparing to do a little research about this. We got a grab a book from our local library but I think I learned more from this post. I am very glad to see such wonderful info being shared freely out there.
    KNIPEX 97 49 68 1 Locator For 97 49 68

    ReplyDelete
  88. They should leave the dead as a warning about the insanity there about to attempt, And because you do NOT disturb the dead

    ReplyDelete
  89. Comment moderation has been enabled. All comments must be approved by the blog author

    ReplyDelete
  90. Hi,

    I tweeted you about this. I am writing a book about Everest for kids. You have great facts in this blog and I'm assuming they're true. Not about people dying, but about the wind speed, etc. But you know how they say you can't trust everything you read on the internet. I would like to know your name and links to anything else you've written on Everest please.

    ReplyDelete
  91. Please correct: last picture is not the remains of Peter Boardman neither the corp of Annelore Schmatz. This is the poor body of Scott Fischer. Rest in peace Scott.

    ReplyDelete
  92. It's often called the "bystander effect or "Genovese syndrome" and especially diffusion of responsibility". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Kitty_Genovese

    Let insight strengthen your resolve not to conform to this bullshite callousness.

    ReplyDelete
  93. im 14 and ive been training for the past while and im planning an expodition up mt temple and mt assinaboine in the summer/ fall and my utimate goal is to summit everest with uriah l, peter h.

    ReplyDelete
  94. thanx guys ,i had never thought of Mt Everest as a place where a struggle between life and death takes place before your own eyes,who could possibly remain unchanged after surviving such horror..?

    ReplyDelete
  95. Most recent!

    ReplyDelete
  96. green boots is Rob Hall, leader if the ill-fated 1996 expedition.

    ReplyDelete
  97. OK. I'm not a climber, though I do camp, hike, rappel, off-road, hunt, etc. So I know I don't "understand" how you guys think. But I just don't get it. There are plenty of rewarding challenges in this world, things that are incredibly difficult, complex, rare, etc. that don't even approach the risk and death rate of climbing Everest. With so many great things to try, why Everest? It's not about being elite any longer, it's about spending enough money. Even if it were still about being the elite, so what? What are you after in your life? Why can you not be satisfied about who you are? There may be perfectly reasonable answers to my questions, and if so, I look forward to them. But never have I met anyone who does these ultra-high-risk climbs who could give me an answer that made any sense. I think a lot of it is simply ego and/or addiction to the rush. No different than drugs. You have to do more and more, chasing that feeling you got the first time. Truth is, you'll never feel that way again. Enjoy the memory, move on to new things.

    ReplyDelete
  98. Ha! Max is a virgin.

    ReplyDelete
  99. Wow, makes me think twice before trying such thing. Though, it's tragical it's a pleasure to read this article :)

    ReplyDelete
  100. Everest means "ever rest". Climbers with a death wish are hypnotised by the name, drawn like moths to a lightbulb, so they can get the chance to REST for EVER. The only thing more dangerous is the similar instinct to live your name. A lot of those climbers have interesting names. Also, the most beautiful woman who ever lived is a corpse up there, I believe, but I can't find her name nor the picture of her remains.

    ReplyDelete
  101. Sounds like they need to install a catapult on the summit.

    What is the conquering part of Mt. Everest? Is it the risk? Then why not take on more risk and help someone who needs it?

    Oh, I get it.. it's so you can tell your kids that you were there that day and succeeded where others died trying. You sat next to a guy who drew his last breath because he was weaker than you.



    Here's the point. You risking your life, or better yet, PAYING to risk your life for no reward except self satisfaction, have proven that your life isn't so precious that it should be protected at all costs.

    I don't care if you die trying, seriously. If nothing else, it redeems the efforts your mother made in bringing you into this world. It's not about getting to the top, it's about the climb. If you're able to throw money away on something like this, throw it away again later when someone isn't dying as a result of it.

    Or, you know, succumb to the risk that folks are so proud to hold in such high esteem.

    You're there to risk your life already for nothing that helps anyone but yourself, so why not make it count for something. A far more worthy life.

    ReplyDelete
  102. Everyone who attempts to climb everest is awesome. It is sad when a whole bunch of climbers have to wait for the non-experienced ones to move so slowly, or stop - putting all up there in danger. You can't prepare for that. Waiting - not moving. It would be great if all who went up to come back down. Too many risks and dangers. It is also quite sad when the successful climbers cannot assist the other ones back to safety. Enjoy life cause you can loose it quickly on Everest.

