Everest 2022 – The Irish Climbers

The 2022 Everest season is well underway and all Irish climbers appear to be in Nepal and on the march. In total there are 6 Irish climbers on the mountain this season (5 from RoI and 1 from NI) all climbing on the Nepal (South) side because the Tibet side being closed because of ongoing Covid-19 restrictions in China. In numeric terms, this is very much ‘back to normal’ for Everest in terms of numbers of Irish attempting the climb. All climbers are currently in different stages of adaptation and preparation, as they slowly meander through the valley to their respective base camps via different routes, climbing peaks along the way, in order to arrive adapted to around 6000m by mid April, ahead of their first rotation up the high mountain a week or so thereafter.

The 6 Irish climbers attempting Everest this season are:

– Robert Smith from Tyrone  (with Madison Mountaineering)
– Miko Keane from Galway  (with Ascent Himalayas)
– James McManus from Tipperary  (with Nepal Pyramids via Seven Summit Treks)
– Diarmuid Morrissey from Athlone  (with Furtenbach Adventures)
– Jonathan Duke Ruane from Sligo  (with Arnold Coster via Seven Summit Treks)
– Michéal Brogan from Tyrone via Mullingar  (with Summit Climb – Dan Mazur)

Everest has seen 10,656 successful ascents by more than 6000 climbers since the first ascent by Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953. From an Irish perspective, Everest has been climbed 71 times by 55 Irish climbers (9 women, 46 men) since the first Irish ascent by Dawson Stelfox in 1993, with a total of 135 Irish attempts to climb the mountain over the years. Full details on all of the Irish summits and attempts can be found here.

Robert Kelso Smith

Miko Keane

James McManus

Diarmuid Morrissey

Jonathan Duke Ruane

Michéal Brogan

Robert Kelso Smith (51) is a professional mountain guide, originally from County Tyrone who now lives in Fort William in Scotland. Robert has previously climbed Everest an astonishing 6 times, with last summit in May 2021 while guiding for Madison Mountaineering. He has the unique distinction of having climbed K2 and Everest in the same season in 2018 and climbing Everest and Lhotse within the same 24 hour period in 2019. Robert has climbed five of the fourteen 8000m peaks (Everest, K2, Manaslu, Cho Oyu and Lhotse) – the most of any Irish climber and has significant climbing and guiding experience including 8000m peaks, Snow Leopards and extensive Antarctic climbing and polar expeditions to name but a few. Robert has recently completed a trio of climbs in Antarctica, including Vinson Massif (4892m), Mount Tyree (4852m) and Mount Shinn (4661m) within the same week. This is likely a first ascent for an Irish climber on Tyree and Shinn, and the first time anyone has climbed all three of these Antarctic peaks in the same season since the 1966/67 season. Robert is guiding with the US-based Madison Mountaineering expedition team this season.

Michael ‘Miko’ Keane (69) is a sheep farmer from Corr na Móna in the beautiful Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) region in County Galway. In 2018 he became only the 4th Irish climber ever to reach the summit of Manaslu (8,156m), having successfully climbed Denali in 2016 and reached the summits of Elbrus, Kilimanjaro and Mont Blanc prior to that. A keen outdoor adventure runner and mountaineering enthusiast in his native Galway, Miko is a regular on the adventure race circuit, including Gaelforce and the Maamturks Challenges, among others. Miko is climbing with the Ascent Himalayas expedition team (Nepali owned and operated) where Mingma Tsiri Sherpa and his experienced team will be taking great care of him, having established strong ties with a number of Irish climbers over the past decade. This is Miko’s second attempt on Everest after he decided to end his 2019 expedition prior to the team advancing to Camp 1 on their first rotation. Miko is one of the most humble and down to earth guy you will ever meet and we hope it is second time lucky for him this year. At 69 years of age, a successful summit would also make Miko the oldest Irish person to successfully climb Everest.

