Researching the Data

Collating 8000m stats for ‘Irish’ climbers is complex because it spans climbers from the island of Ireland which is two different geopolitical jurisdictions, and also includes overseas climbers of Irish heritage who climb on an Irish passport and claim their summits as an Irish success. For the purposes of this assessment, we assume the following to be defined as ‘Irish’ summits of 8000m peaks…

  • Born in Republic of Ireland
  • Born in Northern Ireland
  • Resident in Republic of Ireland at time of climb
  • Resident in Northern Ireland at time of climb
  • Born or Resident overseas but climbed on Irish passport

For the purpose of this analysis we list successful Irish summits from all groups mentioned above. This is not a political statement, merely a method of identifying those who we believe should be included in this assessment. This data is researched from a range of different published sources and first hand accounts. Thank you to the team who maintain and manage the Himalayan Database for enabling access to some of the data used for this assessment.

Summary of 8000m Peaks

This page tracks Irish climbers (defined here as climbers from Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland or Irish Citizens living overseas or other citizens with RoI or NI as their home), who have climbed any of the 8000m peaks as well as Irish climbers who unsuccessfully attempted 8000m peaks. To date, Irish climbers have successfully climbed 7 of the 14 peaks above 8000m. The list of 8000m peaks are as follows:

  • Everest (8848m) – Nepal/Tibet
  • K2 (8611m) – Pakistan
  • Kangchenjunga (8586m) – Nepal
  • Lhotse (8516m) – Nepal
  • Makalu (8485m) – Nepal/Tibet
  • Cho Oyu (8201m) – Nepal
  • Dhaulagiri (8167m) – Nepal
  • Manaslu (8163m) – Nepal
  • Nanga Parbat (8125m) – Pakistan
  • Annapurna I (8091m) – Nepal
  • Gasherbrum I (8068m) – Pakistan/China
  • Broad Peak (8047m) – Pakistan/China
  • Gasherbrum II (8035m) – Pakistan
  • Shishpangma (8013m) – Tibet

Irish on 8000m Peaks

Irish Summits:

– Dawson Stelfox (1993)
– Pat Falvey (1995)
– Mick Murphy (2003)
– Gerard McDonnell (2003)
– Terence Bannon (2003)
– Pat Falvey (2004)
– Clare O’Leary (2004)
– Samantha O’Carroll (2004)
– Humphrey Murphy (2005)
– Grania Willis (2005)
– Fergal Corrigan (2006)
– Neill Elliot (2006)
– Raymond Hassard (2006)
– Noel Hanna (2006)
– Ian McKeever (2007)
– Tom Lehane (2007)
– Hannah Shields (2007)
– Bill Hanlon (2007)
– Nigel Hart (2007)
– Roger McMorrow (2007)
– Michael O’Dwyer (2007)
– John Dowd (2008)
– Anselm Murphy (2008)
– Ian Taylor (2008)
– Noel Hanna (2009)
– Lynne Hanna (2009)
– Christopher Jones (2009)
– Domhnall O’Dochartaigh (2010)
– James Haydock (2010)
– Noel Hanna (2010)
– Vivian Rigney (2010)
– Fergus White (2010)
– Geoffrey Chambers (2011)
– Basil Geoghegan (2011)
– Gavin Bate (2011)
– Noel Hanna (2011)
– Mark Quinn (2011)
– Martin Byrne (2011)
– Noel Hanna (2012)
– Cian O’Brolchain (2012)
– Albert Connaughton (2012)
– Peter O’Connell (2013)
– Seán Mooney (2013)
– Jason Black (2013)
– Noel Hanna (2013)
– Brian Meskell (2013)
– Robert Smith (2013)
– Kieran Lally (2013)
– Noel Hanna (2014)
– Derek Mahon (2014)
– Robert Smith (2014)
– Mary Scannell (2016)
– Noel Hanna (2016)
– Lynne Hanna (2016)
– Robert Mortell (2016)
– John Burke (2017)
– Terry Kelleher (2017)
– Robert Smith (2017)
– Rory McHugh (2017)
– Louise McEvoy (2018)
– Linda Blakely (2018)
– Adrian McNally (2018)
– Robert Smith (2018)
– Kevin Hynes (2018)
– Noel Hanna (2019)
– Seamus Lawless (2019) *
– Jenny Copeland (2019)
– Robert Smith (2019)
– Noel Hanna (2021)
– Ronan Murphy (2021)
– Robert Smith (2021)

