Everest 2019 – Summary

This season has been an annus horribilis for Irish climbing on Everest with 6 attempts resulting in 4 summits and 2 fatalities. The joy of summit success for Noel, Séamus, Jenny & Robert was overshadowed by the loss of two extraordinary people – Séamus Lawless and Kevin Hynes. 

This year the following climbers from Republic of Ireland & Northern Ireland have attempted Everest:

– Noel Hanna (52) from Co. Down
– Jenny Copeland (40) from Co. Meath
– Séamus Lawless (39) from Co. Wicklow
– Miko Keane (66) from Co. Galway
– Kevin Hynes (56)  from Co. Galway
– Robert Smith (48) from Co. Tyrone

Noel Hanna

Jenny Copeland

Séamus Lawless

Robert Smith

Kevin Hynes

Miko Keane

Noel Hanna reached the summit of Everest via the southeast ridge (Nepal) route on 16th May 2019, guiding Jenny, Shay and South African climber Saray Khumalo (who became the first black African woman to summit Everest). This was Noel’s 9th summit of the worlds highest peak.

Jenny Copeland reached the summit of Everest via the southeast ridge (Nepal) route on 16th May 2019. 

Séamus Lawless reached the summit of Everest via the southeast ridge (Nepal) route on 16th May 2019, but disappeared following a fall on the descent, just below the ‘Balcony’ area. The search efforts to locate Shay ended on 24th May with no success.  

Robert Smith reached the summit of Everest via the southeast ridge (Nepal) route with Adventure Consultants on 23rd May 2019, completing a 5th summit of the worlds highest peak. Thereafter Robert pushed on to summit Lhotse on 24th May completing a unique Everest-Lhotse double. 

Kevin Hynes reached 8300m on the northeast ridge (Tibet) side for the summit day push with 360 Expeditions, but turned around on summit day and descended to the North Col (7000m) camp accompanied by Sherpa guides from his team. During the early hours of the morning of 24th May, Kevin passed away in his tent. 

Miko Keane decided to end his expedition on 29th April prior to the team advancing to Camp 1 on their first rotation.

To those who realised their goal of reaching the summit, we congratulate you. To the families of the bereaved we are heartbroken for your loss and we extend our deepest condolences at this unbelievably difficult time. 

Everest 2019 – Reflection

Much has and will be written about the lessons of the 2019 season. With 11 fatalities on Everest this season, there are issues that need tackling on the worlds highest peak, and there is no avoiding safety concerns that exist as more climbers attempt the mountain year-on-year. The fatalities this season are…

Seamus Lawless May 16th Fall at Balcony [After Summit] Seven Summit Treks *
Ravi Thacker May 17th Altitude/Illness [After Summit] Seven Summit Treks
Don Cash May 22nd Altitude/Illness [After Summit] Pioneer Adventures
Anjali Kulkarni May 22nd Altitude/Illness [After Summit] Transcend Adventures
Kalpana Dash May 23rd Altitude/Illness [After Summit] Dreamers Destination Treks
Ernst Landgraf May 23rd Altitude/Illness [After Summit] Kobler & Partner
Nihal Bagwan May 23rd Altitude/Illness Peak Promotion
Kevin Hynes May 24th Altitude/Illness 360 Expeditions
Dhruba Bista May 24th Altitude/Illness Himalayan Ski Treks
Robin Fisher May 25th Altitude/Illness [After Summit] Everest Parivar Treks
Chris Kulish May 27th Altitude/Illness [After Summit] Climbing the Seven Summits

* Logistics by SST, however Seamus + 2 others in the team were guided by Noel Hanna (team within a team).

As the season concludes we remember Shay and Kev. Their deaths have saddened and shocked us. We should also remember to congratulate Jenny, Noel and Robert who have achieved an incredible thing. One can imagine that for Jenny and Noel in particular, congratulations means nothing in the context of what they have gone through and are going through, but their summit success was and is significant, so congratulations.

The death of Shay Lawless following his fall en-route back to C4 was a deep shock. He realised his lifelong dream and stood on top of the world on 16th May, and it is sad that he cannot share that experience with family and friends. Shay was an incredibly kind person, and a great supporter of other Irish climbers and adventurers. His loss has touched many people deeply as can be seen from the wave of comments online and incredible support received in past weeks. I was able to observe how Shay’s other teammates Suzanna & Emma along with others in the Irish high altitude community rallied around to help and assist in the hours and days after his disappearance, and it is both an inspiration and a credit to them individually and collectively. Shay now rests in the world’s most spectacular burial site, remembered and honored where he lays, in privacy surrounded by incredible beauty. All who go to Everest know the risks, as did Shay, and are also aware of that unwritten pact that keeps climbers on the mountain if we are unable to leave it. I wish this fate had not befallen Shay, but it has and it is left to those who knew him to celebrate his accomplishments and remember his kind nature and adventurous spirit. 

