Appalling… maybe this is why I don’t pay much attention to the news:
Climbing enthusiasts will join Mt. Everest pioneer Sir Edmund Hillary in condemning climbers who left a British mountaineer to die during their own attempts on the worldâ€™s tallest peak. In an act of appalling indifference, more than 40 climbers reportedly filed past David Sharp as he lay dying without oxygen on the way down from the summit during a solo climb last week.
The latest case is British David Sharp. David vanished on his summit bid last week, and the only reason the world knew was thanks to a blog entry by his team mate Vitor Negrete. Vitor dispatched that David had died, and reported 3 more climbers missing on the mountain. He was distraught by the situation, including the fact that his high camp had been robbed. â€œAll these events have affected me deeply â€“ I even considered calling the attempt off,â€ he said. The next day, Vitor was dead.
David Sharp, 34, was still alive at 28,000 feet. Double amputee Mark Inglis, told the news source: “He was in a very poor condition, near death. We talked about [what to do for him] for quite a lot at the time and it was a very hard decision. About 40 people passed him that day, and no one else helped him apart from our expedition. Our Sherpas (guides) gave him oxygen. He wasn’t a member of our expedition, he was a member of another, far less professional one.”
Mallory’s famous line, “Because it’s there,” always struck me as a little arch, fake on the face of it. I’ve spent enough time in the Sierras and on other mountain sides to have a different answer: “Because you’re not there.” For me there is no finer get-away than a ramble in the mountains. And I always thought the folks I ran into on the trails up there would help me if I was in a jam, as I would help them. Quasi-technical climbers, these summit tourists, must be a different breed though, a new age breed. The fact that forty could pass a dying man without giving up “their summit” to help him speaks volumes.
(Thanks to Shelley Powers for the reference point.)