Note: 1993 Irish expedition was unaided. All other summits above occurred as part of commercial expeditions. 
Note: All Everest summits above were completed during the Spring season using bottled oxygen. 

* Seamus Lawless successfully climbed Everest in 2019, but disappeared following a fall above Camp 4 on the descent. 


Irish Attempts (No Summit):

63 unsuccessful attempts to climb Everest by 49 different Irish climbers between 1993 & 2021.

List of all successful & unsuccessful attempts on Everest by Irish climbers can be found here

Irish Summits:

– Ger McDonnell (Aug 2008) *
– Noel Hanna (Jul 2018)
– Jason Black (Jul 2018)
– Robert Kelso Smith (Jul 2018)
– Robert Kelso Smith (Jul 2021)


Irish Attempts (No Summits):

– Aleister Crowley (1902)
– Calvin Torrans (1998)

– Eddie Cooper (1998)
– Martin Daly (1998)
– Paul Dunlop (1998)
– Donie O’Sullivan (1998)
– Ian Rea (1998)
– Terence ‘Banjo’ Bannon (2005)
– Ger McDonnell (2006)
– Mick Murphy (2006)
– Terence ‘Banjo’ Bannon (2006)
– Noel Hanna (2015)
– Jason Black (2015)
– Noel Hanna (2021 – Winter Attempt)

Note 1: The 1998 ‘Irish K2 Expedition’ team attempted via the Abruzzi Ridge, alpine style, unaided with no oxygen.
Note 2: Robert Kelso Smith is the only Irish climber to have successfully climbed K2 twice (2018 & 2021).
Note 3: Noel Hanna attempted K2 in Winter in 2021, but abandoned the summit push due to extreme low temperature on summit day.
Note 4: Banjo Bannon’s first attempt on K2 in 2005 got him within 400m of the summit before he had to turn around due to weather. On his second attempt in 2006, Banjo was within 50m of the summit when a deadly avalanche struck killing 4 Russian members of the expedition team. 

* Ger McDonnell died on K2 in 2008 on the descent, while attempting a rescue following a deadly avalanche. His body was never recovered. Ger had previously attempted K2 in 2006 alongside Mick Murphy and Banjo Bannon, and had survived a deadly avalanche which killed four Russian climbers, and left Ger in hospital with what turned out to be a fractured skull, which if he had not been wearing his helmet would have doubtless been fatal. 

Did You Know: In 1902, an Irish adventurer named Aleister Crowley was a member of the first team to make a serious attempt on K2. Crowley, a magician with an interest in Satanism, dope and other mystical pursuits, was an accomplished alpinist who advised against his leader’s approach by a north-east ridge. He was proved to be correct when the group was forced back in bad weather at 6,000 metres. It appears that he believed in a very direct style of teamwork; at one point, he threatened another climber with a revolver.  (Source: Irish Times)

Irish Summits:

– Anselm Murphy (May 2011)


Irish Attempts (No Summits):

– Noel Hanna (2017)
– Noel Hanna (2018)

Irish Summits:

– Domhnall O’Dochartaigh (May 2009)
– Cian O’Brolchain (May 2017)
– Linda Blakely (May 2018)
– Robert Kelso Smith (May 2019)


Irish Attempts (No Summits):

– Christopher Jones (2011)
– Domhnall O’Dochartaigh (2012)
– Jason Smith (2014)
– Kevin Hynes (2016)
– Robert Kelso Smith (2016)
– Robert Kelso Smith (2017)

Note 1: Linda Blakely from Armagh in Northern Ireland summitted both Everest and Lhotse within 24 hours in May 2018. Robert Kelso Smith from Tyrone in Northern Ireland done the same in May 2019.

