Farewell Lincoln Hall Everest Survivor

Mt Everest couldn’t take him but sadly cancer did.

Lincoln Hall was an Australian adventurer and mountain climber who conquered Mt Everest and then almost died near the summit of the mountain above 28,000 feet. After scaling the summit, and whilst making his way down the mountain he became gravely ill from oxygen deprivation. His guides helped him initially then left to save their own lives.

American guide Daniel Mazur, together with two other climbers and a Sherpa guide were just two hours from the 29,035-foot peak on the morning of May 26, 2006 when they came across Hall, who had been left alone a day earlier.

Not only was it a surprise to see Hall alive, it was the state he was in when found. Hall was sitting on the mountain, his feet over a precipice, without gloves, hat, oxygen bottles or sleeping bag at sunrise.

The words Lincoln Hall uttered to Mazur perfectly summed up the man: “I imagine you are surprised to see me here.”

By this stage, his family had been told that he’d perished on the mountain, but they were pleasantly surprised when told that he had survived a night on the mountain above 28,000 feet, the only person ever to do so.

There were many medical complications from his night in the death zones, including the removal of most of his fingers due to frostbite.

Lincoln Hall wrote a book of his experience, and I was fortunate enough to be able to meet him when I organised for him to be interviewed at the radio station for which I work.

I was even more fortunate to be able to sit with Lincoln and have a good conversation with him, and I found him to be a profoundly spiritual and humble man who, despite his injuries, was determined to get on with life.

Ironically, Lincoln Hall almost met his death on Mt Everest 22 years after helping two of his friends reach the summit during the first successful Australian attempt to climb Everest. He had gone back to Everest to try to climb the mountain just one more time.

He was a founding member of the Australian Himalayan Foundation and in 1987 Lincoln Hall was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for his services to mountaineering.

Of his miraculous survival Hall said that he had to return for the sake of his family.

Lincoln Hall died from mesothelioma and he will be sorely missed.

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