    ReplyDelete
  103. http://youtu.be/8eW6ifxuVFY

    The video is footage (and discussion) from the group that passed-up "saving" Sharp. Includes him sitting there. I can see why he'd been assumed dead at that point.

    ReplyDelete
  104. Knowing that I would probably not jump into the sea to save someone's half eaten body from the mouth of a shark, I can honestly say I don't think I would sit with a semi-comatose man who is not even able to register my presence in sub zero temperatures watching as my fingers went black from the cold as I quickly ran out of oxygen and my mind started to go as I slowly froze to death. And who's going to bring me down from the mountain when I'm half dead? Ed Viesturs I guess. Poor guy, he's got to be on every climber's speed dial now.

    ReplyDelete
  105. Why don't some of you do-gooders who are judging these climbers because they refuse to risk their lives for a dead or semi-comatose person, take in a homeless person tonight? Come on, it's cold out there, they could freeze to death. Come on, you've got room on your floor and spare food, and it's not even that life-threatening a risk. I won't judge you if you don't though.

    ReplyDelete
  106. Hey, Lindsey. You're an idiot. Anyone who goes up there goes there knowing full damn well that past a certain point, if you go down, nobody can help you. Not without the very real chance that no number of people can reach you. There's no magic rescue team waiting on standby, no helicopters to swoop in and save the day. If you give up, you die. Nobody can do a thing. On that mountain some people can't even carry the burdens of their own mortality. And anyone who naysays, feel free to go up there and prove me wrong. If you have some kind of awesome miracle powers, hey. You're doing everyone a disservice by not stepping up. So, by all means. Go pick up the bodies and the litter. Get up there and save some lives. Or kindly step off of your soapboxes. ... Yours, boredanon.

    ReplyDelete
  107. If it was truly impossible to save David Sharpe, then those 40 + climbers know it.

    But if there was a shred of hope to bring him down alive, ...they know that too.

    Hopefully it wasn't ambition over-riding humanity.

    ReplyDelete
  108. You clearly have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Probably best to stop talking until you do some climbing and come to the realization of just how nonsensical your first sentence is.

    ReplyDelete
  109. You are clueless. You are not a climber. Go be one, and then we will listen. You have no idea what you are talking about.

    ReplyDelete
  110. If he can walk, see what he needs. If he can't walk, say goodbye. You're not going to help him up above the South Col if he can't move BY HIMSELF.

    ReplyDelete
  111. I wonder how these climbers can just leave or walk by the bodies...I would be totally freaked out if I saw a bunch of corpses scattered around...

    ReplyDelete
  112. Google Earth can put you on the summit of Everest and you can enjoy a hot cup of coffee too. Life is about taking risks, how many people are going to die on our roads and we still drive every day.

    ReplyDelete
  113. Such a disgusting picture it can demoralize the hikers although it was few incident you can prepare well to avoid these kind of damages. whenever you get cheap flights to pakistan i insure you that Pakistan is best place for hiking and rock climbing but you have to make sure your safety before.

    ReplyDelete
  114. great blogspot...I listened many times about mount everest but personally i don't have any information about it but after reading this blogspot i know about those people who have great courage and i also got information about abandoned of Everest...
    cheap flights to pakistan i suggest you must also visit our site..........

    ReplyDelete
  115. great blogspot...its gives so much information about everest and those people who have great courage and lost their life in their aim...
    cheap flights to pakistan i suggest you to visit our site...

    ReplyDelete
  116. This was such a haunting article, I was compelled to compose a song to express what I was feeling.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hgaitLhCuQ

    Excellent article.

    ReplyDelete
  117. There is a certain type of person who dreams of having to do something heartless to demonstrate how heroic they are. I would never deliberately put myself in the position of having to ignore a human being in trouble. Climbing Everest isn't heroic, it's tedious, stupid, done to death, inhuman, delusional, self-centred. Lindsey doesn't live in a marshmallow world, she's human, and probably would risk her life to save someone in a dangerous circumstance. it doesn't say anything good about you that you are determined not to. Real people at least hope they'll be strong enough to behave well.

    ReplyDelete
  118. Morbid though it may be, why aren't there pictures of the bodies on any other 8,000 peaks?

