The story of Beck Weathers might just change your life forever…
On the morning of May 10, 1996, Beck was making his final ascent towards the summit of Mt. Everest when he was struck with a very intense case of snow blindness. He was near the top of the highest mountain in the world and had no way of seeing where he was going. The only thing he could do was hunker down and pray for rescue.
Ominous storm clouds began to roll across the menacing peak of Everest, and Beck quickly found himself in the middle of a blizzard. The storm raged with 70mph winds as snow blasted Beck’s position on the mountain, where he was hit with a wind chill of 100 degrees below zero.
Some climbers returning from the summit happened to stumble upon Beck and began attempting to drag him down the mountain. They gave their best effort, despite whiteout conditions, but eventually the gale-force winds, lack of oxygen, and relentless storm forced the climbers to stop and huddle together to try to stay warm.
One of the climbers, Mike Groom, noticed a lull in the storm and he knew that this small window of opportunity was his only chance to go for help. He left Beck and the other four climbers, who were all nearly unconscious, to return to the high camp to get help.
A few hours later help arrived. Three of the climbers were led back to camp, but Beck and one other climber had both fallen into a hypothermic coma and were unresponsive.
The rescuers decided that there was nothing that they could do to save them because of the dangerous conditions. Beck and the other climber were left for dead.
All night long Beck lay on his back, slowly freezing to death in the extreme cold. Beck was laying only 300 yards from camp, but at that altitude and with the conditions the way they were, it might as well have been hundreds of miles. Frostbite fully set in on Beck’s nose and both of his hands.
Beck’s final resting place would be here on Everest, buried under the snow and exposed to the extremely cold, icy, windy conditions.
On the next morning, two others returned to the two dying climbers position. After chipping blocks of ice off their faces, they reported them to be breathing, but severely frostbitten and “as close to death as a human being can be”.
Once again, Beck and the other climber were left for dead. The climbers trudged back to camp to report the deaths.
But then something incredible happened. Beck Weathers opened his eyes!
Beck says he saw his wife and kids standing in front of him, calling out to him.
This was the spark that Beck needed.
Slowly dragging himself to his feet, he began stumbling forward.
Beck was completely blind in one eye, which was frozen shut, and he had a visibility range of barely two feet in the other eye. Crippled with altitude sickness, his entire body was practically frozen, yet, he continued to put one foot in front of the other.
Finally, after being left for dead twice, and against all odds, Beck Weathers crawled into camp.
Beck lost his nose and both of his hands to frostbite, but because of that tiny spark that got him moving again, he lived.
That spark saved his life.
It only takes a tiny spark to start a great fire. We all have the potential to help breathe sparks into the lives of other people in our lives.
Never underestimate the human spirit!
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