Rob Hall was a famed New Zealand mountaineer who was buried alive atop Mt. Everest after reaching the summit for the sixth time, forever etching his name in mountaineering annals. After forming a partnership with mountaineer Gary Ball, Rob’s mountaineering trips began to take shape. When Rob and Gary completed the Seven Summits in seven months, they received worldwide praise. For Rob, 1990 was a watershed year because it was the first time he led an expedition to Mt. Everest, which he successfully accomplished. In the same year, Hall made friends with Jan Arnold, a physician who worked in a clinic treating climbers. Jan and Hall climbed numerous mountains together, including an expedition to Mt. Everest, and married just two years after meeting. For climbing the Seven Summits, Rob Hall received the New Zealand Commemoration Medal. Hall and Gary formed a company named ‘Adventure Consultants’ in order to commercialize their mountaineering experience. Rob was caught in a blizzard and swept away while attempting to rescue a tired customer shortly after reaching the summit of Mt. Everest for the seventh time with his clients. Rob Hall was stable enough to make one last call to Jan Arnold before he died, despite being frostbitten, weary, and running low on oxygen.
Development of Skilled Mountaineer
On January 14, 1961, in Christchurch, New Zealand, he was born into a Roman Catholic family. Robert Edwin Hall was the eldest of nine brothers and sisters. As he watched his parents struggle to keep the wolf at the door at bay, he developed a self-reliant and adventurous mindset early in life.
Rob Hall grew up among the Southern Alps and was naturally drawn to the mountains. He began mountaineering on his own when he was a teenager. At the age of 14, he dropped out of school and presented examples of tents and rucksacks to Alp Sports, a company that manufactures climbing equipment and accessories.
Within two years of joining Alp Sports as a designer, Hall was promoted to production manager. Meanwhile, he continued to hone his mountaineering talents, and at the age of 19, he climbed Ama Dablam (6856 m), his first Himalayan peak, in Nepal’s Sherpa area.
He climbed Numbur, another Himalayan mountain, in 1981. (6954m). When he climbed to the summit of Mt. Cook from the Caroline end in just eight and a half hours flat, he gained worldwide acclaim and became a national hero—a feat no other mountaineer had ever accomplished.
Rob Hall supplemented his climbing adventures with the creation of mountaineering equipment. He took a job offer from Macpac Wilderness Ltd, New Zealand’s most well-known outdoor equipment company, and worked there for four years. He quickly developed his own production company, ‘Outdoor,’ which allowed him to plan his mountaineering adventures.
Rob Hall led his company, ‘Outdoor,’ on the one hand, and thrived as a guide for the national Antarctic Research Program team on the other. With Gary Ball, his senior climbing teammate, he resumed summiting Himalayan peaks, attempting to climb Everest, K2, and Kanchenjunga.
Gary and Hall became the first to reach the summit of Mt. Everest in 1990, after multiple failed attempts. They were leading a group of climbers that included Edmund Hillary’s son, Peter Hillary, who broadcast the news to New Zealand radio listeners.
Rob and Gary were so inspired by their incredible achievement that they decided to climb the Seven Summits in the shortest amount of time possible and began looking for sponsors. They were successful in climbing Mt. Everest, Denali, Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Aconcagua, Carstenz Pyramid, and Vinson Massif in roughly seven months because to their honest efforts and hard work.
Mountaineering trips required the couple to make all of the necessary arrangements for guiding a group of climbers to summits as well as providing comprehensive medical treatment for which they paid a fee. Rob and Gary used the money they made on their adventures to start a company called “Adventure Consultants” with the primary purpose of assisting mountain climbers.
Expeditions for Climbing
In 1991, Rob Hall took advantage of his commercial instincts and Gary Ball took advantage of his significant climbing knowledge to form ‘Hall and Ball Adventure Consultants’ in Christchurch. They began preparing their first supervised commercial trip in 1992, and by the following year, they were ready to head out with a group of ten climbers to summit Mt. Everest.
