A bare-bones climber within 1045 feet (550 meters) of the summit of Mt. Everest was rescued after falling ill to altitude sickness and being left to die.

The Nepalese woman, Usha, was rescued by an American guide, David Hahn, and sherpa Phinjo Dorje, who found the climber accidentally on their way back down. The incident recalls last year’s death of British climber David Sharp.

She was at a similar altitude to the cave where Sharp died on May 15, 2006, after an estimated 40 climbers passed him by, most of them without making any attempt to save him. His death sparked an international controversy, with some arguing that a rescue would have cost more lives. Others, including Sir Edmund Hillary, condemned the cynicism of commercial mountaineers.

Such drama underscores the high traffic and high danger in climbing the highest mountain in the world.

The Rescue on Everest Trust is an interesting effort to build a sustainable rescue service for climbers:

The Mission: to design, build and operate a self-funding unmanned rescue helicopter service for the extreme altitude regions of Negal.

The effort is supported by Peter Hillary and Mark Inglis. Inglis is the first double amputee to reach the Everest summit.

[cehwiedel also writes at cehwiedel.com]

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