What Happened to Mountaineer Rob Hall on Mount Everest?

Rob Hall was a legendary mountaineer who succumbed to an accident on Mount Everest. Several other mountaineers died with him in the Southern part of Mount Everest in 1996. Hall came to the Everest expedition from New Zealand. And the unforeseen event took the lives of Rob, two of the other mount climbers, and a guide from the team he was leading.

Rob Hall’s life was cut short due to this event. However, his name is still known as one of the most popular mountaineers of all time. Rob Hall has even been recognized in Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air and a 2015 movie, Everest. One of his victories that stands out the most is the expedition that took his life was also his fifth climb to Everest. And he had been able to climb the highest peak in the world more than any non-Sherpa mountaineer at that time.

If you want to know more about Rob Hall, stay tuned with us till the end of this article!

Mount Everest Rob Hall

Rob Hall

Rob Hall was a passionate mountaineer who died on Mount Everest in 1996. The 1996 disaster took the lives of four people in his own time out of the 8 people who died. Rob was leading Adventure Consultants’ 1996 Everest expedition. Besides Hall, there were Mike Groom and Andy Harris, who were also guiding the expedition. The three led a group of 8 clients. In this expedition, Rob had also promised a journalist from The Outside Magazine, John Krakauer, to guide him if he gets advertisement space and a written article on the growing commercialization of Everest.

After 10 May 1996, the expedition began from Camp IV. They were joined shortly after by climbers from Scott Fischer’s Mountain Madness company and other expeditions organized by the governments of India and Taiwan. When the teams reached Hilary Step, they discovered everything was out of place and had to wait for the ropes to be set. It took the guides about an hour to install the ropes. Moreover, as a matter of fact, Rob had also been one to install the rope for most expeditions in the year 1996. Rob and the other guides had requested everyone they were leading to stay within a distance of 150m from one another due to safety concerns. Unfortunately, a few could not make it to the summit by 2 pm, which happened to be the last safe hour before nightfall in everest.

Rob HallSherpas waited for their clients to reach the summit at 3 pm and descended. When they spotted Hansen and requested him to descend along with them, he refused. After Hall came to the Sherpas and Hansen, he asked the Sherpas to take the other clients along with him and that he would stay with Hansen, who had almost finished his supplemental oxygen by then. At around 5 pm, Hall radioed the other guides and informed them that Hansen’s supplemental oxygen had run out, but he was alive. He requested help.  Sadly, a blizzard had already approached the Southwest Face of Everest, which had lessened the clarity of the path toward Camp IV. Another guide from Adventure Consultatnt’s 1996 Everest expedition, Andy Harris, went to the spot with extra supplemental oxygen and water at 5:30 pm.

After the night, at around 4:30 am in the morning after the blizzard, Rob Hall radioed his team and informed them that Harris had reached him at night but was nowhere to be found at the time he was radioing. And that Hansen passed away sometime in the night. Hall also told them that he could not use the supplemental oxygen due to his regulator choking with ice. At 9 am, furthermore, Hall informed me that he had his hands and feet frostbitten and could not use the mask for himself in a proper way. He had whatsoever fit the mask somehow to his face by then. The mountaineer had been suffocating and suffering due to the wild conditions of the mountain as well as his own body.

In the evening of the same day, he requested to have his wife, Jan Arnold, on a satellite phone. Hall said in a heartwarming and heartbreaking last conversation with his wife, “Sleep well, my sweetheart. Please don’t worry too much.” Rob passed away shortly after the phone call. Mount climbers from the IMAX expedition found his body on 22nd May 1996. His body remains under the South Summit of Mount Everest.

Rob Hall won the New Zealand Bravery Star award for his bravery in the 1999 New Zealand bravery awards.

Rob Hall Bodies Mount Everest

Rob Hall’s body is still on the South Summit of Mount Everest. He passed away on May 11, 1996. The mountaineer’s body was found soon after by expeditors from the IMAX expedition. Most of the bodies on Mount Everest remain there, frozen, in the wildest condition, throughout the year. This makes them stay as they are in these mountains forever.

Hall’s body has yet not been drawn out of the highest peak in the world. Hence, like many other mountaineers who lost their lives at the summit of Mount Everest, Hall’s body is also on Mount Everest, frozen and intact, right where he lost his life a few decades ago.

Rob Hall Daughter

Rob hall and Jan Arnold
Rob Hall with his wife Jan Arnold

Rob Hall has a daughter with his wife, Jan Arnold. Arnold was pregnant with their daughter when Rob phoned her for the last time from Mount Everest. This was, thankfully, possible because of the satellite phone even in 1996.

