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Beck Weathers Everest Survivor

by David DeFord

Seaborn Beck Weathers, a pathologist from Dallas, loves adventure. He climbed many mountains his adventure quest. He admits that in his pursuit of exploration, he seriously neglected his family.

In 1996 Weathers joined 10 other climbers on the ultimate mountain experience—Everest. Unfortunately, this trek coincided with one of the most devastating storms on record. Temperatures dipped to 60 below zero, and the wind whipped the beleaguered team at 70 miles per hour. Since 1921, Everest claimed 150 lives. On May 10, 1996, due to the storm, 8 people were killed—including four from Weather’s team--the worst day on Everest in 75 years.

In the midst of this terrible storm, a serious eye condition aggravated by the high altitude rendered him temporarily blind. As the team struggled to descend, Weathers became separated from the group. Blind, whipped by the wind, and freezing, he fell.

Dr. Weathers became fully coated with ice—even his face lay under a thick layer. Others of his party came upon him, but seeing almost no respiratory activity, they were forced to leave him and let the mountain claim him.

Beck heard their conversation and their decision to leave him, but was unable to respond.

As he lay on the side of the world’s tallest mountain, Weathers thought of his family back in Texas. He thought about his neglect of them, and his continual quest for adventure. He realized that in moments he would die and that he would never see his family again.

“This is not acceptable!” he said to himself. He decided to fight. Beck started slightly moving his fingers, then his arm. Eventually, he rose to his feet. Blind, he slowly started shuffling in the direction he thought would take him to his camp.

Miraculously, he wandered close enough to camp that his teammates saw him. They could not recognize him in his frozen state. They helped him into a tent, and treated his terribly frozen limbs and face.

The only way to get him down from the mountain was by helicopter. A rescue of this type had never been tried at such a high altitude. But a courageous pilot maneuvered the chopper onto the mountain side allowing the team to load the fading Weathers.

Both of his hands had to be amputated and he lost his nose and ears. After years of rehabilitation he has reclaimed his life. Dr. Weathers continues his pathology practice and has become a successful author and public speaker. His positive approach to adversity has inspired thousands.

In his books and speeches Beck tells others about what he has learned—and how we can apply these bits of wisdom to our lives.

First, we all must have a defining moment to initiate true change. His defining moment came on the mountainside as he realized that he was soon to perish and that he wouldn’t see his family again. Ours can come from some discomfort or realization that some unacceptable occurrence is imminent.

Second, if our purpose is strong enough, we can press toward achievement of goals. At first Weathers was unable to even respond to his rescuers. Then, his thoughts of his family spurred him to begin moving fingers, then get to his feet, and then find camp in spite of the low likelihood of success. We, too, can achieve our greatest and most difficult goals if our purpose is strong.

Third, when others would have given up, he persevered. He made it to camp where treatment and rescue could occur.

I encourage you to think of times where you have had defining moments, strong purpose, and perseverance. As you apply these traits, you can achieve most anything you desire.

I also encourage you to read Beck Weather’s account of his experiences. A link to his book, Left for Dead, follows in the Selected Resources section of this e-zine.


Related Quotes

"Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no help at all." Dale Carnegie

"Sure I am of this, that you have only to endure to conquer. You have only to persevere to save yourselves." Winston Churchill

"What we do not see, what most of us never suspect of existing, is the silent but irresistible power which comes to the rescue of those who fight on in the face of discouragement." Napoleon Hill

"When you are down on your back, if you can look up, you can get up." Les Brown

"I've come to believe that all my past failure and frustration were actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy." Anthony (Tony) Robbins


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Left for Dead : My Journey Home from Everest
by Beck Weathers
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=ordinapeoplec-20&path=tg/detail/-/0440237084/qid%3D1078453095/
“I can tell you that some force within me rejected death at the last moment and then guided me, blind and stumbling — quite literally a dead man walking — into camp and the shaky start of my return to life....”
In 1996 Beck Weathers and a climbing team pushed toward the summit of Mount Everest. Then a storm exploded on the mountain, ripping the team to shreds, forcing brave men to scratch and crawl for their lives. Rescuers who reached Weathers saw that he was dying, and left him.
Twelve hours later, the inexplicable occurred. Weathers appeared, blinded, gloveless, caked with ice — coming down the mountain as a “dead man walking.”
In this powerful memoir, Weather describes not only his escape from hypothermia and the murderous storm that killed nine climbers; he describes another journey, a life’s journey. This is the story of a man’s route to a dangerous sport and a fateful expedition, as well as the road of recovery he has traveled since.
In Left for Dead, we are witness to survival in the face of certain death, the reclaiming of a family and a life, and the most remarkable adventure of all: what we can do when we’re offered a second chance.


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