Born in 1960, New Zealander Rob Hall attained world renown in the mountaineering community as a skilled climber who summitted Mount Everest several times and achieved the Seven Summits in just seven months. He summitted Mount Everest for the first time in May 1990, and would choose the first week of May for later summit attempts at Everest. On the May 1990 trip, he led an expedition that included fellow Kiwi Peter Hillary, the son of Sir Edmund. On the same trip, Hall met a young doctor named Jan Arnold who worked at the medical clinic at Pheriche, just three thousand feet below Everest Base Camp. On the way home from Everest, Hall stopped at the clinic to ask Arnold on a date - specifically, climbing Mount McKinley together. They married two years later, and summitted Everest together in 1993.

In 1992, Rob Hall started a guiding company with his close friend Gary Ball. The pair had completed the Seven Summits together, but eventually decided corporate sponsorship was not reliable enough to provide money for climbing, and felt that guiding would be more lucrative. They planned to guide clients on the Seven Summits, and in May 1992 guided six clients to the summit of Everest. A year later the pair led seven clients to the top of the same mountain, but in October 1993 Ball contracted cerebral edema while on the slopes of Dhaulagiri and died in Hall's arms.

Between 1990 and 1995, Hall guided thirty-nine clients to the summit of Everest. In the spring of 1996, he led yet another expedition on the slopes of the highest mountain of the world. Shortly after he reached the summit on 10 May, an unexpected snowstorm swooped in and trapped Hall and his clients high on the mountain for approximately twelve hours. An American client, Doug Hansen, collapsed shortly after summitting and Hall refused to leave him. The next day, the bodies of both men were found half-covered in snow. Rob Hall, one of the world's best mountain climbers, had died at the young age of 35 doing what he loved best.

Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer

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