James McManus (39) is originally from Roscrea in Tipperary, now living and working in Dublin. James is the first Tipperary native to attempt Everest and is planning to climb without supplementary oxygen. If successful, he would be the first Irish climber to achieve a feat which has only been done 216 times by 181 climbers in the past (see full list at base of page). James runs the Dublin-based adventure travel company Earths Edge, founded in 2007 and specialising in treks to various peaks including Kilimanjaro, Elbrus and Aconcagua. James has a degree in Sports Science and has been involved in the outdoors since an early age. He represented Ireland as a kayaker in 1999 and has climbed a number of peaks including Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Aconcagua, Peak Lenin and Muztagh Ata. In a recent podcast, James stated that he is climbing with a single Sherpa guide Tsering Lama from Nepal Pyramids, throughout (guide will be using bottled oxygen) rather than as part of a larger commercial expedition team. Curiously, he will not be based at Everest Base Camp throughout the climb, but will instead base himself lower in the valley in Pheriche at 4300m. His adaptation trek to the base of the mountain is via the Ren Lo and Cho La Passes and include climbing Lobuche East. This is a reasonably familiar route for teams adapting on Everest each season and helps ensure that you arrive at the base camp physically ready for the rigor of scaling the icefall to Camp 1 on the first rotation up the high mountain. This route is familiar to me because our team took that Three Passes route coupled with a climb of Island Peak during our 2015 Everest expedition and climbed Lobuche during our 2014 Everest expedition adaptation phase.

Diarmuid Morrissey (56) is a Dublin-born Athlone native. The father of four boys currently lives in Portugal. Diarmuid has climbed Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Aconcagua (for a second time just a couple of months ago), Kosciuszko, Vinson Massif, Island Peak and Mera Peak and is attempting to complete the 7 Summits with Everest hopefully his 6th peak in that adventure. Diarmuid is climbing with the Furtenbach Adventures expedition team. This is Diarmuid’s second attempt on Everest having been on the mountain last year with the US-based Mountain Trip expedition team, during what became a rather shambolic ‘Covid season’ on Everest. As the season wore on, the Mountain Trip team lost half of their Sherpa group to Covid-19 and became unable to support the team fully with a reduced headcount and the added complexity of Cyclone Yaas bearing down on them as the summit window narrowed to a close. The expedition was eventually cancelled on 22nd May 2021, just ahead of their planned summit push. I interviewed Diarmuid in April 2021 ahead of last years expedition – Read here.

Jonathan Duke Ruane (42) is a native of Sligo, a Fulbright scholar and former Sloan Fellow at MIT. He is currently a lecturer at MIT, in the Global Economics and Management group and is a member of MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy. He is also an adjunct professor at Trinity College Dublin. He was previously CEO and co-founder of VC backed SAAS start-up Eventovate which he and his brother subsequently sold in 2016. He was previously named in the Top 40 Irish Entrepreneurs Under 40 and is an experienced ultra-distance marathon runner including Marathon des Sables. And just to combat any accusations of him being a slacker, Jonathan has recently been appointed to the board of RTE (Irelands national broadcaster). If all of that wasn’t impressive enough, last September Jonathan became only the 10th Irish climber to successfully climb Manaslu (8163m) – the 8th highest mountain on earth. He also has a bunch of other peaks and some rather impressive climbing under his belt, from the Southern Alps to Peak Lenin. Jonathan is the first Sligo native to attempt Everest (we have to assume Westlife’s ‘You raise me up so I can stand on mountains’ is on continuous loop on his playlist), and is climbing within the Arnold Coster expedition team which operates as a team within a team inside the Seven Summits Treks (SST) infrastructure on the mountain.

Michéal Brogan is climbing with the Dan Mazur owned Summit Climb expedition team which consists of 15 clients with geographic split as follows… Ireland (1), USA (7), UK (3), Germany (2), Japan (1), Canada (1). Micheal is originally from Tyrone but has been living in Mullingar for some years now. Micheal and the Summit Climb team had a heck of a time trying to get from Kathmandu to Lukla, due to the bad weather which has hampered air traffic and delayed many teams thus far. As of today the entire team is finally on the trail.

The focus for now will be on gaining valuable adaptation and reaching their base camps healthy, dialed and ready for that crucial first ‘rotation’ from their base camp to Camp 1 and back again in a couple of weeks from now, taking that infamous journey through the ever-changing and unpredictable icefall. We will bring you any notable updates as the 6 Irish climbers progress.

