chucklesthescot's Reviews > Dark Summit: The Extraordinary True Story of Everest's Most Controversial Season

Dark Summit by Nick Heil
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's review
Jan 14, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: asian, travel, true, mountain-disaster, 5-star-reads

2006 became one of the most deadly years in Everest history. David Sharp, a British climber, died on his own while other climbers walked past him, sparking a debate about morality on the mountain. A week later a second climber was left for dead but Lincoln Hall did survive. This book looks at this deadly season of climbing.

OK, I have very strong views on this story, having read and watched plenty about it. It is always sad to read about death on the mountains but David Sharp chose to climb alone with no oxygen and no Sherpa support. He was an experienced climber, fully aware of the risks and that if he hit trouble, he would die. It was a risk that he was prepared to take and that was his decision to make. I do not think that others should be blamed for their actions on that day.

Look at the evidence. When the first climbers reached David, he was already unable to move or assist himself. He was high up the mountain and had already passed several vertical climbs and dangerous technical sections-sections which expert climbers say are impossible to negotiate with an injured man unable to at least stand or assist his rescuers, never mind a semi-conscious one. The Sherpas indicated that this man was too far gone to be saved. If the Sherpas with the climbers who passed David had stopped to concentrate on him, they would have left all their clients in danger as they continued the climb with less than the required support. If entire teams had stopped for a long and futile rescue, they would put themselves in danger of running out of oxygen. A Sherpa or a guide has a responsibility to their team first. David Sharp signed up with a 'team' that took his money and then provided no real support which is why they are cheap. To see what happened look at these documentaries 'Everest-Beyond the Limit' and 'Dying for Everest'.

Don't get me wrong, there are some times when you must try a rescue but it has to be a realistic chance of success. Lincoln Hall only survived because he was able to get moving, something that allowed rescuers to assist him down the mountain. Though if what he said about the Sherpa is true, it sounds more like that man was intent on killing him.

Mountain climbing is dangerous and can be deadly. If you sign up to a proper escorted team with full backup, you know that if something goes wrong, you have a better chance of rescue BEFORE you get to the condition David Sharp was in. If you choose to go alone with no support, you are taking your chances.


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Reading Progress

January 14, 2011 – Shelved
January 14, 2011 – Shelved as: asian
January 14, 2011 – Shelved as: travel
January 14, 2011 – Shelved as: true
January 24, 2011 – Started Reading
January 25, 2011 –
page 69
22.7% "Good start...I do love these books!"
January 26, 2011 –
page 125
41.12% "Enjoyed reading the history of previous expeditions"
January 27, 2011 – Finished Reading
October 29, 2011 – Shelved as: mountain-disaster
September 1, 2012 – Shelved as: 5-star-reads

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