The death of Kevin Hynes sent another shockwave on 24th May. Kev lived in Harrow in England and was from Newbridge in Co. Galway. He was both an experienced and talented mountaineer with expeditions in Argentina, Alaska, Africa, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal and extensively across India. He was intensely private and humble about those achievements and would have been quite happy if nobody knew he climbed at all. That is a rare and wonderful quality. He clearly enjoyed the mountains immensely and built a solid pedigree over the years. He summitted Everest in 2018 via the Southeast Ridge (Nepal) and was back this year to try via the North side. His death leaves us without a great character in amateur mountaineering. Someone you likely never heard of, but who achieved a great deal on the mountains of the world, and did it all for its own sake. I chatted to him last Friday as the team prepared for summit week, and he said to light a candle for him for his summit push on 23rd May. Kev’s flame has gone out, but his legacy will linger and inspire for a long time to come.

To the Lawless family in Wicklow and the Hynes family in Harrow we extend our deepest sympathies.

Data via Himalayan Database & own research. Download PDF version of above summary here

Everest Summits – The Irish List

#Climber NameAgePermit From/ResidenceRoute TakenSummit DateTimeYear
1Dawson Stelfox35Antrim / AntrimNorth (Tibet)27/05/199310:071993
2Pat Falvey37Cork / CorkNorth (Tibet)27/05/199509:001995
3Mick Murphy44Cork / CorkSouth (Nepal)22/05/200310:002003
4Gerard McDonnell32Limerick / USASouth (Nepal)22/05/200311:102003
5Terence Bannon35Down / DownNorth (Tibet)31/05/200308:002003
6Pat Falvey46Cork / KerrySouth (Nepal)18/05/200406:452004
7Clare O'Leary33Cork / CorkSouth (Nepal)18/05/200406:452004
8Samantha O'Carroll27Cork / CorkSouth (Nepal)27/05/200410:202004
9Humphrey Murphy41Dublin / DonegalNorth (Tibet)30/05/200507:102005
10Grania Willis49Dublin / DublinNorth (Tibet)05/06/200506:002005
11Fergal Corrigan31Fermanagh / TyroneNorth (Tibet)17/05/200606:402006
12Neill Elliot33Fermanagh / FermanaghNorth (Tibet)17/05/200606:402006
13Raymond Hassard33Fermanagh / FermanaghNorth (Tibet)17/05/200606:402006
14Chris Bell32Antrim / EnglandSouth (Nepal)19/05/200609:402006
15Noel Hanna39Down / DownNorth (Tibet)21/05/200607:352006
16Ian McKeever37Wicklow / WicklowNorth (Tibet)16/05/200708:002007
17Tom Lehane49Cork / EnglandSouth (Nepal)17/05/200707:302007
18Hannah Shields42Derry / DerryNorth (Tibet)19/05/200707:002007
19Bill Hanlon52Wexford / CanadaSouth (Nepal)22/05/200711:362007
20Nigel Hart41Antrim / AntrimSouth (Nepal)23/05/200706:292007
21Roger McMorrow 31Antrim / DublinSouth (Nepal)24/05/200707:552007
22Michael O'Dwyer32Dublin / DublinSouth (Nepal)24/05/200707:552007
23John Dowd53Kerry / KerrySouth (Nepal)21/05/200807:452008
24Anselm Murphy *24Irish Citizen / EnglandSouth (Nepal)21/05/200810:302008
25Ian Taylor29Kildare / KildareSouth (Nepal)23/05/200806:102008
26Noel Hanna42Down / DownSouth (Nepal)21/05/200904:002009
27Lynne Hanna47Down / DownSouth (Nepal)21/05/200904:002009
28Christopher Jones45Unknown / GalwaySouth (Nepal)21/05/200907:402009
29Domhnall O'Dochartaigh **35Irish Citizen / CanadaSouth (Nepal)07/05/201006:002010
30James Haydock ***48Lancashire / DublinSouth (Nepal)22/05/201006:002010
31Noel Hanna43Down / DownSouth (Nepal)23/05/201003:152010
32Vivian Rigney39Dublin / USASouth (Nepal)23/05/201009:002010
33Fergus White 37Dublin / DublinSouth (Nepal)23/05/201006:452010
34Geoffrey Chambers 46Armagh / ArmaghSouth (Nepal)16/05/201106:152011
35Basil Geoghegan43Dublin / DublinSouth (Nepal)19/05/201107:252011
