Ethics on the way to the summit…

I was once told by a colleague they’d been in a brilliant session on business ethics and that they’d had to work through this huge dilemma: you’re close to the summit of Everest – it is all you’ve ever wanted to do – when you come across a fellow climber that is injured and can go no further, do you step over them knowing they will die before you return or do you give up on your dream to save a life and help the climber down? He then proceeded to begin to tell me the process they’d gone through and I cut him off: “that’s not even a dilemma, it’s a millisecond decision making process”.

What I cannot believe is that this supposed dilemma is apparently actually a real dilemma. In this “summiting season”, when ten climbers have already died, it took a bloke called David O’Brien from the UK to save the life of a Polish climber who had been abandoned by his own team because they were so close to the summit.  They had left him to die. O’Brien’s team forfeited their own chance to get to the top of Everest surely to climb a far greater summit of their own.

Can anyone explain to me what utter animal anyone would have to be to leave a fellow human, a colleague that was part of the team that had enabled them to experience all that they had thus far experienced on the ascent, to then leave them to die just to get to the top – just to see the view from the top. How could you see anything other than a dead person’s face every time you thought about that day you reached the summit?

Take a bow Mr David O’Brien and your team and I very much hope you get to experience the intended summit next year. As for the other team, surely all they needed to remember was that saying about treating those you encounter on the way up the right way, because you might need them on the way down…when will their downward spiral end?