Everest – “No Os” Summits

This season sees the first Irish attempt to climb Everest without supplementary oxygen, so lets dive into the data to see who has done this before. Of the 10,656 successful summits of Everest to date, only 216 of those climbs by 181 climbers from 39 different countries were achieved without supplementary oxygen. The first to achieve this immense feat was Reinhold Messner in 1978.

🇳🇵 Nepal: 62
🇮🇹 Italy: 20
🇺🇸 USA: 13
🇷🇺 Russia: 13
🇦🇹 Austria: 9
🇨🇿 Czechia: 8
🇫🇷 France: 8
🇪🇸 Spain: 8
🇪🇨 Ecuador: 7
🇮🇳 India: 7
🇯🇵 Japan: 6
🇰🇿 Kazakhstan: 5
🇬🇧 UK: 5
🇦🇺 Australia: 4
🇨🇳 China: 4
🇩🇪 Germany: 4
🇨🇭 Switzerland: 4
🇧🇬 Bulgaria: 3
🇺🇦 Ukraine: 3
🇦🇷 Argentina: 2
🇮🇷 Iran: 2
🇳🇱 Netherlands: 2
🇰🇷 S Korea: 2
🇧🇩 Bangladesh: 1
🇧🇷 Brazil: 1
🇨🇦 Canada: 1
🇨🇱 Chile: 1
🇨🇴 Colombia: 1
🇩🇰 Denmark: 1
🇫🇮 Finland: 1
🇲🇽 Mexico: 1
🇳🇿 New Zealand: 1
🇵🇪 Peru: 1
🇵🇱 Poland: 1
🇵🇹 Portugal: 1
🇷🇴 Romania: 1
🇸🇰 Slovakia: 1
🇸🇮 Slovenia: 1
🇸🇪 Sweden: 1

