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 Ireland & Northern Ireland 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 NameAgeBorn / FromPermit AddressRoute TakenSummit DateSummit TimeYear
1Dawson Stelfox35AntrimAntrimNorth (Tibet)27/05/199310:071993
2Pat Falvey37CorkCorkNorth (Tibet)27/05/199509:001995
3Mick Murphy44CorkCorkSouth (Nepal)22/05/200310:002003
4Gerard McDonnell32LimerickUSASouth (Nepal)22/05/200311:102003
5Terence Bannon35DownDownNorth (Tibet)31/05/200308:002003
6Pat Falvey46CorkKerrySouth (Nepal)18/05/200406:452004
7Clare O'Leary33CorkCorkSouth (Nepal)18/05/200406:452004
8Samantha O'Carroll27CorkCorkSouth (Nepal)27/05/200410:202004
9Humphrey Murphy41DublinDonegalNorth (Tibet)30/05/200507:102005
10Grania Willis49DublinDublinNorth (Tibet)05/06/200506:002005
11Fergal Corrigan31FermanaghTyroneNorth (Tibet)17/05/200606:402006
12Neill Elliot33FermanaghFermanaghNorth (Tibet)17/05/200606:402006
13Raymond Hassard33FermanaghFermanaghNorth (Tibet)17/05/200606:402006
14Noel Hanna39DownDownNorth (Tibet)21/05/200607:352006
15Ian McKeever37WicklowWicklowNorth (Tibet)16/05/200708:002007
16Tom Lehane49CorkEnglandSouth (Nepal)17/05/200707:302007
17Hannah Shields42DerryDerryNorth (Tibet)19/05/200707:002007
18Bill Hanlon52WexfordCanadaSouth (Nepal)22/05/200711:362007
19Nigel Hart41AntrimAntrimSouth (Nepal)23/05/200706:292007
20Roger McMorrow 31AntrimDublinSouth (Nepal)24/05/200707:552007
21Michael O'Dwyer32DublinDublinSouth (Nepal)24/05/200707:552007
22John Dowd53KerryKerrySouth (Nepal)21/05/200807:452008
23Anselm Murphy *24Irish CitizenEnglandSouth (Nepal)21/05/200810:302008
24Ian Taylor29KildareKildareSouth (Nepal)23/05/200806:102008
25Noel Hanna42DownDownSouth (Nepal)21/05/200904:002009
26Lynne Hanna47DownDownSouth (Nepal)21/05/200904:002009
27Christopher Jones45UnknownGalwaySouth (Nepal)21/05/200907:402009
28Domhnall O'Dochartaigh **35Irish CitizenCanadaSouth (Nepal)07/05/201006:002010
29James Haydock ***48LancashireDublinSouth (Nepal)22/05/201006:002010
30Noel Hanna43DownDownSouth (Nepal)23/05/201003:152010
31Vivian Rigney39DublinUSASouth (Nepal)23/05/201009:002010
32Fergus White 37DublinCorkSouth (Nepal)23/05/201006:452010
33Geoffrey Chambers 46ArmaghArmaghSouth (Nepal)16/05/201106:152011
34Basil Geoghegan43DublinDublinSouth (Nepal)19/05/201107:252011
35Gavin Bate ****44KentDownSouth (Nepal)20/05/201110:002011
36Noel Hanna 44DownDownNorth (Tibet)21/05/201101:102011
37Mark Quinn27LimerickLimerickNorth (Tibet)21/05/201105:452011
38Martin Byrne58OffalyTipperaryNorth (Tibet)26/05/201111:302011
39Noel Hanna45DownDownNorth (Tibet)20/05/201208:002012
40Cian O'Brolchain32DublinDublinSouth (Nepal)25/05/201206:002012
41Albert Connaughton49DublinDublinSouth (Nepal)25/05/201207:002012
42Peter O'Connell29GalwayGalwaySouth (Nepal)13/05/201306:302013
43Jason Black42DonegalDonegalNorth (Tibet)19/05/201307:002013
44Noel Hanna 46DownDownNorth (Tibet)20/05/201305:302013
45Brian Meskell33LimerickLimerickNorth (Tibet)22/05/201306:002013
46Robert Smith42TyroneScotlandNorth (Tibet)22/05/201306:002013
47Kieran Lally54MayoDublinSouth (Nepal)23/05/201305:302013
48Noel Hanna47DownDownNorth (Tibet)24/05/201406:302014
49Derek Mahon52DublinDublinNorth (Tibet)24/05/201406:302014
50Robert Smith43TyroneScotlandNorth (Tibet)25/05/201408:002014
51Mary Scannell41KerryEnglandSouth (Nepal)13/05/201609:452016
52Noel Hanna49DownDownNorth (Tibet)21/05/201606:452016
53Lynne Hanna54DownDownNorth (Tibet)21/05/201606:452016
54Robert Mortell26LimerickLimerickNorth (Tibet)23/05/201608:452016
55John Burke38ClareClareSouth (Nepal)16/05/201709:302017
56Terry Kelleher56DublinDublinSouth (Nepal)22/05/201707:302017
57Robert Smith 46TyroneScotlandSouth (Nepal)22/05/201704:402017
58Rory McHugh40DublinEnglandSouth (Nepal)26/05/201711:002017
59Louise McEvoy49DublinUSASouth (Nepal)16/05/2018TBC2018
60Linda Blakely44ArmaghLondonSouth (Nepal)17/05/201807:482018
61Adrian McNally41MeathMeathSouth (Nepal)17/05/201805:302018
62Robert Smith47TyroneScotlandSouth (Nepal)19/05/201806:582018
63Kevin Hynes55GalwayGalwaySouth (Nepal)21/05/201805:302018
64Noel Hanna52DownDownSouth (Nepal)16/05/201909:15 (?)2019
65Seamus Lawless39WicklowWicklowSouth (Nepal)16/05/201909:15 (?)2019
66Jenny Copeland40MeathMeathSouth (Nepal)16/05/201909:15 (?)2019
67Robert Smith48TyroneScotlandSouth (Nepal)23/05/201907:00 (?)2019

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.

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