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Justine Burley

Justine Burley is a lecturer in politics at Exeter College, Oxford and a research fellow at the Institute of Medicine, Law and Bioethics. She is a rock and Alpine climber and hiked in the Himalayas in 1995.

Mountaineering

Justine Burley, 1 January 1998

On the night of 10 May 1996, 19 climbers were stranded in a blinding storm on the upper flanks of Mount Everest. The temperature dropped to -100° Fahrenheit. Whipped up by fierce winds, spindrift blasted the mountainside on which envelopes of thick cloud had descended. Visibility was reduced to a few feet. The following day, eight climbers were dead. Of the survivors, one had his nose and hand amputated, another all his fingers and toes. The storm, typical of the region and time of year, requires no explanation, but why were so many people still so high on the mountain that late in the day?

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