    ReplyDelete
  119. what a beautiful death to be on the roof of the world , its ok its just the way it is the people choose to be there and know what risk they take just feeling tired and dizzy and finaly falling asleep , just think its more decent death than finish in an old people abandonned by friend or family ... quelle meiveilleuse mort que detre sur le toi du monde , cest cool cest just comme cela les gens decide d etre ici and connaissent les risques qu ils prennent ils se sentent just etourdi et fatiguer pour finalement s endormirent , juste une penser que s est plus descent comme mort que de finir dans une maison pour personnes agees abandonner de ses amis et de sa famille voila ...

    ReplyDelete
  120. Glad I came across this blog.
    I am just overwhelmed by seeing the amount of efforts these climbers put in to achieve their goal....
    It is really a tough job to accomplish. "Tough" is an understatement though.
    People like me wants to climb Everest but I somehow know that it is not possible.... I am not so physically strong.... Climbing peaks fascinates me but there are few things in life which one knows that its not his cup of tea....
    This is really a great Blog.
    I appreciate the Blogger with the information provided here....
    Unprofessional climbers like me cannot understand the amount of energy and effort required here but to see the dead bodies left along the way up tells us all.....
    RIP to all the bodies up there....

    ReplyDelete
  121. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  122. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  123. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  124. Fantastic response! Wish all the above posters took the time (or had the intelligence or maturity) to write a response as calm, thoughtful and balanced as yours.

    ReplyDelete
  125. "So-called climate change"? So do you believe we were riding around on dinosaurs 6000 years ago too, like the 'creationists' do? Are you really such a moron or do you just play one on the internet?

    ReplyDelete
  126. Good but irrelevant argument. You don't have to shed a tear for someone in order to help them. If a murderer walks into a hospital with a gunshot wound, the doctors there are still obliged to treat him, even if they think he's a monster. You don't get to pick and choose who lives or dies based on whether you like someone or not. That's something an extremely immature person would do.

    ReplyDelete
  127. So, are you claiming that the 40 people who passed David Sharp actually stopped to think and make the "brutal calculation"? If yes, what's your evidence for that? If no, how is your point, though good, relevant to what happened to Sharp?

    ReplyDelete
  128. First of all, you can never feel too much sympathy for a fellow human being - unless you're not human yourself. Secondly, you don't have to sympathize with someone to attempt to help them. As someone else said in a post here, a doctor is still obliged to treat a murdered, a firefighter is still obliged to rescue a gang member from a burning building, a policeman is still obliged to investigate a crime against another criminal. You might think what David Sharp did was moronic, selfish, immature and thoughtless - but that still doesn't absolve you of the obligation to help him.

    ReplyDelete
  129. Well said my friend...

    ReplyDelete
  130. Another climate change denying fool. And no, people who think that climate change is one of the most serious problems facing humankind (i.e. people who are educated and rational) do not think that committing murder or suicide is a solution to it. But expect a misinformed, self-righteous moron to know what educated people think...

    ReplyDelete
  131. Well, as you said yourself, you're a sociopath. 'Nuff said.

    ReplyDelete
  132. This is really interesting to read comments below this article (I can't read them all and stop to the middle, there were just to much).

    There is people who believe in montaining spirit and bear the consequences, and those who believe in the fact that human life is more important than a summit (and also that climbing is stupid).
    This is probably strange but for me, both are right.

    Climbers believe in something than others can't understand. They choose this as a goal in life and other that doesn't choose can't blame them for that. Nowadays, people tend to have "normal goals" like have a family, professionnaly succeed... You can't blame a person to choose a different goal, even if you don't understand their choice. They choose it and you can't interfer with it, they CHOOSE it.

    Other people follow normality and have others more common choice of life. You can't blame them who don't understand how someone can leave a person who is still alive on a certain death. They don't understand because it's their spirit of life, they always live like that and they never knew something else.
    Their reaction is logical, you can try to explain but sometimes they can't understand. And in the same way they can't understand how you could have leave a person still alive.

    ReplyDelete
  133. Idiot.

    -(non chauvinistic) Man

    ReplyDelete
  134. Idiot.

