Leslie John Binns was only a kissing distance away from reaching the top of world’s highest mountain but he decided to call it off, prioritizing the life of an Indian woman, Sunita Hazra.
Hazra, however, was lucky to have slipped during her descent: she fell beside Binns, who swiftly aborted his own climb. The Briton, who lost one of his eyes during while serving in the military,quickly changed Hazra’s O2 after she was injured and damaged her oxygen supply. Reportedly, many other adventurers passed the duo, but none of them offered any kind of help, opting to continue their own voyage.
“I owe my life to him [Binns]. I could return home to see my child. What else can I say?” Hazra, a local health officer, told a local television channel from Kathmandu.
The incredible story has been widely shared across social media with both climbers and non-climbers alike heaping praises on Hazra’s endurance and Binns’s benevolence.
“Incredible. Rescuing two & cutting his dream of reaching the summit. Selfless & incredibly brave man. The mountain isn’t going anywhere, I hope he gets another crack at her soon,” wrote the well-known mountain-climber Adrian Cunliffe.
Binns himself has expressed mixed feelings, having missing out on his achievement but being able to save a life.
“Of course, I felt sad because I could not climb the summit. But I am happy that I have saved a life. I have received messages from many people. It really feels good,” Binns told the local media.
Mount Everest has a dark side: it is an open graveyard to many climbers who have perished in their attempt to reach its summit. Because of the peak's perilous conditions and dry climate, the remains of an estimated 200 climbers remain on the mountain, unburied, unrecovered and often mummified. Their corpses are often given grim nicknames such as 'Green Boots' and used by other climbers as waypoints.