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Thread: Left to die at the top of the world

  1. #1
    Soutie Langeveldt's Avatar
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    Everest - A moral dilemma

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/5016536.stm

    Interesting article on how a double amputee left a dying man on the slopes of Everest because he could see there was no way of the guy surviving the descent.. He's come in for a lot of harsh criticism.. Personally Im right behind his decision, don't have a problem with making a rational decision, and it was quite obviously harrowing for the 'oke.. After all, had he tried to save the dieing mountaineer, they could both have quite easily perished..

    thoughts?
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  2. #2
    C_C
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    If a person can be saved by abandoning the climb then that is the right thing to do.
    I can understand the hazards associated with mountain climbing and sometimes a person cannot be saved.
    But if giving the guy a bottle of oxygen and helping him down means abandoning the quest and people are unwilling to do that then i wouldnt have much problem if those very same people got swept off the slopes during their climb.

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    Cricket Web Owner James's Avatar
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    It's very big news in New Zealand for obvious reasons.

    This basically sums it all up, and any respect I had for Inglis is now gone. Sir Edmund is probably the most respected New Zealander of all time and I'm sideing with him.

    Their decision not to abandon the summit bid and try to save Sharp drew strong criticism from Sir Edmund Hillary, who said they should have abandoned their climb and tried to save him.

    Sir Edmund with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay were the first men to reach the summit of Everest as part of a British expedition in May, 1953.

    "It was wrong if there was a man suffering altitude problems and was huddled under a rock, just to lift your hat, say `good morning' and pass on by," Sir Edmund said today.

    Sir Edmund said the 1953 British team would have abandoned their summit bid if another climber's life had been in danger on the mountain.

    Everest has claimed at least 150 lives.

    "I think it was the responsibility of every human being. Human life is far more important than just getting to the top of a mountain.

    "My expedition would never for a moment have left one of the members or a group of members just lie there and die while they plugged on towards the summit."

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    Cricket Web Owner James's Avatar
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    Lots of thoughts from Kiwis here - http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,...7a4621,00.html


  5. #5
    Cricket Web Owner James's Avatar
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    I agree with this comment totally:

    Mark Inglis is certainly a very brave individual with an adventurous spirit and the iron will to follow his dream. However, as a man who lost his own legs in an incident on a mountain side in Australia, he should have been the first to stop and offer help to a fellow climber.

    Mr Inglis's own life was saved because of the brave actions of one man who struggled through a very dangerous landscape to find help for him, yet he couldn't do the same for a fellow climber on the world's highest mountain? The fact the British man was left there to die alone is completely appalling and, for me at least, destroys any respect I had for Mr Inglis' achievements.
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    Mark Inglis should be ashamed. He is not a hero, or even worth praise. His in-action in this crisis has painted him as a selfish man, more concerned with his own personal triumph, than that of a fellow human being. It is disgraceful conduct from someone who is representing New Zealand overseas. He is a coward.
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    State Captain Chubb's Avatar
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    Joe Simpson, famous of course for Touching the Void, in his book The Beckoning Silence condemned a group of Japanese climbers who left several Indians to die on Everest- they just walked straight past them. They had said that "At 8000 metres morality changes". Simpson said that if that's the case then you shouldn't go there.

    I don't know, this kind of judgement call is impossible to make. In those conditions, they probably made the right choice, but they could have handled it more compassionately- one of them could have stayed with him. Maybe they ought to have put him out of his misery. Since there was no chance of him surviving, it comes down to a stay or carry on rather than trying to save him.
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    C_C
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    I don't know, this kind of judgement call is impossible to make. In those conditions, they probably made the right choice, but they could have handled it more compassionately- one of them could have stayed with him. Maybe they ought to have put him out of his misery. Since there was no chance of him surviving, it comes down to a stay or carry on rather than trying to save him.
    _
    I doubt this version of events.
    For one, climbers carry more than one ice pick or pair of gloves.
    They could've easily given up the quest, pitched tent ( which they carry with them), set up a few kerosine burners ( which is what they carry to heat water or frozen food), warmed the guy ( he was not frost-bitten or suffering from Edema from what i've read- and that means he is savable) and climbed back down with him.
    But instead, they just chose to continue with their desire to summit Everest.
    Not on in my books.

  8. #8
    Cricket Web Owner James's Avatar
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    Mark Inglis will forever be remembered as the person who put climbing a mountain ahead of human life.

    It doesn't matter what he does now.

  9. #9
    C_C
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    Quote Originally Posted by James
    Mark Inglis will forever be remembered as the person who put climbing a mountain ahead of human life.

    It doesn't matter what he does now.
    Yup. Though i wonder, why is Mark Inglis being mentioned alone ? Was he the leader of the group ? For as far as i am aware, groups summiting peaks either have a 'drumhead democracy' or a clear heirarchy of command structure. If Inglis was part of a group that had an all-encompassing leader, then it wasnt his call.

  10. #10
    Hall of Fame Member Smudge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James
    Mark Inglis will forever be remembered as the person who put climbing a mountain ahead of human life.

    It doesn't matter what he does now.
    Ridiculous, James.

