BBC NEWS | ‘Dead’ Everest man safe at camp

Posted: May 27, 2006 in Uncategorized

Dozens of people have perished attempting to scale Everest

An Australian man left for dead as he descended Mount Everest has left the “death zone” near the summit and has spoken by phone to his relieved wife.

Lincoln Hall, 50, was left behind by his Sherpas on Thursday after he began hallucinating and refused to move.

But he was found alive on Friday, and rescuers have now accompanied him down to a camp at about 6,400m (21,000ft).

He was helped down the mountain by 11 Sherpas and is being treated for frostbite and swelling on the brain.

Mr Hall was said to have suffered the swelling, known as a brain edema, as a result of altitude sickness while close to the summit.

He does not remember trying to descend the mountain or his time alone on Everest, according to Duncan Chesswell, a friend and fellow climber not currently in Nepal.


He’s in reasonably good condition but he doesn’t have much memory of things at this stage
Duncan Chesswell

“He’s in reasonably good condition but he doesn’t have much memory of things at this stage,” Mr Chesswell said.

Another friend, Simon Balderstone, told Australia’s Associated Press that Mr Hall spoke briefly to his wife, telling her he had suffered bad frostbite while exposed on the mountain.

She reportedly replied by telling her husband she would love him even if he lost all his fingers.

Tea and oxygen

Mr Hall, an experienced climber, reached the summit on Thursday.

Another member of the climb, German Thomas Weber, died shortly before reaching the summit, according to a statement issued by expedition leader Alexander Abramov.

During the descent Mr Hall became weak and despite hours of effort and the Sherpas were told by their expedition leader to leave him behind, Mr Chessell said, speaking in Australia.

Mr Abramov’s statement said Mr Hall had died as he descended.

But on Friday, an American climber – Dan Mazur – came across Mr Hall and found he had survived the night, at more than 8,000m (24,000ft).

After giving him hot tea and oxygen, a radio call was made to Mr Abramov, who ordered an urgent rescue mission.

At least 10 deaths have been reported on Everest this season, close to the record of 12 during the 1996 spring climbing season.

Mr Hall’s rescue has provided a bright spot days after a successful summiteer admitted that dozens of climbers aiming for the top had passed by a stricken British climber who soon afterwards died, our correspondent adds.

New Zealander Mark Inglis’ decision not to help British climber David Sharp has sparked an ongoing debate about climbing ethics.


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