36Gavin Bate ****44Kent / DownSouth (Nepal)20/05/201110:002011
37Noel Hanna 44Down / DownNorth (Tibet)21/05/201101:102011
38Mark Quinn27Limerick / LimerickNorth (Tibet)21/05/201105:452011
39Martin Byrne58Offaly / TipperaryNorth (Tibet)26/05/201111:302011
40Noel Hanna45Down / DownNorth (Tibet)20/05/201208:002012
41Cian O'Brolchain32Dublin / DublinSouth (Nepal)25/05/201206:002012
42Albert Connaughton49Dublin / DublinSouth (Nepal)25/05/201207:002012
43Peter O'Connell29Galway / GalwaySouth (Nepal)13/05/201306:302013
44Seán Mooney *****27Irish Citizen / CanadaSouth (Nepal)19/05/201305:392013
45Jason Black42Donegal / DonegalNorth (Tibet)19/05/201307:002013
46Noel Hanna 46Down / DownNorth (Tibet)20/05/201305:302013
47Brian Meskell33Limerick / LimerickNorth (Tibet)22/05/201306:002013
48Robert Smith42Tyrone / ScotlandNorth (Tibet)22/05/201306:002013
49Kieran Lally54Mayo / DublinSouth (Nepal)23/05/201305:302013
50Noel Hanna47Down / DownNorth (Tibet)24/05/201406:302014
51Derek Mahon52Dublin / DublinNorth (Tibet)24/05/201406:302014
52Robert Smith43Tyrone / ScotlandNorth (Tibet)25/05/201408:002014
53Mary Scannell41Kerry / EnglandSouth (Nepal)13/05/201609:452016
54Noel Hanna49Down / DownNorth (Tibet)21/05/201606:452016
55Lynne Hanna54Down / DownNorth (Tibet)21/05/201606:452016
56Robert Mortell26Limerick / LimerickNorth (Tibet)23/05/201608:452016
57John Burke38Clare / ClareSouth (Nepal)16/05/201709:302017
58Terry Kelleher56Dublin / DublinSouth (Nepal)22/05/201707:302017
59Robert Smith 46Tyrone / ScotlandSouth (Nepal)22/05/201704:402017
60Rory McHugh40Dublin / EnglandSouth (Nepal)26/05/201711:002017
61Louise McEvoy49Dublin / USASouth (Nepal)16/05/201811:002018
62Linda Blakely44Armagh / LondonSouth (Nepal)17/05/201807:482018
63Adrian McNally41Meath / MeathSouth (Nepal)17/05/201805:302018
64Robert Smith47Tyrone / ScotlandSouth (Nepal)19/05/201806:582018
65Kevin Hynes55Galway / GalwaySouth (Nepal)21/05/201805:302018
66Noel Hanna52Down / DownSouth (Nepal)16/05/201908:302019
67Seamus Lawless39Wicklow / WicklowSouth (Nepal)16/05/201908:302019
68Jenny Copeland40Meath / DublinSouth (Nepal)16/05/201908:302019
69Robert Smith48Tyrone / ScotlandSouth (Nepal)23/05/201907:002019
70Noel Hanna54Down / DownSouth (Nepal)12/05/202108:302021
71Ronan Murphy40Dublin / EnglandSouth (Nepal)23/05/202109:152021
72Robert Smith50Tyrone / ScotlandSouth (Nepal)23/05/202110:102021
73Jonathan 'Duke' Ruane42Sligo / SligoSouth (Nepal)15/05/202205:302022
74Robert Smith51Tyrone / ScotlandSouth (Nepal)20/05/202208:002022
75Johnny Ward39Down / ThailandSouth (Nepal)17/05/202211:002023
76Ryan O'Sullivan27Sligo / SligoSouth (Nepal)24/05/202304:352023
77David Keating58Limerick / LimerickSouth (Nepal)13/05/2024TBC2024
78Michael Fortune41Dublin / DublinSouth (Nepal)13/05/2024TBC2024
79Darragh Ó hAodhaTBCCork / CorkSouth (Nepal)21/05/2024TBC2024
80Robert Smith53Tyrone / ScotlandSouth (Nepal)23/05/2024TBC2024
81Éoin Brogan30Tyrone / WestmeathSouth (Nepal)24/05/2024TBC2024
82Michéal Brogan55Tyrone / WestmeathSouth (Nepal)24/05/2024TBC2024

The author: Paul Devaney from Longford is co-founder of Irish Seven Summits and is a consultant with Seven Summits Solutions – providing Aerospace & Digital Services. Paul is an amateur mountaineer and has completed 6 of the 7 Summits and attempted Everest in 2014 and 2015. In both seasons the expedition was halted due to major incidents on the mountain (Avalanche in 2014, Earthquake & Avalanche in 2015). Paul has climbed and trained in the Alps and completed expeditions from Alaska to Antarctica. He currently lives in London, England.

Previous reading
Everest – New Height Announced
Next reading
Everest 2019 – Seamus Lawless & Jenny Copeland Interview