Every once in a while a story comes around that reaffirms your faith in humanity. And no doubt, this story from ynetnews will do just that.
Professional mountain climber Nadav Ben-Yehuda journeyed to Nepal with the hopes of fulfilling his life-long dream of earning the title of the youngest Israeli mountain climber to conquer the Everest summit. He quickly changed plans, however, just 300 meters from the summit, when he saw a Turkish climber lying unconscious on the ground – and decided to rescue him:
This climbing season, Mother Nature was unkind, causing massive snow storms and avalanches that claimed the lives of at least six people so far… “Throughout the route, I kept seeing bodies of dead climbers,” he recalled. But Ben-Yehuda was focused on his goal, and knew that at the rate he was going he could reach the peak as early as sunrise.
Then, only 300 meters before reaching the coveted destination, Ben-Yehuda spotted Aydin Irmak, a Turkish climber whom he met at camp, sprawled unconscious on the icy ridge.
“People passed him by and didn’t do a thing. I didn’t think for a second about politics – the fact that he was Turkish and I was Israeli. I also didn’t think about the glory. All I thought about is that I can save this person – and that’s what I did,” Ben-Yehuda noted.
Ben-Yehuda attached the man, Irmak, to his harness, and began the painful descent to the closest base. The journey down the mountain took nearly ten hours. Along the way Ben-Yehuda suffered from severe frostbite in his fingers, which may now have to be amputated and end his career as a professional mountain climber.
“I faced a choice – to be the youngest Israeli to ascent the Everest summit, which would have been good for my career, or to take the climber off the mountain and save his life. I picked the second option.”
Expressing his gratitude, Irmak said:
“If Nadav wasn’t there, I would have died on the mountain. It was a miracle. I remember falling down. I woke up with Nadav standing over me and shouting my name. Nadav did a great thing. He built a bridge between Turkey and Israel, and our leaders can learn a lot from him. Politics doesn’t matter much, what matters is human nature.”
Ben-Yehuda’s parents couldn’t be more proud and credit his military service in the IDF for instilling in him the value “a friend in need comes first.”