Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A sad, incredible, and altruistic story

If you have read Into Thin Air, you already know this story. It's about Rob Hall, a mountaineer who climbed Mt. Everest many times. In 1996 he made his last climb. He was the expedition leader for that climb and actually made it to the summit, which is an incredibly amazing feat on its own. On the way down, a terrible storm struck the mountain. He could have been perfectly fine, but he left the camp in the middle of the storm to try to rescue his fellow climbers. The problem was that the people he tried to rescue were already dead from hypothermia. He was stuck in the middle of a freezing, terrible blizzard. Incredibly, Rob Hall found the bodies of those he was looking for, but it was too late for them. He realized that it would be near impossible for him to find his way back. He radioed back to camp and told them his predicament. The camp patched his radio signal through a satellite signal all the way to Australia to speak with his pregnant wife. Can you imagine that? A man talking on the radio from the top of Mt. Everest all the way to his wife in Australia. And his wife was due in 2 months. After their heart-wrenching conversation, Rob Hall huddled into the snow to slow down the loss of heat. He unhooked the metal spikes from his shoes to prevent any more heat loss. And then he waited to die. That night was one of the worst storms recorded on Mt. Everest. His body was found a few days later by the crew that filmed the Everest IMAX movie.

The thing I keep thinking about is that Rob Hall didn't have to die. He chose to go out in the storm because he wanted to rescue his friends.

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