REUTERS NEWS (May 25, 2006) Mount Everest pioneer Sir Edmund Hillary said Wednesday he was shocked that dozens of climbers left a British mountaineer to die during their own attempts on the world’s tallest peak. David Sharp, 34, died apparently of oxygen deficiency while descending from the summit during a solo climb last week. More than 40 climbers are thought to have seen him as he lay dying, and almost all continued to the summit without offering assistance. "Human life is far more important than just getting to the top of a mountain," Hillary was quoted as saying in an interview with New Zealand Press Association.
New Zealander Mark Inglis, who became the first double amputee to reach the mountain’s summit on prosthetic legs, told Television New Zealand that his party stopped during its May 15 summit push and found Sharp close to death. Several parties reported seeing Sharp in varying states of health and working on his oxygen equipment on the day of his death. Inglis, who was due to arrive back in New Zealand on Thursday, said Sharp had no oxygen when he was found. He said there was virtually no hope that Sharp could have been carried to safety from his position about 1,000 feet short of the 29,035-foot summit, inside the low-oxygen "death zone" of the mountain straddling the Nepal-China border. His own party was able to render only limited assistance and had to put the safety of its own members first, Inglis said Wednesday. "I walked past David but only because there were far more experienced and effective people than myself to help him," Inglis said. "It was a phenomenally extreme environment; it was an incredibly cold day." The temperature was minus 100 at 7 a.m. on the summit, he said.
Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953 became the first mountaineer to reach Everest’s summit. Hillary said in an interview published Wednesday in a New Zealand newspaper that some climbers today did not care about the welfare of others. "There have been a number of occasions when people have been neglected and left to die and I don’t regard this as a correct philosophy," he told the Otago Daily Times. "I think the whole attitude toward climbing Mount Everest has become rather horrifying. The people just want to get to the top," he told the newspaper. "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," he said. He said that his 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."
More than 1,500 climbers have reached the summit of Mount Everest in the last 53 years and some 190 have died trying.
Related Sermon Illustrations
Contributed by Paul Fritz on Jul 28, 2002
LOOKING BACK, LOOKING FORWARD Hudson Taylor founder of China Inland Mission) used to hang in his home a plaque with two Hebrew Words on it: EBENEZER & JEHOVAH JIREH. The first word means ‘Hitherto hath the Lord helped us’ and the second, ‘The Lord will see to it or provide.’ One looked back ...read more
What God Says PRO
Contributed by Paul Decker on Dec 1, 2002
WHAT GOD SAYS In the Spring of 1924, Jack Sundine was a four-year-old kid, standing in a line with his father inside the White House, waiting to meet President Calvin Coolidge. As they neared him, Jack noticed that he said something to each visitor as they shook hands. Soon, the thrilling ...read more
Contributed by Paul Fritz on Jul 30, 2002
Peter T. Forsythe was right when he said, "The first duty of every soul is to find not its freedom but its Master". Warren W. Wiersbe, The ...read more
Contributed by Paul Wallace on Sep 14, 2004
Howard Hendricks tells of a mentor who changed his life in his book Iron sharpens Iron. Howard was from a broken family, and said, "I could have lived, died and gone to hell without anyone bothering to care." However, a man named Walt from a tiny church in his neighborhood cared about reaching nine ...read more
Contributed by Earl Graston on Jul 7, 2005
In the fall of the year, Linda, a young woman, was traveling alone up the rutted and rugged highway from Alberta to the Yukon. Linda didn’t know you don’t travel to Whitehorse alone in a rundown Honda Civic, so she set off where only four-wheel drives normally venture. The first evening she found a ...read more