NameCitizenshipAgeSexSeasonRoute Via
Reinhold MessnerItaly33M1978 SprNepal
Peter HabelerAustria35M1978 SprNepal
Hans EnglW Germany34M1978 AutNepal
Ang Dorje SherpaNepal29M1978 AutNepal
Mingma Nuru SherpaNepal0M1978 AutNepal
Reinhold MessnerItaly35M1980 SumChina
Vladimir BalyberdinUSSR32M1982 SprNepal
Lawrence NielsonUSA35M1983 SprNepal
Haruyuki EndoJapan26M1983 AutNepal
Haruichi KawamuraJapan35M1983 AutNepal
Shomi SuzukiJapan30M1983 AutNepal
Hironobu KamuroJapan31M1983 AutNepal
Hiroshi YoshinoJapan33M1983 AutNepal
Christo ProdanovBulgaria41M1984 SprNepal
Ang Dorje SherpaNepal35M1984 SprNepal
Timothy Macartney-SnapeAustralia28M1984 AutChina
Gregory MortimerAustralia31M1984 AutChina
Zoltan DemjanCzechoslovakia29M1984 AutNepal
Jozef PsotkaCzechoslovakia50M1984 AutNepal
Ang Rita SherpaNepal36M1984 AutNepal
Ang Rita SherpaNepal36M1985 SprNepal
Noboru YamadaJapan35M1985 AutNepal
Erhard LoretanSwitzerland27M1986 SumChina
Jean TroilletSwitzerland38M1986 SumChina
Ang Rita SherpaNepal39M1987 WinNepal
Stephen VenablesUK34M1988 SprChina
Michel MetzgerFrance39M1988 AutNepal
Marc BatardFrance36M1988 AutNepal
Ang Rita SherpaNepal40M1988 AutNepal
Nima Rita SherpaNepal30M1988 AutNepal
Lydia BradeyNew Zealand27F1988 AutNepal
Jozef JustCzechoslovakia33M1988 AutNepal
Sonam Tshering SherpaNepal29M1989 SprNepal
Carlos LarreaMexico27M1989 AutNepal
Nima Rita SherpaNepal31M1989 AutNepal
Nurbu Jangbu SherpaNepal35M1989 AutNepal
Ang Rita SherpaNepal41M1990 SprNepal
Sergei ArsentievUSSR31M1990 SprChina
Grigori LuniakovUSSR35M1990 SprChina
Andrei TselischevUSSR26M1990 SprChina
Edmund ViestursUSA30M1990 SprChina
Anatoli MoshnikovUSSR37M1990 SprChina
Timothy Macartney-SnapeAustralia34M1990 SprNepal
Marc BatardFrance38M1990 AutNepal
Leopold SulovskyCzechoslovakia37M1991 SprChina
Battistino BonaliItaly28M1991 SprChina
Anatoli BoukreevUSSR33M1991 AutNepal
Vladimir BalyberdinUSSR42M1991 AutNepal
Ang Rita SherpaNepal43M1992 SprNepal
Alberto IriarteSpain23M1992 AutNepal
Felix IriarteSpain25M1992 AutNepal
Mario PanzeriItaly28M1992 AutNepal
Michael GroomAustralia33M1993 SprNepal
Vladimir BachkirovRussia41M1993 SprNepal
Ang Rita SherpaNepal44M1993 SprNepal
Oscar PuigSpain40M1993 SprNepal
Eric GramondFrance30M1993 AutNepal
Hubert GiotFrance39M1993 AutNepal
Scott FischerUSA38M1994 SprNepal
Ralph HessUSA34M1994 SprNepal
Lobsang Jangbu SherpaNepal23M1994 SprNepal
Steven SwensonUSA40M1994 SprChina
Lobsang Jangbu SherpaNepal24M1995 SprNepal
Lhakpa Dorje SherpaNepal29M1995 SprChina
Tenzing Nuru SherpaNepal25M1995 SprChina
Marco BianchiItaly32M1995 SprChina
Christian KuntnerItaly33M1995 SprChina
Alison HargreavesUK33F1995 SprChina
Ang Rita SherpaNepal46M1995 SprChina
Reinhard PatscheiderItaly38M1995 SprChina
Josef HindingAustria47M1995 SprChina
Anatoli BoukreevKazakhstan37M1995 SprChina
Anatoli BoukreevKazakhstan38M1996 SprNepal
Lobsang Jangbu SherpaNepal25M1996 SprNepal
Babu Chiri Sherpa Nepal30M1996 SprNepal
Lhakpa Dorje SherpaNepal30M1996 SprNepal
Edmund ViestursUSA36M1996 SprNepal
Ang Rita SherpaNepal47M1996 SprNepal
Goran KroppSweden29M1996 SprNepal
Jesus NovasSpain31M1996 SprNepal
Johann KammerlanderItaly39M1996 SprChina
Vladimir SouvigaKazakhstan43M1997 SprChina
Antoine De ChoudensFrance27M1997 SprChina
Eero GustafssonFinland29M1997 SprNepal
Pavle KozjekSlovenia38M1997 SprChina
Radek JarosCzech Republic34M1998 SprChina
Vladimir NosekCzech Republic34M1998 SprChina
Vladimir PlulikSlovakia35M1998 SprChina
Anatoli MoshnikovRussia45M1998 SprChina
Sergei ArsentievRussia39M1998 SprChina
Francys Distefano-ArsentievUSA40F1998 SprChina
