Wild man gazilionaire Richard Branson has a 29-year-old son. That son had terrible altitude sickness while ascending the 14,692′ Matterhorn in Switzerland on Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014. He was weak, throwing up, dry heaving, and exhausted. His lead guide told him he had to descend multiple times on the ascent, but he wouldn’t listen.
He continued up to the summit while “retching uncontrollably” as Richard Branson put it, then collapsed in a heap on the ground fading in and out of consciousness. He was completely unable to descend even one vertical foot of the mountain under his own power.
The obvious next move? A helicopter rescue from the summit.
Does that still count as a summit?
Is it ok to behave like this in the mountains?
Is it ok for mountain rescue personnel to risk their lives to pick up people who behave like this?
These are tough questions to answer, but in the mountains, you have to be smart. You have to be smart to stay alive.