Friday, May 26, 2006

Lincoln Hall dies on the Mother of the Universe

It's with a very heavy heart that I report the death of an old friend, Lincoln Hall, 50, who died yesterday on his descent from the summit of Qomolangma ('Mother of the Universe') -- Mount Everest.

Lincoln, father of two sons, was a member of the first Australian expedition to reach the summit of Qomolangma, Mt Everest, but on that 1984 expedition, he himself only got within a few metres of the top. If there is any good to come out of this terrible news, it is that Lincoln did in fact reach the summit this time, and perhaps if he had to choose a place to depart this world, I might assume it would be on the roof of the world.

Lincoln Hall was one of Nature's gentlemen. I have met few people for whom I felt more admiration and with whom a greater sense of fellowship. He was a strong, handsome man and highly intelligent, yet sensitive and gentle, and surprisingly humble and softly spoken. I loved the way this Australian hero would respond to a question or statement with "Quite", like an old-fashioned English gent, and I admired the innate humility that seemed to exude from his every word. If I felt a lesser man than him, it was not of Lincoln's doing.

Lincoln did an exclusive interview with His Holiness The Dalai Lama for 'Simply Living', a magazine I was editing in the mid-'80s, and (I think in the same issue) he also gave me a scoop story about how the Chinese were testing nuclear submarines in a lake in Tibet. Lincoln recounted to me that he had seen, from high up on Mt Everest, what he believed to have been a nuclear explosion in Chinese territory -- he presumed he had seen an above-ground testing of a nuclear bomb.

It was Lincoln who told me the Tibetan name for the great mountain, Qomolangma.

I was, as you might guess, very fond of this man. Occasionally we helped each other out -- he might see me when he needed a hand with something, and sometimes I would ask him for help on a certain project. I have no idea how he felt about that, nor about me, but I do know how I felt -- I was always delighted to see him and supremely honoured to have him in my home. Like your almanackist, he was a writer and novelist, so I believe we 'clicked' (despite my total lack of athletic prowess) and I felt a special bond with him. As I said, he seemed to me one of the best men I have ever met, so I deeply regret his tragic and untimely death.

'Vale', Lincoln Hall. I'm glad it was on Qomolangma.

Australian Lincoln Hall among three fatalities at Mount Everest

"Hall reached the summit of the world's highest mountain on May 25 with a team including Thomas Weber (Weber) from Germany and guide Harry Kikstra from Holland ... "
Australian Lincoln Hall dies on Everest

Thomas Weber and Lincoln Hall lost, Abramov confirms Mounteverest.net
Top Aussie climber dies on Everest :: Everest claims another life
The Age :: Independent Online

Tales from the grave: Rescues on Altitude
Everest claims lives of two more climbers Radio New Zealand
First Everest, now climber must tackle Hillary

Stop Press!: 'Sydney Morning Herald' reports Lincoln Hall 'still alive'!!?

Everest rescue underway for Australian
"A dramatic rescue operation is underway in the hope of saving the life of an Australian climber given up for dead on Mount Everest.

"Lincoln Hall, 50, and one of Australia's leading climbers, was reported by a Russian expedition leader to have died on Thursday while descending from the summit of the world's highest mountain.

"Friends in Australia mourned Hall after Russian Alexander Abramov declared on Everest news websites that the climber's death 'was verified', and was probably due to cerebral edema.

"However, the reports were thrown into confusion on Friday by a new website posting by Australian climber and Everest summiteer Duncan Chessell, who said a climber had found Hall alive and set in train a rescue operation.

"'Lincoln Hall is still alive,' Chessell said on a DCXP/Project Himalaya team website in a report headlined 'Lincoln Hall still alive after one night out'.

"Chessell said he had been told by radio that Hall, of Blackheath west of Sydney, was being helped down the mountain by Russian team Sherpas and had been gaining in strength.

"'This is perhaps the most dramatic rescue on the mountain,' Chessell said on the website."
The Age

Update (9.30 AM Saturday, May 27):
Climber 'conscious but disoriented'
Friend confirms Lincoln Hall's alive
This will be the last update placed on this post. We'll be keeping an eye on the news and keeping our fingers crossed.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Carol said...

How did this turn out? Is the wonderful man still alive? I will be praying that he is!

4:40 PM  
Blogger Pip said...

Yes, Carol, he's very much alive! See http://wilsonsalmanac.blogspot.com/2006/05/lincoln-hall-first-pictures-after.html

7:46 AM  

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