Australian mountaineer Lincoln Hall dies

MOUNTAIN MAN: Lincoln Hall was left for dead on Mount Everest after apparently suffering cerebral edema, or swelling of the brain.
MOUNTAIN MAN: Lincoln Hall was left for dead on Mount Everest after apparently suffering cerebral edema, or swelling of the brain.

Australian mountain climber Lincoln Hall has died from mesothelioma. He was 56.

The world-renowned mountaineer, who was a member of the 1984 first Australian Everest expedition, died ''peacefully'' in Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney yesterday, Simon Baulderstone, chairman of the Australian Himalayan Foundation, said.

His wife, sons and close friend and fellow mountaineer Greg Mortimer were with him.

''Lincoln was well-known for his feat of survival on Everest in 2006, when, after summitting the mountain, he collapsed just below the summit and had apparently died, only to be found alive the next morning by climbers on their way up the mountain,'' said Baulderstone.

His family have asked the media to respect their privacy.

Zac Zaharias, the president of Canberra Climbers' Association, said Mr Hall would always be regarded as a prominent climber who put Australia on the map.

He said Hall would be remembered not only for his amazing feats on Everest, but for his drive and moving writing.

He was also a compassionate man in his role as director of the Australian Himalayan Foundation, set up to help impoverished communities, Zaharias said.

''He was a very engaging person.

''He was very likeable. Everybody who came across Lincoln really enjoyed his company.

''He certainly had a quirky sense of humour, which really was a bit of a trademark for Lincoln.

''He was always making light of things and I think that's a really important characteristic in climbers, particularly when you're in adversity.

''Humour is a really powerful way of taking your mind away from the difficulties you're going through.
''It puts life into perspective and he was very good at doing that.''

In 2006, a rescue team of sherpas helped the veteran climber descend 1700 metres from where he had collapsed after a successful climb to the summit. It had been reported 24 hours earlier that Hall had died on the mountain.

He had to be carried over a series of obstacles and, at times, had to be restrained when he became delirious from the effects of altitude sickness. But word got back from the highest camp on the peak  that he had walked the last few hundred metres into North Col camp before collapsing.

He was left for dead on the mountain at 8700 metres when he broke down while descending from the 8848-metre summit.

Those with him could not move him after he became delirious, a sign of oedema, or fluid on the brain. His companions in a Russian-led expedition were forced to leave him on the mountain overnight.

The next morning another group of climbers found him, still clinging to life, and a rescue party brought him down.

- AAP and Sydney Morning Herald