Note 2: Kevin Hynes stopped short of the summit by 50m in 2016 due to one of their climbing team suffering a fatal fall down the Lhotse face. 

Irish Summits:

– None


Irish Attempts (No Summits):

– Terry Mooney (1984)
– Terry Mooney (1988)
– Calvin Torrans (1989)
– Robert Kelso Smith (2010)

Irish Summits:

– Pat Falvey (May 1998) [No O2]
– Gavin Bate (May 1998) [No O2]
– Damian Ryan (Sep 1998)
– Richard Dougan (May 2002)
– Humphrey Murphy (May 2002)
– Grania Willis (Sep 2004)
– Roger McMorrow (Sep 2005)
– Nigel Hart (Sep 2005)
– Michael O’Dwyer (Sep 2005)
– Patrick Doyle (Oct 2006)
– Anselm Murphy (Oct 2007)
– Kieran Lally (May 2010)
– Fergal Savage (Oct 2011)
– Cian O’Brolchain (Oct 2011)
– Robert Kelso Smith (Oct 2011)
– Kevin Trundle (Oct 2013)


Irish Attempts (No Summits):

– Wes Sterritt (1988)
– Josephine Kieran (1996)
– Neil Lindsey (1994)
– Con Collins (1998)
– Eoghan Sheehan (1998)
– John Dowd (2001)
– Patricia McGuirk (2001)
– Adam Cinnamond (2002) *
– Philip Kelly (2002)
– Eamon Hickey (2006)
– Martin Murphy (2006)
– Gavin Bate (2007)
– Patrick McDonagh (2007)
– Michael Wall (2007)
– Adam Sulwinski (2007)
– James Haydock (2007)
– Stewart Barbour (2009)
– James Haydock (2009)
– Barry Griffin (2010)
– Robert Mooney (2011)
– John Jones (2011)
– Paul Greenan (2013)
– Mark Quinn (2016)

Note: In 1998 Pat Falvey and Gavin Bate became the first Irish to summit an 8000m peak without bottled Oxygen and without use of high-altitude porters. 

* Adam Cinnamond (34) was part of a four-person ‘Northern Ireland Cho Oyu Expedition’ team in 2002 when he went missing on the descent after deciding not to summit. Adam’s body was recovered some days later at 6800m. 

Irish Summits:

– None


Irish Attempts (No Summits):

– Robert Mooney (2012)
– Kelven Reid (2017)

Irish Summits (True Summit):

– Domhnall O’Dochartaigh (May 2012) [No O2]

Irish Summits (Foresummit):

– Christopher Jones (Oct 2008)
– Jason Smith (Oct 2008)
– Peter O’Connell (Oct 2012)
– John Roche (Oct 2014)
– Miko Keane (Sep 2018)
– Lynne Hanna (Sep 2019) [No O2]
– Noel Hanna (Sep 2019) [No O2]
– Robert Kelso Smith (Sep 2019)
– Jon Ruane (Sep 2021)

Irish Attempts (No Summits):

– Frank Nugent (1991)
– Dawson Stelfox (1991)
– Mike Barry (1991)
– Martin Daly (1991)
– Robbie Fenlon (1991)
– Philip Holmes (1991)
– Gary Murray (1991)
– Harry O’Brien (1991)
– Dermot Somers (1991)
– Calvin Torrans (1991)
– Gordon Brown (2008)
– Geoffrey Chambers (2008)
– Paul Howard (2011)
– Kevin Keane (2012)
– Paddy Cave (2012)
– Tony Diskin (2017)
– Miko Keane (2017)
– Robert Kelso Smith (2013)

– Gerard Reidy (2019)

Note 1: The climbers listed above for 1991 attempt on Manaslu formed the ‘Irish Manaslu Expedition’ team co-led by Frank Nugent & Dawson Stelfox and accompanied by Leslie Lawrence (BC Manager), Nick Stevenson (BC2 Manager) and Donie O’Sullivan (Expedition Doctor). This was an unaided (non-commercial) expedition team. 

