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Another Everest Horror Story

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Postby rob runkle » Mon May 28, 2007 11:59 am

g wrote:Amazingly, she suffered only frost bite on two fingers and several toes. She claims her Sherpa and team leader abandoned her. She's only 22.


I'll add to my thoughts by saying that this abandonment by her TEAM is CRAP, and totally unacceptable. There are circumstances where this is reasonable, and even necessary, but in this case, it doesn't sound like it. Part of her assumptions when accepting this challenge was that she could rely on her TEAM.

Rob

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Re: Another Everest Horror Story

Postby tmahon » Mon May 28, 2007 12:06 pm

the story has more in common with the lincoln hall rescue than the david sharp death, don't you think?

two things being ignored here:

she didn't die, rather she was rescued by other climbers.

nowhere did i read that she was actually 'left for dead' or was passed up by others refusing help. it sounds quite the opposite.

leave it to fox to turn it into a david sharp anniversary story, it actually has a happy ending.
people on this forum should be able to filter through that kind of news a little better.

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Couldnt agree more

Postby Wes » Mon May 28, 2007 12:24 pm

Totally disagree with Rob on this.
Granted that Everest is insanely difficult, and many people risk a lot to climb this mountain, I don't see ANY excuse for leaving somebody to die. You stated that this girl should not have taken the risk of climbing Everest. So are you implying that if you were to happen to injure yourself climbing on a 14er, it would not only be ok, but expected for others to pass by you because of your carelessness? I think not. Everest is in no way compared to any 14er in Colorado, and many people climbing are not on their last breaths as you stated. But to leave someone dying on a mountain when you are able to help is not only cowardice but shows how selfish you really are. I find it far more rewarding to save anothers life than to climb a mountain. It really shows where your priorities are in life.
I understand the risk people take and how much they put on the line to climb Everest, but like "g" wrote, we all take risks every day, why should this be any different. I don't recall seeing any firefighters sit and watch in "9-11" because they were afraid of their own lives.

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Postby rob runkle » Mon May 28, 2007 12:49 pm

g wrote:Sure there's risk. Life is full of risks. By doing nothing, you pretty much guarantee a 0% chance that the victim will live. By taking an unknown risk, you increase their chances of survival. No offense, but doing nothing because there MIGHT be an increased risk to one's self is cowardice. As they say, a coward dies a thousand deaths, a hero but one...

OTOH, I recently completed ARC's first aid and CPR and one of the things they teach you is to not make yourself a victim also. So for that burning house, you gotta figure out the odds. On Everest, stopping alongside the trail to check out a fellow climber seems like it has really low odds of harm to one's own self, yet really high odds of death to the fallen if nobody helps. A single climber likely won't be able to rescue another climber, but if they radio others...


I hear what you are saying. I guess the difference with the way that we see it is, "...how we see the level of risk to others." In my mind, I see this risk to oneself as VERY VERY high; equivalent to my analogy of a burning house. I've been in very high exhaustion conditions myself. And, in that state, my mind is only on my own survival.

If I felt strong, and no risk to myself, then no doubt I would help. Without a seconds thought. But, if I was having problems just getting myself down, then it would be foolish to even think about adding extra burden. On Everest, I'd hazard to guess that not too many people are coming down with reserve energy to expend. Do you think?

My strongest feeling about this whole thing is that you cannot judge the situation until you've been there. And, very few people have actually been there. But, plenty seem to have something to say about it!

Rob
Last edited by rob runkle on Mon May 28, 2007 1:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Another Everest Horror Story

Postby tmahon » Mon May 28, 2007 12:57 pm

sorry, to be clear my comment was in regard to other 'passers by'.

still, is it a tragedy? hardly. they should praise the rescuers as they have and then figure out what went wrong.

before your find this guide and sherpa guilty from your computer i'd rather wait to hear more of the story to try to get a bettter picture. maybe the guide is a creep, i've heard plenty of bad things about the smaller, budget trips but i have never heard of a sherpa leaving someone for dead, i also know firsthand that communication is difficult and misunderstandings common up there so i have to believe her recollection of events, after being brought out of unconsciousness, might not be complete. sorry if thats harsh to the victim but there might be 2 sides to the story with the truth lying somewhere in the middle

the one similarity to david sharp is that the members involved haven't told their side yet everyone feels OK to render decision on what went down. i'll wait before i hand down a verdict

g wrote:
tmahon wrote:the story has more in common with the lincoln hall rescue than the david sharp death, don't you think?

two things being ignored here:

she didn't die, rather she was rescued by other climbers.

nowhere did i read that she was actually 'left for dead' or was passed up by others refusing help. it sounds quite the opposite.

leave it to fox to turn it into a david sharp anniversary story, it actually has a happy ending.
people on this forum should be able to filter through that kind of news a little better.