Guy Cotter, an expert climber who was employed by the military, had been asked by Rob and Gary to give support for their first commercial expedition. The 1992 Everest expedition was a complete success, with Hall, Gary, Cotter, four sherpas, and six clients all reaching the summit.
An Israeli, a Belgian, and a Hongkonger were among the six climbers who made history as the first people from their respective countries to summit Mt. Everest. Rob Hall assisted customers in climbing the highest peaks in South America and Antarctica, respectively, Mt. Aconcagua and Mt. Vinson Massif, in 1992.
Rob, Gary, and Guy reunited in 1993 to lead a party of seven to the summit of Mt. Everest. Jan Arnold, Rob’s wife, accompanied him on this expedition, making them the second couple to summit Mt. Everest. Veikka Gustafsson, a client from the 1993 batch, was the first Finnish to reach the pinnacle. Rob’s year ended on a tragic note when his partner Gary died of pulmonary edema while on an expedition to Dhaulagiri.
Despite being struck with sadness following Gary’s untimely death, Rob Hall continued to organize tours under the title of ‘Adventure Consultants’ (the prefix Hall and Ball was dropped). Trips to the Vinson Massif grew more frequent, occurring once a year.
All of the clients who signed up for the third journey to Everest reached the summit in 1994, making it the most memorable and promising year for Rob and his firm. Erling Kagge was the first Norwegian to climb Everest on foot from both sides.
Soon after their descent from Everest, Rob Hall and Ed Viesturs, a high altitude climber from Seattle whom he had hired in place of Guy Cotter, set out on a mission to climb Lhotse.
In the same year, Hall climbed K2 and led successful excursions to the Carstensz Pyramid and Cho Oyu peaks. For his outstanding services to mountaineering, Rob Hall was awarded an MBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire).
Hall, Cotter, and Viesturs teamed up for the 1995 Everest trip, which was plagued by heavy snowfall, which caused delays and forced the crew to turn back. Only one climber, Lobsang Jangbu, reached the summit, with the others returning to base camp. In 1995, Rob, Gustaffson, and Viesturs teamed up to climb Mt. Makalu, the world’s fifth highest mountain.
The 1996 Everest Expedition, which ended in disaster, was an eventful life cut short. Because Guy Cotter and Ed Viesturs were unable to join the 1996 Everest expedition, Rob Hall enlisted the help of Australian mountaineer Mike Groom and New Zealand guide Andy Harris. On May 10, 1996, a team of two Sherpas and six climbers reached the summit.
A heavy blizzard stopped the climbers in their tracks shortly after they began to descent. Rob’s repeated attempts to assist a client, Doug Hansen, in descending were ineffective, and he eventually got too weak to continue, lingering for two days in the death zone—’South Col’.
Because of the bad weather and snowstorms, all attempts by mountaineers from below to save Rob and the surviving climbers failed. Andy Harris, a team member, attempted but failed to return to South Col to rescue Hall. Anatoli Boukreev, a Russian climber working as a guide for Mountain Madness, another climbing business, rescued three trapped clients but was unable to locate Adventure Consultants’ Yasuko Namba and Beck Weathers.
Beck Weathers miraculously recovered and was eventually rescued by climbers from different parties. Rob Hall made radio contact on the 11th of May 1996, approximately 12 hours after the snowstorm began, to say that he was battling to survive since he couldn’t breath oxygen because the regulator was covered by ice.
Rob Hall reported at 9.00 a.m. that his hands were fully frostbitten and he couldn’t climb down the fixed line of ropes. He radioed Base Camp in the middle of the day, urging that the climbers contact Jan. Over the satellite phone, Rob Hall told Jan Arnold that his expedition had been a success and that he was on his way back. He died soon after, and his body was discovered on May 23, 1996, by mountaineers from the IMAX expedition. His body is still buried at the summit of Mt. Everest.
Estimated Net Worth
Rob Hall is one of the wealthiest mountain climbers and one of the most popular. Rob Hall’s net worth is estimated to be $1.5 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.