    -(non chauvinistic) Male

    ReplyDelete
  135. i think the article said it is george mallory - been there since 1924

    ReplyDelete
  136. America's death zones hits If this is the state of our nation during relative peacetime and perceived prosperity, imagine what it’ll look like in the midst of financial, economic or political turmoil. Americans living east of the Mississippi River will likely experience the brunt of it. But anyone residing in and around any major U.S. city will, likewise, have a tough road ahead of them. So for want to know more about America's death zones hits being with us....

    ReplyDelete
  137. I wonder if the climbers who pass by a person or corpse that they would in any other context assist, or at least honour, miss an opportunity to experience a different, perhaps more meaningful, adventure. They also take a small but heavy gift they will have to carry for a lifetime: that they chose the summit that day.

    ReplyDelete
  138. they can't stop for the dying. didn't you read what temperatures and how exact they need to be to continue on the path and get there as fast as they can. their oxygen levels deplete faster than they can breathe, so they suffocate. when someone actually tried to move a body (picture it being alive) they fell to their deaths. you have to be extremely skilled, ONE small mistake they to will die and remain in frozen in time in the mountain. the question is whether they are caught up in their own goals and aspirations to help someone, but whether they would be willing to accept their own deaths as a consequence for helping the other. ONE out of ten die on this mission, your odds are higher trying to carry a hurt climber down the mountain. so would you be willing to die for someone else? would you?!?! how can you answer that question without being in that predicament yourself. don't judge other peoples actions especially when their lives are on stake and you don't understand the torture and hallucinations they are going through just to survive. going up that mountain you accept that you might die...and the people who did probably understood that they couldn't hold someone else back just to comfort them in their dying last breaths if it meant claiming their lives as well. don't be stupid.

    ReplyDelete
  139. If you stop you die. Simple as that. So the question is, would you stop to comfort someone and know that you are going to die right beside them?

    ReplyDelete
  140. Thanks - that's exactly what I have contemplated without being able to articulate it. I get that sometimes rescuing people could be too dangerous, and I understand that you can't always help someone or stay with them, but I don't get how so many people who might have been able to help did not even stop to think if there was any way at all they could help.

    ReplyDelete
  141. In fifty + years this is the first I have heard of this when I read through the article all I could think was how tragic. Also how do the families of the dead feel about other tampers using their dead family members as landmarks

    ReplyDelete
  142. Wow, 2013 and I just found this. Thanks for writing this up, it answered a lot of questions I had. This guy who climbed Everest visited my school half a year ago in the England, but I was too quiet to ask him all these questions, so this was helpful.

    ReplyDelete
  143. You are not in average physical shape. Yes, effects of elevation could begin to be felt at 11000, but having breaks every 200 ft? Gimme a break. You are in a bad shape, bro, work on your cardio.

    The highest I climbed was 14000, during winter, and with 35kg backpacks.

    You are making too many wrong assumptions here. People can get airlifted from BC, even from C-2. Getting people down just a couple of hundred meters could be sufficient for them to begin functioning on their own. Could be not, but who knows.

    There fixed ropes everywhere on Everest. People fall only due to negligence or when they get disoriented.

    ReplyDelete
  144. They struggle for their life of their own accord. It's the devil's playground.

    ReplyDelete
  145. When you fill out the paperwork for a permit to climb there is a form that asks what you want to happen if you die. The three choices are "left on the mountain", "Brought down (if possible) and cremated" and "brought down (if possible) and returned home". There is a HUGE cost (something like $30,000) to be brought down and cremated and to be brought down and returned home is around $50,000.

    Whose to say that David Sharp didn't want to remain on the mountain? I honestly can't think of a better way to die than chasing my dreams and who cares what happens to the shell once I'm gone. If my family wants to visit where I am, they can go to Everest and wave.....

    ReplyDelete
  146. Ranjit Mukherji 16 June 2013
    During climb the only companion you have is your Willpower and nothing else,it is a place where mind rules over the body,so you survive by your mind not your body.

    ReplyDelete
  147. The last photo is not Peter Boardman as claimed by a couple of people above. The photo was taken by Neal Beidleman in 1996 and appears on the back cover of some editions of Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air. Beidleman was a guide on Scott Fischer’s Mountain Madness team that climbed Everest via the South Col route. He went nowhere near the North East Ridge where Boardman's body lies. In addition, the clothing and the position and appearance of the body do not match published accounts.

