Into Thin Air

I got Into Thin Air as a christmas present and only now got along to reading it. Shouldn’t have waited! Really really good read. I’m kind of astonished at the stuff in there, I knew climbing the Everest was hard and people died but what the author and his teammates (co-clients actually) go through is kind of insane.

Two things shocked me the most here, shocked as in “woah!!” and shocked as in, “I can’t believe they did that”. First is the leaving people to die, on a number of occasions they are stuck somewhere, then decide it’s time to get back to camp, knowing the other person is still breathing, still somewhat alive, they get up and go, leaving people there to die. I know that in those conditions it’s pretty much “he’s done for and if I don’t go so am I” but still, I’m floored that people can make that decision but mostly that they can make that decision with so little information. Non-doctors saying “he looked like he wasn’t gonna last long”, “you could see he was on his last breaths”.

Then the next morning someone else comes along and… the dude is still alive! How the fuck can that happen?? He wasn’t that dead and you left him! The same “dead” guy then manages to get back to camp and they leave him alone in his tent! Where his condition gets even worse. They then leave him AGAIN to be rescued by someone else.

But, as I said, they are in an extreme situation. The outside conditions are also “extremely extreme” and their minds are not working fully because of the altitude so lets say I can let go of that one. I’m floored that the bodies are left there and they walk next to and over them going up. Let me say again; going UP. That they would leave the bodies there getting back down to save their own lives I can get. That some more people get back up there to scale the fucking mountain and not to give them some minimum of decency or get them back down is unfathomable to me.

I’m not a religious guy so my objection isn’t even for their soul or something, it’s for some respect to the dead, how can you climb right by a guy hanging upside down, dead, and just keep going up??

Around noon, Apa Sherpa, in the lead, arrived at the Hillary Step, where he encountered the body of Bruce Herrod dangling fron an old fixed rope. Clambering over the deceased British photographer, Apa, Anatoli, and the rest of the Indonesian team labored slowly toward the summit.

Whaaa?? I don’t care how frickin’ important getting up that damned mountain is to you, do something else than clambering over him!!. Nuts. Great book, well written, but those people are nuts.