In 2012, 24-year-old Israeli climber Nadav Ben-Yehuda, who was 300 meters from the summit of Everest, gave up his dream of conquering the planet’s highest peak in order to save an injured Turkish climber.
Ben-Yehuda described the incident as follows: “I passed two fresh corpses. The corpses were fresh, because they were the bodies of people on the same ropes along which I climbed, realizing that they were dying and not having the strength to move, people did not crawl away, but buckled up, and fell into a coma and died, those who continued to move stepped over them.
When I saw him, I recognized him. It was Aydin Irmak (Turkey), we met him in the camp. He was unconscious, he had no gloves, no oxygen, no crampons, his helmet was off. He was waiting for the end. Other climbers walked past him without lifting a finger, but I knew that if I passed by, he would surely die. I knew I should have at least tried to save him.
Aidin and I started the descent, it lasted 9 hours. It was very difficult to carry him because he was heavy. From time to time he regained consciousness, but then turned off again. When he came to, he screamed in pain and this made our descent even more difficult. Very slowly, but we descended, but at some point my oxygen mask broke, a little while later we met a climber from Malaysia, who was also on his last legs. It became clear that it was completely impossible to go further. I yelled at the climbers I met going up and demanded some oxygen for the two wounded, some responded … ”
They reached the camp, were evacuated by helicopter to Kathmandu, and were hospitalized. Everyone got frostbite, Nadav Ben-Yehuda suffered severe frostbite on his fingers as he was forced to take off his gloves during the rescue operation.
“I was faced with a choice – to be the youngest Israeli to climb Everest, which would be great for my career, or to try to take a climber off the mountain – I chose the second option and I managed to do it … Thanks to everyone who helped me in preparation and taught me, which gave me enough strength to go down the mountain myself and pull down the one in need of help “