Looking back now, I’m confident that we made the right decision even though it was hard to give up the ultimate goal. It was the most anticipated day of the expedition. The sun was beaming now and the ever so perfect weather was only making the summit push more enjoyable. The group was in high spirits as we became closer to our goal. The circumstances were almost too ideal and I had a premonition that things may change.
I was leading the group and all of the sudden I spotted something in the snow that stood out.Instantly, I knew it was the body of a climber. What I could not determine though, was whether or not the person was alive. I waved the group to follow me as I went to evaluate the situation. As it turns out, it was a climber who was alone and needed to be rescued.
Immediately, when this situation arose, I thought of the infamous Lincoln Hall case. When he attempted Everest in 2006, he was inflicted with high-altitude sickness and had to stop climbing. Although the Sherpas tried their best to rescue Hall, when they ran out of oxygen they had to retreat down the mountain. This left the other climbers in the group with the thought that he was dead. They made the dreaded phone call to his family and everything. Luckily, Hall was found the next day by another group of climbers. They stopped their pursuit to the summit to help him and make sure he was assisted by a group of Sherpas. This generous action saved the life of Lincoln Hall.
It was obvious that the climber was close to death and if we might not be able to save him. Other members from our group thought that we should just continue our push to the summit and help him on our way down. There wasn’t time for that. I acted as a true leader and sacrificed the summit, which was in sight, to help get him down the mountain. Although it sounds silly, but you must use the life lesson “treat others the way you want to be treated” in all aspects of life. If I were stranded in need of rescue, I’d hope that others would do the same for me.
We got the man down and ended up saving his life. While some were angry at the time, we are all in agreement that it was the right decision. The summit will always be there, while a man's life will not.