The woman herself said she was left for dead, by her own Sherpa and team leader.

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Re: Couldnt agree more

Postby rob runkle » Mon May 28, 2007 1:07 pm

Wes wrote:Totally disagree with Rob on this.
Granted that Everest is insanely difficult, and many people risk a lot to climb this mountain, I don't see ANY excuse for leaving somebody to die. You stated that this girl should not have taken the risk of climbing Everest. So are you implying that if you were to happen to injure yourself climbing on a 14er, it would not only be ok, but expected for others to pass by you because of your carelessness? I think not.

Wes, If you can't see the difference between Everest and a 14er, then you are completely missing the point... Never once have I felt like my life would have been at risk on a 14er, in such a way that I'd have passed someone on the trail. Heck, last year I chased my $50 camera after a tumble down Wetterhorn. The side trip took me down unknown terrain, and at least 30 minutes out of my way. But, I didn't feel like there was any risk. The value of a life is worth a whole heck of a lot more than that camera. Your insinuation is just insulting...
Wes wrote: Everest is in no way compared to any 14er in Colorado, and many people climbing are not on their last breaths as you stated.

Then why use that as an analogy???
Wes wrote:But to leave someone dying on a mountain when you are able to help is not only cowardice but shows how selfish you really are. I find it far more rewarding to save anothers life than to climb a mountain. It really shows where your priorities are in life.

I highlighted (bolded) the crux of this disagreement... Having never been on Everest, do you really think that you know that you "would be able to help?"
FYI! I agree with this statement (of yours) 100%.
Wes wrote:I understand the risk people take and how much they put on the line to climb Everest, but like "g" wrote, we all take risks every day, why should this be any different. I don't recall seeing any firefighters sit and watch in "9-11" because they were afraid of their own lives.

There was no way to truely evaluate the risk during 9-11. Going up into a burning building, with the correct amount of training should have been normal, and they definitely had the skills and the ability to make things better. A building coming down on top of them was not part of the equation. Once the first building came down, do you think that they were still going UP into the second building?

Another bad analogy on your part...

Rob

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Postby tmahon » Mon May 28, 2007 1:15 pm

rob runkle wrote:
My strongest feeling about this whole thing is that you cannot judge the situation until you've been there. And, very few people have actually been there. But, plenty seem to have something to say about it!

Rob


yes rob.

a lot could have transpired that isn't being reported and perhaps never will. in simple terms- she remembers having difficulty, then doesnt remember anything, and suddenly she was being rescued by people other than her guide. she puts it all together as best she can and then it gets out to the internet and this is what you get.

in a week maybe we'll hear more. maybe she was told to turn back but wouldn't, maybe she was descending and passed out, maybe she was left for dead by her sherpa. i can wait to hear b/c she's alive, thats really the most important thing.

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not at all

Postby Wes » Mon May 28, 2007 1:37 pm

I do not find these bad analogies at all. Im sorry they do not measure up to your standards. I said that Everest does not compare to a 14er, that is not the point. The point is the act of being passed up for help. I find it ludicrous that this woman was passed up by her guide when they continued UP the mountain. It was not said that they were descending and passed her up. This implies that they were more than capable of helping if they continued on.

The thing you fail to see Rob is that the difference between a 14er and Everest has a lot to do with the point, its the actions taken within the facts. I do not find you comments insulting, nor did I find mine. Im sorry you are insecure enough to find them that way.

Regarding your comment about the 9-11 buildings. I find it funny that you regard going into a collapsing building as "normal", considering their training. Sorry, not a bad analogy on my part. Just like that incident, being on a mountain is not predictable. Both circumstances involve risk and consequences for that risk. I find nothing normal about training for a 9-11 incident. They had no idea what was going to happen while in there, they just did the best they could. Much like Everest. What upset me was your intent to defend the people that left her behind. We don't know her experience and that may have contributed to it. Regardless, she was left while they continued on, implying that they were of good health.


This all makes very good sense, I just find it disheartening what has happened.

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Postby rob runkle » Mon May 28, 2007 2:39 pm

What upset me was your intent to defend the people that left her behind. We don't know her experience and that may have contributed to it.

We don't know her experience, I agree. ALSO, we don't know the circumstances of the event. Or, maybe you were there?

I don't see how we can condemn ANYONE, when we weren't there? It's easy to do from your computer chair.

FYI! I never defended the idea of any of her TEAM members leaving her behind. On the contrary, I already posted my opinion about that.