Note 2: In 2012 Domhnall O’Dochertaigh was among the few to summit the highest point on Manaslu (i.e. the True Summit). The sub peak becomes something of a perceived ‘highest point’ during Autumn/Winter ascents due to snow load and conditions make crossing the ridge to the true summit pretty tricky if not impossible. However in Spring of 2012 Guy Cotter led a group of climbers including Domhnall across the hair-raising ridge to the true summit, and were among the first to have ever stood on the true summit of Manaslu. In September 2021 Mingma G and the Imagine Nepal team would be the next group to stand on the true summit of Manaslu. 

Summit Controversy: Manaslu is somewhat unique among 8000m peaks in that most people who claim to have climbed to the summit haven’t. The author Mark Horrell wrote an interesting article in 2016 (here) on the subject of the real summit debate on Manaslu in which he says… “The summit crown contains three summits, the first a snow dome, the second a slightly narrower snow dome, and the third being the main summit itself. The main summit is very small, with space for only two people. To get there you have to pass the two (upper) fore-summits and follow an exposed snake-like ridge”. Most Manaslu summits are claimed at the sub peak at the end of the fixed ropes (known in more recent times as ‘Selfie Point’, which had been regarded as reaching the ‘summit’ by many authorities including the Himalayan Database team, but was challenged by others because it is not the true summit, which though dangerous to reach, can and has been climbed. Damien Gildea has also written widely on this topic too, here and here, while Explorers Web wrote about it recently here. Of the Irish climbers who have climbed Manaslu, it would appear that Domhnall O’Dochartaigh was the only one to have reached the true summit.

Some climbers top out on Manaslu at the end of the fixed lines, others continue up to attempt to get to the uppermost foresummit, and very rarely some will either cross the ridge from the foresummit or traverse around from the end of the fixed lines to reach the True Summit. The Himalayan Database team announced on 29th September 2021 that following the success of Mingma G and his Imagine Nepal team in climbing to the true summit in September 2021, that they would be reviewing all past summits to assess what constitutes reaching the summit of Manaslu. We await the results of that assessment before changing the status of any of the ‘Foresummit’ climbs. 

Photo: Jackson Groves. 

Irish Summits:

– None


Irish Attempts (No Summits):

– None

Irish Summits:

– None


Irish Attempts (No Summits):

– Gavin Hennigan (2015)

Irish Summits:

– None


Irish Attempts (No Summits):

– Mark Quinn (2013)

Irish Summits (Summit):

– Eddie Cooper (1998) [No O2]
– John Dowd (Jun 2006)
– Mick Murphy (Jun 2006)


Irish Summits (No Summits):

– Calvin Torrans (1998)
– Martin Daly (1998)
– Paul Dunlop (1998)
– Donie O’Sullivan (1998)
– Ian Rea (1998)
– John Lawlor (2001)
– Ger McDonnell (2006)
– Con Collins (2006)
– John Roche (2006)
– Kevin Hynes (2016)

Note 1: Eddie Coopers reached the summit of Broad Peak on 8th July 1998, unaided without bottled oxygen. Eddie was part of the 6-man ‘Irish K2 Expedition’ team who attempted K2 that year and included Broad Peak as their adaptation peak.

Note 2: Ger McDonnell reached the foresummit of Broad Peak in 2006 but arrived to that point somewhat late and had to turn back due to darkness. Ger was part of an Irish group within a larger expedition team attempting to climb K2 that season, with Broad Peak as their adaptation peak. 

Irish Summits:

– None


Irish Attempts (No Summits):

– Mark Quinn (2013)
– John Lawlor (2001)

Irish Summits:

– None


Irish Attempts (No Summits):

– None

This data has been assembled by combining a range of published and first-hand sources as well as the invaluable Himalayan Database. If you have any new information or corrections to any of the records above please contact me at paul.devaney@gmail.com.