"Lincoln Hall just walked into Advanced Base Camp on Mount Everest in reasonably good health," reports Duncan and Jamie. Image of ABC courtesy of 7-summitsclub.com (click to enlarge).
Lincoln Hall (far right) was accompanying teenager Chris Harris (2nd left), who hoped to become the youngest Everest summiteer. When Chris called his attempt off, Lincoln felt strong and decided to give the summit a try. Image of the team in BC courtesy of AustralianYoungAdventurers.com (click to enlarge)
Last night, Lincoln was met by expedition doctor Andrey Selivanov (image) who had prepared a makeshift hospital tent in the high camp (7000 m). Lincoln remained in critical condition, but on a question regarding the outlook, the doctor said, "We shall overcome!". Image courtesy of 7-summitsclub.com (click to enlarge).<br><br>
Return to Thick Air: Lincoln walks into Everest ABC
Posted: May 27, 2006 06:47 am EDT
Yesterday, Alex Abramov reported that Lincoln Hall would be descending to ABC, 6400 meters by late morning today. Climbers spotted Lincoln in camp at around 2 pm local time. Duncan Chessel got the call from Jamie McGuinness in ABC, "Duncan your Australian mountaineering compatriot (Lincoln Hall) is down at ABC, having walked down pretty much on his own, looking good doesn't have much memory of anything at all but other wise looking quite healthy, ABC out for the Project Himalaya/DCXP Everest team."
"No view is worth that price"
"Though I shall never see the summit panorama other than through the eyes and hearts of Tim and Greg, I know that no view is worth that price," wrote Lincoln in his book White Limbo after he turned back at 8300m with cold feet in 1984, as a member in the first Australian expedition to summit Mount Everest following a new route across the North face and Norton Couloir in light style without oxygen.
22 years later though, the pull of the summit became too strong.
This year Lincoln Hall, 50, was accompanying teenager Chris Harris, who hoped to become the youngest Everest summiteer. When Chris called his attempt off, Lincoln felt strong and decided to give the summit a try.
According to reports from expedition leader Alexander Abramov, the following events next took place:
On May 25 Lincoln departed C3 at 8300 meters in clear weather with Harry Kikstra, visually challenged climber Thomas Weber and five Sherpas.
Becoming completely blind on ascent, at 8800 meters, only 50 meters below the summit, Thomas was turned back at 9.15 am by Harry and two Sherpas. 3 hours later, at 12:20 pm, Thomas had a collapse on the Second step (8700 m). He said, "I am dying" and lost consciousness. At 12:40 pm death was verified.
Above them meanwhile, another emergency unfolded.
Lincoln declared dead at 7:20 pm
Lincoln had reached the summit at 9 am in good speed and made an upbeat radio call from the top. But within an hour, Lincoln was moving slowly and losing his coordination. He descended to 8800 meters by 10 am, and 30 minutes later, Lincoln sat down in the snow, unable to move on his own.
For 9 hours, three Sherpas tried to ferry Lincoln down, but managed only to lower him 100 meters. He lost consciousness after 6 hours and 3 hours later, the Sherpas declared Lincoln dead at 7:20 pm (local time) on May 25. After he reportedly had showed no signs of life for hours, Lincoln was left at the same point (second step 8700 m) where Thomas Weber had died 7 hours before.
In darkness, their oxygen supplies exhausted and developing snow blindness, the Sherpas were ordered by the expedition leader Alex Abramov to descend and save their own lives.
First Sherpas reach Lincoln next day at 11 am
12 hours later, May 26 at 7 am, climbers on summit push found Lincoln motionless in the snow, but showing weak signs of life. They gave him oxygen, tea and radioed for help. Abramov and most other expeditions immediately dispatched all available resources such as oxygen, a stretcher, and man power up the mountain to save Lincoln.
4 hours later, at 11 am, 3 Sherpas reached Lincoln at 8700 meters. They administered altitude drugs and fluids to the climber. Lincoln now began to talk, but his speech was slurry and he was very weak. The 3 Sherpas proceeded to immediately carry the climber 50 meters over a technical section until they were met by a second rescue team of 8 Sherpas.
"We shall overcome"
After a total of 11 hours of descent, and 23 hours since he had been left for dead, Lincoln and his 11 rescuers reached camp 1 at North Col (7000m) by 10 pm on May 26; Lincoln even managing the snow slope from 7500 m without assistance. Lincoln had by then spent close to 2 days in the death zone since his summit push on the early morning of May 25; and at least 12 hours of them without oxygen, exposed on Everest north ridge.
At North Col, Lincoln was met by expedition doctor Andrey Selivanov who had prepared a makeshift hospital tent in the 7000 meter high camp. Lincoln was confused, suffering acute cerebral edema and hypoxia. The doctor treated him, and examined also his hands, finding 2-3 degree frostbite. Lincoln remained in critical condition, but on a question regarding the outlook, the doctor said, "We shall overcome!". At 11 pm last night Lincoln was asleep in a warm tent, cared for by a staff of ten.
It's not the first time a climber is pronounced dead on the mountain but survives; in 1996 Beck Weathers was half-buried in snow for 14 hours at 8200 meters, Canadian climber Stuart Hutchison found what seemed like Weathers' lifeless body, assumed he had died with team mate Yasuko Namba, whose body lay nearby, and he left him for dead. Severely frostbitten and nearly blind Beck woke up somehow and started walking down by himself and ended up being saved.
In 2003 Carlos Pauner was last seen descending from the summit of Kangchenjunga on May 20th, but disappeared and never returned to Camp III, 7600m. At the time there were very high winds and low visibility.
May 22, two days after he disappeared and just when all hope was about lost, Carlos called his wife and daughter at 1800 hrs Spanish time and was nearing base camp. Two Sherpas left base camp to meet him - Carlos managed to make it down by his own power. He had spent two nights out in the open and had not drank or ate in 3 days.