From above:
rob runkle wrote:I'll add to my thoughts by saying that this abandonment by her TEAM is CRAP, and totally unacceptable. There are circumstances where this is reasonable, and even necessary, but in this case, it doesn't sound like it. Part of her assumptions when accepting this challenge was that she could rely on her TEAM.


I defended the potential that others may have to pass by a fallen climber, when they might not be in a position to help without condeming themselves.

Wes wrote:I find it funny that you regard going into a collapsing building as "normal", considering their training.

Hmmmm?!?! Actually, I said, "...a burning building..." And, yea, that would be normal-ish for a Fireman! The idea that the buildings might come down was uncomprehensible at that point in time. Otherwise, I guarantee you that they wouldn't have been going up into the building.

Rob
Last edited by rob runkle on Mon May 28, 2007 2:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby ddunlap » Mon May 28, 2007 2:42 pm

rob runkle wrote:...Everyone else on the mountain is also on their last threads of life. Why should they have to give away their life breaths to help this person. Amazing that they could, and it lifts my heart. But, it should NOT be assumed, or expect...


While some of your subsequent post reveal more, I still have to disagree with your general premise.

While that philosophy may be easy to rationalize in the short term (getting off the mountain), take a minute and think about it over the longer term.

After the incident is over, and life gets back to normal, how will you feel? Will you be ok with the fact that you (if you were close) passed someone by who was ‘in bad shape’, and didn't do anything to help. It's one thing to have to live with the fact that a bad event happened on your climb, but I'd think that living with the regret of not trying to help would be much worse.

I understand the nature of the environment and the routes on Everest, and I'm not advocating to attempt a rescue when it WILL cost other lives, but I find the thought of leaving someone in that condition or passing by (without an attempt), reprehensible.

You may only be able to move the victim a portion of the way/to a safer location (and radio in) or you may only be able to stabilize him/her, but to do NOTHING???...

I don’t know if other passed her by (while this has happened to others who have died on Everest), but it does appear that she was left. For dead?, probably not. But if you get left (at all) in that condition, in that environment, it may well be a death sentence.

See the following article for more info on the rescue:

http://www.mounteverest.net/news.php?news=16010

While the ethics of these situations are good to talk about, it indicates a larger problem that is occurring on many levels in mountaineering. That problem is a lack of preparation, not just in a gear sense or a physical sense, but in a mental sense also.

I feel fortunate that, as a Boy Scout, I had the motto ‘Be Prepared’ drilled into me for nearly a decade. Personally, I think that an important part of that motto is being mentally prepared, and part of that mental preparation is understanding the ethics involved in your activities and accepting the inherent responsibilities.

Here’s what some groups have to say about it:
Boy Scouts / Oath – “…To help other people at all times;…”
AMGA / Code of Ethics – “A Guide's prime concern is always the care and well being of his/her client.”
National Park Service / “A Climbing Ethic…” – “…Accept responsibility for yourself and others,…”
King’s College Mountaineering Club / Code of Practice – “It is the responsibility of anybody participating in mountaineering activities to look after their own safety and the safety of those participating with them.”

I don’t see any ambiguity here, only excuses.
"...Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference." -Frost

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Postby rob runkle » Mon May 28, 2007 2:52 pm

ddunlap wrote:While that philosophy may be easy to rationalize in the short term (getting off the mountain), take a minute and think about it over the longer term.

After the incident is over, and life gets back to normal, how will you feel? Will you be ok with the fact that you (if you were close) passed someone by who was ‘in bad shape’, and didn't do anything to help. It's one thing to have to live with the fact that a bad event happened on your climb, but I'd think that living with the regret of not trying to help would be much worse.


Before I even finish reading you "novel", errr, I mean post, I have to say that I emphatically AGREE with this point. It would suck to have to LIVE with that feeling; no matter the circumstances. But, we have to continue to go forward. Questioning our actions, or the actions of others, when the pressure of the events is no longer a factor is just wrong.

Rob

Now back to reading the posting...

***

Okay done.

I agree with everything that you say. My point is not that we pass by and refuse to help. Far from it. My point is that we cannot judge the actions of others, without knowing exactly what condition they were in themselves. And, argueably, the condition of most on the summit day descent from Everest is probably not great.

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Postby Two Headed Boy » Mon May 28, 2007 3:47 pm

rob - I will give you one example. David Sharp was passed by nearly 40 people before he died. not just 40 people coming down but also going on to the summit. Instead of helping David and abandoning there summit bid they abandoned a human life and went on. I think that if you have that little value for human life you have no buisness being on a mountain like that. At any rate I wouldn't climb with anyone who thinks successful summit bids are more important than anything else.

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