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OTHERS > Israeli man gives up quest to reach Everest summit to save Turkish climber

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AFP file photo

AFP file photo

An Israeli mountaineer abandoned his climb to the summit of Mount Everest, 300 meters away from the peak, in order to help an injured Turkish climber.

Had he chosen to complete his ascent, 24-year-old Nadav Ben-Yahuda would have become the youngest Israeli to reach Everest’s summit, the Jerusalem Post reported on its website.

Ben-Yahuda said he and his Sherpa guide saw a friend he had made at the base camp, 46-year-old Turkish-New Yorker Aydın Irmak, lying unconcsious on an icy ridge during the climb. “When we saw my friend Aydın there was no question,” Ben-Yahuda said as reported by Sharon Udasin of Jerusalem Post.

Ben-Yahuda lifted Irmak over his shoulder and began an eight-hour descend to Camp IV, without gloves and an oxygen mask as his had broken earlier. 

The minus 40 degree Celcius cold left severe burns on both men's faces and Ben-Yahuda's ungloved fingers suffered frostbite and may need to be amputated, he said. The men eventually reached Camp IV and were evacuated by a helicopter.

Irmak said he had started his climb one day before Ben-Yahuda and had reached the summit, where he stayed for five or six minutes before he began his descent down the mountain. 

“I started walking and walking and walking,” he said. “I don’t know how long I walked. It of course was dark and I was out of oxygen. Then I needed to stop. I don’t remember [what happened then].”
 
"The only think I remember is Nadav’s voice. ‘Aydın, Aydın, are you there brother? Can you move your legs?’ When I woke up there were four dead bodies around me,” Irmak said. “I believe I almost died. Nadav saved my life.”

The two men had struck up a friendship the moment they met at base camp and, according to Irmak, had formed a "brother relationship."

“I don’t know what the hell is going on between the two countries. I don’t care about that. I talked to [Ben-Yahuda's] family today and I told them you have another family in Turkey and America,” Irmak was quoted as saying.

May/24/2012

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