    For starters, Inglis was NOT the leader of the expedition. Therefore, it was not his call whether to leave the man for dead or not.
    Secondly, the agreed assessment was there was nothing they could do for the man.

    And it seems strange you didn't feel it necessary to offer Inglis' right of reply - published in your very own Dom Post.

    Inglis hits back at Sir Ed
    25 May 2006
    By CHALPAT SONTI AND NZPA

    Mark Inglis says he is gutted to be criticised by Sir Edmund Hillary for not abandoning his successful climb of Mt Everest to help a dying British climber.


    Sir Edmund has said Inglis, a double amputee, and about 40 others on the mountain at the time, were wrong to leave David Sharp to die last week.

    "I think Mark Inglis was a bit crazy. He put in a great battle to reach the summit, but I don't approve of the fact (that) he just rang up base camp and said `Well someone is up here, lying under a rock. What do I do about it?'," Sir Edmund told Close Up last night.

    "The head of the expedition said, `Oh he's been there long enough now, he'll be dead. Don't worry about it.' That attitude to me is pathetic."

    Sharp, who was climbing alone, died after becoming ill on the way back from the summit. He took shelter under a rock 300 metres below the summit. He was the seventh climber to die on Everest this season.

    Inglis was one of the first men to reach him, and radioed expedition leader Russell Brice for advice. Brice decided nothing could be done to save him and the team continued.

    Sir Edmund, the first man to reach the summit of Mt Everest, said he would have abandoned his climb had he come across anyone so ill on the mountain that has claimed about 150 lives.

    "I think it was the responsibility of every human being. Human life is far more important than just getting to the top of a mountain.

    He said his expedition would "never for a moment" have let one of the members or a group of members just lie there and die while they plugged on.

    But Inglis said yesterday that Sir Edmund did not have all the facts.


    "I really did nothing at all to help David because I wasn't in a position to. Some of our Sherpas and other team members were far more qualified and capable and did what they could, but to no avail.

    "There were simple facts that determined whether someone was going to live or not. We had those facts, and they were facts that I'm sure Sir Edmund didn't have, and no one else did."

    Inglis felt the criticism had dulled the gloss of his team's achievement. "You stick your hand up to do something and you get put in a situation where you cop criticism. If I hadn't have stuck my hand up and (had) come back quietly without saying anything . . . you bring it upon yourself. Anyone who knows me knows I wouldn't walk past someone who needed help.

    "A good analogy is that if someone standing on a bridge fell into the Huka Falls, would you jump in after them? At 8500m it's phenomenally difficult just to keep yourself alive."

    The mountain was "littered" with bodies of those left to their fate.

    Sir Edmund declined to comment further when contacted by The Dominion Post yesterday.

    Inglis will arrive back in New Zealand today
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3678980a10,00.html
    Last edited by Smudge; 25-05-2006 at 05:14 PM.

  11. #11
    Cricket Web Owner James's Avatar
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    So they:

    a) How could Brice who wasn't even with them tell whether he could be saved or not?
    b) Not his call whether to leave him for dead or not? It was his personal choice IMO, and we don't always agree/listen to our bosses do we? Wasn't Inglis the actual leader on the mountain anyway?

    Hillary's comments are perfectly fair IMO.

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    Whatever we say or do will change nothing, and no censure is necessary.

    The people who climbed on have to live with themselves for the rest of their lives.
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  13. #13
    Hall of Fame Member Smudge's Avatar
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    Wasn't Inglis the actual leader on the mountain anyway?
    No he wasn't.


    This is worth a read, by the way...

    http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2006/s1647075.htm

  14. #14
    Cricket Web Owner James's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Voltman
    No he wasn't.


    This is worth a read, by the way...

    http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2006/s1647075.htm
    Very interesting Matt....cheers.

  15. #15
    International Regular 16 tins of Spam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C_C
    I doubt this version of events.
    For one, climbers carry more than one ice pick or pair of gloves.
    They could've easily given up the quest, pitched tent ( which they carry with them), set up a few kerosine burners ( which is what they carry to heat water or frozen food), warmed the guy ( he was not frost-bitten or suffering from Edema from what i've read- and that means he is savable) and climbed back down with him.
    But instead, they just chose to continue with their desire to summit Everest.
    Not on in my books.
    No they couldn't. What planet are you on? At 8500m you need oxygen to survive, and they had limited supplies of it. Your suggestion that they just sit there, pitch a tent, brew a cup of tea and wait for him to magically get better (when anecdotal evidence suggests he was pretty much dead already) is ridiculous.

    Also, this suggestion that they could have carried the guy back to safety is crazy too - I'd love to see any of you try it at that altitude - or at sea level for that matter.

    The fact is, Inglis was one of a party of 40. He wasn't the first to reach the dying climber, and he wasn't the leader. Why all this criticism is being placed directed solely at him is beyond me.

    From what I've read, the man was beyond help. While some of the party should ideally have stayed behind to comfort him as he died, it would have made no sense for all 40 to have given up, especially considering that they were so close to the summit, that they couldn't rely on the ideal weather continuing indefinitely, and that an attempt on Everest takes a huge commitment of time and money - it's not as if they could have simply tried again tomorrow.
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