The Barometer of Damocles

“I remember hearing of one man,” Sasha said, gesturing up at the ridge. “He reached the summit in and conditions, thick snow, with two others. They could see another big storm coming from the east, so they turned round straight away and followed their own tracks back along the ridge. After five minutes’ walking, he went blind in one eye. Click! Just like that — blackness. Like turning off a light. His retina had gone. A couple more paces and click! — the other one went too. Both retinas ripped off by the pressure. They led him for a while, but he would never get down with no eyes. Finally he just sat down in the now to die.”

Sasha shrugged his shoulders. “He’s still up there. That is how it is at height.”

— Quoted by Robert McFarlane, in Mountains of the Mind