Congratulations Mark Ingles!
Controversy abounds in the adventure industry at the moment. Everyone has an opinion, everyone a point of view. The thought of stepping over a dying man to get to the top of a mountain seems totally abhorrent and it is; to callously walk away from someone in desperate need for what, a spectacular view or a feather in your cap of achievements. Well as uncomfortable as it makes you feel from the comfort of your living room I am sure anyone who has the tenacity and courage to take on Everest, to willingly walk into the aptly named ‘Death Zone’ are not those that would turn quickly from someone in need. Regardless of right or wrong, regardless of the possibilities of survival or not, regardless of who was in charge and who was not, the choice to leave David Sharp on the mountain would not be one that could be made with ease. In hindsight there maybe a few sleepless nights of what might have been but in all honesty I do not believe that anyone, if given a simple choice of summit at the cost of this mans life, would have chosen to put a gun to the mans head and pull the trigger. Yet in a horrendously self-righteous manner it is easy for us to point the finger of accusation. Mark Ingles, who I have spoken to but do not know personally, has been sensationally eaten alive by the media. As he waits in hospital today to have the last of his frost bitten fingers removed he is defenceless against the mass of sensational press laid against him. Ingles and his team did what they could in the conditions and as with all good teams did what the designated leader, the expert, told them to do. I briefly spoke with Mark today and I genuinely felt sorry for him, the man has lost his legs, lost his fingers and no doubt completely lost his faith in the media and many in the adventure community. Mark, you have overcome more adversity than most people would see in several lifetimes, you have achieved more than most able-bodied individuals and I have no doubt that you will bounce back from this, I guess it is more of a personal mountain to overcome this time than a physical one, yet I have no doubts you will tackle it head on with your normal level of determination. Mark, congratulations on a superb achievement, the conquering of Everest. It saddens us that your overwhelming accomplishment and sacrifice has been overshadowed by the tragedy of another climber. It is our hope it will be remembered for its success not its distorted sensationalism.