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Hillary blasts Everest climbers

May 27, 2006 at 8:35 PM   |   Comments

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, May 27 (UPI) -- The rescue this week of an Australian climber near the top of Mount Everest has raised new questions about climbers who walked past a dying British engineer.

David Sharp, one of at least 10 people to die this year on Everest, was making a solo attempt. Like Lincoln Hall -- the climber who survived this week after being left for dead by other climbers -- Sharp survived a night in the open after collapsing on his way down from the summit.

Sir Edmund Hillary, who made the first ascent of Everest in 1953 with Tenzing Norgay, said in an interview last week with Television New Zealand that his expedition "would never have left a man under a rock" to die.

"It would have been a disaster from our point of view," Hillary said. "I don't think it matters a damn if he was from another party, if he was Swiss or from Timbuktu or whatever. He was a human being, and we would regard it as our duty to get him back to safety."

Another New Zealander, Dr. Jan Arnold -- whose husband, Rob Hall, died near the summit in 1996 -- had a different take. She told a television interviewer that climbers should not be blamed for failing to abandon their summit attempts. She said bringing a disabled climber down from the "death zone" above 8,000 meters is unlikely.

© 2006 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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