    For more information, see the Talk page of the Wikipedia article on Boardman.

    ReplyDelete
  148. That was my thought as well. I couldn't not see myself walking past a dying person, with no sympathy, not offering help, or demanding that everyone turn around and save that person's life. One life is far more valuable than 40 making the achievement of summiting. I guess I will never climb Everest and will never know what goes through those climbers heads.

    ReplyDelete
  149. That is the body German female climber Hannelore Schmatz. She is no longer the waymarker for that spot, since Monsoon winds blew her off the mountain years ago.

    ReplyDelete
  150. That is actually German climber Hannelore Schmatz, who died on Oct. 2, 1979.

    ReplyDelete
  151. To stop to help someone in situations like that is suicide. At that point, it would be impossible for the person to get to safety in time before freezing to death, and it would only put those attempting to help them at danger as well. It's sad, and extremely hard to comprehend, but people don't abandon others on Everest to reach their goals, they do it because to help them means death for both.

    ReplyDelete
  152. I read somewhere that without the right rescue equipment it is incredible difficult to rescue someone and on top of the rescuer runs a much higher risk of death. I cant speak to the moral side though.

    ReplyDelete
  153. Well said Anonymous. These people who do not put much value on life will one day be very sorry from what I've been taught.

    ReplyDelete
  154. Having toyed with the idea of this climb recently, reading your article in absolute awe I have decided I am scrubbing this off the bucket list without looking back, and with total respect for any mad-man desperate enough to risk their all to do this! Brilliant read!

    ReplyDelete
  155. We are human beings, the mythology of abandoning others is just to five comfort to those who do it

    ReplyDelete
  156. The sad thing is that all they can do is leave them behind. In order to help them they would need roughly 2x energy to carry them back/assist them on decent. And at that time they can barely support themselves.
    It boils down to this: they can try to help them and they both die, or leave them behind and one person lives :/

    Of course this happens at higher altitudes, climbers are humans if someone has accident etc at lower levels they will be help. Furthermore every attempt is monitored (regular radio communication), and if they left someone behind (especially their own team) while they were capable of help, then they will be reported and charged (by whatever climbing association is overseeing their attempt).

    ReplyDelete
  157. Have you ever tried to carry a grown man? Difficult, if not impossible, even in the best conditions. There is zero possibility of rescuing someone up at the summit. Everest isn't a place to prove your humanity, it is a place to prove your survival instincts.

    ReplyDelete
  158. A very informative post, well written.

    There are comments saying how difficult it would be to recover bodies and I don't doubt that. But has anyone given any thought to using balloons to automate the descent? Could one not package up artefacts, rubbish and perhaps corpses, attach them to balloons with lifting gas (hydrogen or helium). With a radio beacon on the payload they could be recovered later at safer altitudes?

    While balloon travel being dangerous for humans, it might not be an issue for non-living objects. Helium is common because it is safer for human transit, but hydrogen is a great, cheap, efficient lifting gas. Extra cylinders would need to be carried up, perhaps by relay(?), granted this wouldn't be easy but the trip down would be *much* safer without any 'baggage'.

    ReplyDelete
  159. A lot of people that are not fit to climb Everest attempt to climb it.

    The moral issue is complex, why should you put your life in danger because of the stupidity of someone else?

    And don't sit on your couch and think it is like helping someone who has fallen down in the street. There is a reason they call it the death zone, it's hard to keep yourself alive, let alone try to save someone else.

    ReplyDelete
  160. People are insane for wanting to climb Mount Everest at all. It has been heavily traversed enough to remove all of the glamor and merit that might be conferred upon them by something this risky, and the natural beauty that is inherent to mountains is marred by the things described in this article, as well as litter including but not limited to perfectly preserved human waste. Why do it at all? Nothing desirable awaits you at the top, and you'd be lucky to escape with all your extremities present and accounted for, even if your heart's desire in whatever form that might take could be obtained through this asinine trek. If you feel the need to risk your life, at least do it for a good reason.

    ReplyDelete
  161. Lindsay, what you aren't understanding is that NOTHING CAN BE DONE TO HELP. What do you think you would do to help?? Carry the person?? Its called the Death Zone for a reason. If you lose orientation you die. Period. People have tried to urge others to get up and move down the mountain but it never works. Once someone has cerebral edema and can't think clearly they're dead. Period. Nothing can be done to help.

