Saturday, May 27, 2006

No rescue for David Sharp

David Sharp from the UK has died on Everest. I the climberswalked past him while he was still alive and did not help including disabled climber from NZ Mark Inglis.

New Zealand’s most trusted individual Sir Edmund Hilary:
"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.
"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 the British climbing expedition he was part of when he became the first man in the world to step on to the summit of Mt Everest in 1953, would have stopped to help.
"Every single member of my expedition who got into any sort of trouble . . . the whole effort of the expedition would have been turned to getting him to safety and that is the way it should be."

Dingle cuts to the chase
Mountaineer Graham Dingle firmly believed that climbers should at least try and help a fellow mountaineer in trouble, providing the circumstances were right.
Dingle told Newstalk ZB mountaineers needed to know what kind of condition the climber was in.
If he was close to death and close to the summit there was probably very little that could be done.
He agreed with other climbers that the tradition of always helping a fellow mountaineer in trouble was being overtaken by ambition and the large sums of money tied up in any climb up Everest.

I think that as soon as someone else’s life is at risk "reaching the summit" becomes a very low moral priority (rather like not helping a person who is shot because you have to get to work).

Inglis says David was so incredibly frostbitten . He was completely rigid ... just a small flicker of the eyes ... which has been indicated by a high-altitude doctor that it's more reactive. He was effectively dead.
and as far as this is a fair representation (ie him being effecively dead), maybe inglis did the right thing (in as far as he didn't try to drag the body down to the botom of the mountain) - but In general I would say the moral burden of proof falls upon the climbers. It is too easy just to say "oh he was probably going to die anyway", after all if you don’t help him he is dead AND there is something to be said for providing some comfort to a dying man anyway.

Logix and others raises some great questions

[while] it is quite unfair to pin all the blame on the least capable of the 40 climbers on Everest that day. Yet many will reflect that others took risks to rescue him off Aorangi when he had been trapped for 2 weeks many years ago. And Hillary is is morally repugnant to abandon your companions in peril while there is the least chance to help them. it begs the question, if humanity has to be set aside in order to conqueor Everest, what then is the glory in it?

Clearly survival is possible and climbers saw David in various states , from standing and walking, to trying to work on his oxygen system, to at one point down on the ground. David was clearly descending the mountain apparently from the Summit...

By the time Inglis saw him probably it was too late but life seems cheep up the top of everest.

Also I find it a bit revolting when some people say "only a mountaineer can judge this". I think that is a "cop out" or an attempt to deflect critique when you have no other defense. You might as well run around saying only a drunk driver can judge drunk driving. I dont suggest one would want to punish Mark for what he did - but (depending on the facts of the situation, I accept there may well have been no point) to point out that he might have done better is what ethics is all about.


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