Rob told his wife that he wanted her to name their daughter Sarah. And Jan did as she wanted him to. Today, Sarah goes by the name Sarah Arnold Hall. She uses her mother’s and father’s names after her first name. Arnold Hall never knew her father besides the stories she had heard of him. However, she has always taken a keen interest in his legacy and has done what her father was passionate about. She even made a great record for herself by trekking to the Mount Everest base camp only at the age of 10. Sarah is very fond of mount climbing herself.

She shared, “Over the years, the experience has become more and more special to me, and I have formed an emotional connection to the mountain and Nepal. It was a moving experience as I met the Sherpas and other climbers who knew Rob. It dawned on me that people saw my father as someone respected and loved in the Himalayas and back home in New Zealand. I would definitely like to go back to Nepal and base camp, to see Everest as an adult, possibly to rebuild my father Rob’s memorial, which is likely to have fallen during the devastating April 2015 Nepal earthquakes,”. She added, “As the tallest peak in the world, it presents a challenge that draws people like no other mountain. Standing atop the world and realizing you got there on two feet must be unbelievable. I think that for some people, the risks add to why they want to climb it rather than detract from it — if there were no risk, it wouldn’t be the prized challenge it is,”.

Sarah had not known much about her dad, but her mom had always talked to her about everything he had done. When she watched the movie based on her father’s expedition, she couldn’t help but feel proud of who he had been and how his bravery will always remain a treasure in the minds of many who know about him. While few have climbed Everest as experienced climbers, Arnold Hall believes that people who did so were passionate and followed the path their hearts led them to. Sarah also hopes her father’s legacy will inspire many when they watch the 2015 film “Everest.”

Additionally, Rob’s young and passionate daughter has only the best things to say about Nepal, where her dad lost his life but gained massive love and respect from many worldwide. She calls Nepal “a beautiful country with appreciable culture and people.”

Though Jan Arnold insists that she and Rob’s daughter is much like her father, Sarah declines such statements from her mother. Rob Hall had always been one to be inclined towards mountains from the time he was a young boy. On the other hand, Sarah feels like she has never been able to hold a single passion throughout her childhood. Though she has been interested in mountaineering, she has never considered it a passion like her father always had. But, she hopes to explore the fashion, culture, and more of Europe by touring the countries there with her friends.

Rob Hall’s Mountaineering

Rob Hall's Mountaineering

Rob Hall had always had a passion for mountaineering. He was connected closely to the mountains from a very young age. He was born on 14 January 1961 in New Zealand. And his expedition to Everest, his last, was bought to life yet again for movie viewers and mountain enthusiasts through a 2015 film, Everest. The movie portrays his expedition journey in a dramatized manner. Nevertheless, the movie has a special place in the hearts of anyone who loves mountaineering.

He has a very important part to play in Jon Krakauers’s Into Thin Air, which also happens to be the writer’s most sought and famous writing of all time. The account has a lot to say about what happened in 1996 on Everest and his experiences. Jon was asked to trade his expertise in writing and advertisement of the commercialization of Mount Everest by Rob in exchange for his guidance.

Mountaineering really played a major role in his life as he met his wife, Jan Arnold while mountaineering. Jan worked as a physician and reached Mount Everest in 1990. The couple met and connected instantly because of their love for the mountains. They accompanied one another to Denali on their first date. After this date, the pair got married. In the tragic 1996 expedition, Jan wanted to go along with her husband, but she was pregnant with their daughter Sarah Arnold Hall and could not make it.

Rob Hall’s life in the mountains

Rob Hall's life in the mountains

Rob had always been very fond of mount climbing. Growing up in New Zealand, he climbed almost all the Southern Alps. After meeting his climbing partner and close friend Gary Ball in 1989, they started seeking funds and sponsorships for their expeditions.

It is extremely admirable what the pair were capable to do together. They planned to climb the 7 summits and made history by climbing all seven peaks in just 7 months. They started with Mount Everest on May 1990 and ended their summit on December 1990 with Antarctica’s Vinson Massif.

Every next summit they would engage in would be more challenging, increasing their risk of dying. Hence, it was only the wiser option to establish an agency that would strengthen their love for mountaineering while being a safer option for both. They founded their company, Adventure Consultants, in 1992. This company did not take long to become a well-sought expedition company. The same year as the company was founded, the pair guided 6 clients to the summit of Mount Everest. Gary succumbed to pulmonary edema while climbing a mountain in October 1993.

Hall had to run the company on his own. But this did not stop him from doing his best to serve just anyone who had come to him for services. He was known all around the world by mountaineers for his guidance and trustworthiness. Hall was a very well sought guide and a mountaineer who was also known as “the mountain goat” and the “show” by his clients.

His expertise in mountaineering was so popular that in 1994, he was assigned a Member of the Order of the British Empire for serving in mountaineering during the 1994 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

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