    ReplyDelete
  162. Boring and same pics from all over the internet also the copy/paste from other websites.. Not original writing.. Plagiarize much ?

    ReplyDelete
  163. Well said. Some people here read up on the Death Zone and figure it's impossible to save someone. That's simply not true. These cold hearted, selfish, self centered, narcissists will have you believe that, but it's not true. They get "summit fever" and will do anything to reach the summit and say they conquered Everest. Their only interest is self glory.

    ReplyDelete
  164. Thanks. Enjoyed both article and comments.

    ReplyDelete
  165. None of those examples have anything to do with a bunch of wealthy tourists spending tens of thousands of dollars to haul themselves to the top of a mountain and buy themselves a sense of false heroism. Here's another Lindsey agreeing with the first.

    ReplyDelete
  166. Thanks for some other excellent article. The place else may just
    anybody get that kind of info in such a perfect method of writing?
    I have a presentation next week, and I'm on the look for such information.

    Also visit my web blog - miracle garcinia supplement

    ReplyDelete
  167. No. Passing by dead bodies, ok. It's grim, but nothing can be done for them anymore.

    Refusing to help those in trouble, not ok. Help the poor soul and turn around if need be. No sporting achievement should be obtained at the price of life.

    ReplyDelete
  168. I agree with your sentiments about not being able to walk past a dying person, but that's because I'll never climb Everest, so it's relatively easy for me to say it. Being on a treacherous mountain where your own survival is at stake and knowing that you in all probability cannot help someone, then maybe it is best to try and focus on getting to the summit and back down safely.

    ReplyDelete
  169. "Whether you reach the top, or perish trying, everyone is remembered for attempting something truly remarkable in terms of physical achievement and human spirit."

    Actually no. Normal people will just think that they are stupid to risk their lives for nothing like they do. It is called "applied Darwinism"... the stupid tend to die by their own stupidity. Who survives from the Everest is just as stupid, just luckier... they survived... but since they are stupid they will probably die in a different way doing something even dumbest.

    So no. You won't be remembered in any mythological story. You will just die there or survive by chance. You will just waste your (only) life for nothing at all. Who died on the Everest got nothing beside death. Nothing beside the premature end of their own life. Who managed to survive risked their life for a couple of cool pics to put on facebook. Very smart indeed.

    Said that... your life, your rules, who cares... i certainly don't.

    ReplyDelete
  170. Easily the stupidest comment thread I've ever read outside of YouTube. Packed end-to-end with roaringly sanctimonious, horrendously ignorant, faux-humanist, socialist keyboard jockeys. May each and every one of you die agonizingly in a fucking fire.

    ReplyDelete
  171. There's two factors that lead into leaving people in the death zone of Everest to die.

    One is that you're literally not thinking strait, the effects of altitude are not good on your thinking process, even if you're using bottled oxygen I believe, the effects of this 'tunnel vision' is part of the reason that major decisions ( like turnaround times ) are made from base camp. Base camp can't accurately judge a rescue attempt though.

    Secondly rescuing even mildly incapacitated climbers up there is extremely difficult and only really doable by a minority of climbers fit enough to have the leeway to manage that sort of feat. A 2006 rescue required a dozen sherpas to get the climber down the mountain and one of the strongest climbers of his time and certainly the strongest on the mountain, Anatoli Boukreev managed to save 3 climbers who were already close to camp 4 in 1996 before exhaustion took him and these climbers were within 200m of the camp, the idea of getting someone down who isn't able to get themselves down requires a quality of climber that just isn't found very often.

    As to why they do it, Anatoli also sheds light on this:

    "Mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals where I practice my religion."

    ReplyDelete
  172. After reading your artices i will definitively be much more impressed by someone telling me he/she saved someone when climbing the everest than by someone having reached the summit... It seems much more difficult unfortunetly. I stay below 3000m. I am still hoping it does not happen the same at 0m meaning on the sea. Good luck to all.

    ReplyDelete
  173. Hey Lindsey,
    best keeping your sea level cack out of something you know nothing of. You probably haven´t even ascended a step up nor even your BF/ GF.
    Go and try it before passing comment.

    Pffff
    CG

    ReplyDelete
  174. Max of the micro-penis

    ReplyDelete
  175. Very well put Sarah.

    ReplyDelete