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See You at the Top

Yisrael Rutman

Fascinating facts and suspenseful tales about mountains — and the people who climb them. Mountains are the ultimate metaphor for any challenge you might face. See you at the top!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

 Mishpacha image

 

T

he Greatest Sacrifice

Nadav Ben-Yehuda was 24 years old when he attempted to fulfill his dream of becoming the youngest Israeli to climb Mount Everest. In the summer of 2012, he was only 9,000 feet from the top when he saw a man sprawled lifelessly on an icy ridge. He recognized the man: It was Aydin Irmak, a Turkish-New Yorker, whom he had met further down the mountain.

Ben-Yehuda did not hesitate to stop climbing in order to save Irmak’s life. Afterward, he recalled: “If I had continued climbing, (Irmak) would have died for certain. Other climbers just passed him by and didn’t lift a finger, but I had no second thoughts. I knew that I had to save him.”

He lifted Irmak on his shoulders and carried him for eight hours back down to the nearest camp. And he did it without gloves, which he took off because they got in the way of the rescue process, and without oxygen, after his mask broke.

“You don’t feel it straight away,” he said, “but you’re about to faint all the time.”

The two made it back alive, though suffering from faces and fingers blackened by frostbite.

When Ben-Yehuda was asked if he intended to try climbing Everest again, he answered without hesitating: “Yes. I do want to see the view from the top.”

 

Why Climb?

Mountain climbing is hard work and sometimes dangerous. Besides the view, there’s often nothing much there at the top. So why bother?

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This question has been answered in a number of ways. The most famous answer was given by George Mallory, one of the first to try climbing Everest. When he was asked why he wanted to attempt such a difficult and dangerous thing, he answered, “Because it’s there.” He was attracted to the challenge of getting to a place that nobody else had ever been able to get to before.

Climbers also talk about how the experience makes you a better person. It teaches persistence, because sometimes you get so tired you just want to give up, but to succeed you have to keep going. It teaches patience, because you can’t get to the top in one leap, you have to go step by step. You experience gratitude — for making it back in one piece! And, of course, you gain appreciation for nature’s beauty.

People have found more practical purposes, too. Astronomers mount telescopes in high places, above clouds and the glare of city lights and pollution, to get a clearer look at the stars. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 716)

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