Babu Chiri SherpaNepal33M1999 SprNepal
Vasili KopytkoUkraine34M1999 SprChina
Vladislav TerzyulUkraine45M1999 SprChina
Vladimir GorbachUkraine44M1999 SprChina
Joao GarciaPortugal31M1999 SprChina
Babu Chiri SherpaNepal33M1999 SprNepal
Heber OronaArgentina28M1999 SprChina
Edgar RicaurteEcuador39M1999 SprChina
Josef HurschlerSwitzerland38M2000 SprChina
Gheorghe DijmarescuUSA38M2000 SprChina
Denis UrubkoKazakhstan26M2000 SprNepal
Mark McDermottUK42M2001 SprChina
Theodor FritscheAustria51M2001 SprChina
Stefan GattAustria30M2001 SprChina
Christian TrommsdorffFrance36M2001 SprChina
Joerg StinglGermany39M2001 SprNepal
Juan LlanosSpain31M2001 SprChina
Juan UrteagaSpain45M2001 SprChina
Silvio MondinelliItaly42M2001 SprNepal
Edgar RicaurteEcuador41M2001 SprNepal
Alexei BolotovRussia39M2002 SprChina
Miroslav CabanCzech Republic38M2002 SprChina
Henri Van der MeulenNetherlands49M2002 SprChina
Nikolai TotmyaninRussia44M2003 SprChina
Pemba Dorje SherpaNepal27M2004 SprNepal
Namgya/Namgyal SherpaNepal32M2004 SprNepal
Dawa Gelu SherpaNepal31M2004 SprChina
Willem Van RooijenNetherlands36M2004 SprChina
Doichin BoyanovBulgaria27M2004 SprChina
Hristo HristovBulgaria26M2004 SprChina
Khetsun (Kaizun, Kai Zhong)China38M2004 SprChina
Laji (Lhagyi, La Ji)China34F2004 SprChina
Tashi Tsering (Zhaxi Ciren)China37M2004 SprChina
Lhakpa (Laba, La Ba)China39M2004 SprChina
Claudio BastrentazItaly38M2004 SprChina
Alessandro Mario BuscaItaly36M2004 SprChina
Lhakpa Tshering/Tshiri SherpaNepal28M2004 SprChina
Serap Jangbu SherpaNepal34M2004 SprChina
Karl UnterkircherItaly33M2004 SprChina
Pemba Nuru SherpaNepal31M2004 SprChina
Gerfried GoeschlAustria32M2005 SprChina
Marcin MiotkPoland32M2005 SprChina
Tshiring Jangbu SherpaNepal28M2006 SprChina
Patricio TorresEcuador31M2006 SprChina
Kami SherpaNepal39M2006 SprChina
David FojtikCzech Republic33M2006 SprChina
Vitor NegreteBrazil38M2006 SprChina
Lhakpa Nuru SherpaNepal34M2006 SprNepal
Nikolai TotmyaninRussia47M2006 SprChina
Christian StanglAustria39M2006 SprChina
Roberto PiantoniItaly28M2006 SprChina
Maxut ZhumayevKazakhstan30M2007 SprChina
Pemba Dorje SherpaNepal30M2007 SprChina
Pemba Dorje SherpaNepal30M2007 SprChina
Ngima Kanchha SherpaNepal27M2007 SprChina
Pemba Dorje SherpaNepal30M2007 SprChina
Romano BenetItaly45M2007 SprChina
Nives MeroiItaly45F2007 SprChina
Sergio ValentiniItaly49M2007 SprChina
Rodney William ColeUSA48M2007 SprChina
Kami SherpaNepal44M2007 SprChina
Luis RodriguezColombia40M2007 SprChina
Ludovic ChalleatFrance39M2009 SprChina
Frank ZiebarthGermany29M2009 SprChina
Chhuwang Nima SherpaNepal42M2010 SprNepal
Kami Rita SherpaNepal40M2010 SprNepal
Phura Kancha SherpaNepal33M2010 SprNepal
Pema Chhiring/Chhiri SherpaNepal26M2010 SprNepal
Thile Nurbu SherpaNepal35M2010 SprChina
Laval St. GermainCanada41M2010 SprChina
Chhuwang Nima SherpaNepal42M2010 SprNepal
Lhakpa Rita SherpaNepal43M2010 SprNepal
Mingma Dorje SherpaNepal40M2010 SprNepal
Phura Kancha SherpaNepal33M2010 SprNepal
Kami Rita SherpaNepal40M2010 SprNepal
Mingma Chhiri/Chhiring SherpaNepal41M2010 SprNepal
Ang Pasang SherpaNepal42M2010 SprNepal
Dawa Nuru SherpaNepal45M2010 SprNepal
Dawa Jangbu SherpaNepal30M2010 SprChina
Gerlinde KaltenbrunnerAustria39F2010 SprChina
Abele BlancItaly55M2010 SprChina
Marco CamandonaItaly39M2010 SprChina
Michele EnzioItaly33M2010 SprChina
Silvio MondinelliItaly51M2010 SprChina
Mahdi AhangIran31M2011 SprNepal
Lhakpa Tshering SherpaNepal38M2011 SprNepal
Helmut OrtnerAustria46M2011 SprChina
Ueli SteckSwitzerland35M2012 SprNepal
Tenzing SherpaNepal20M2012 SprNepal
Mariano GalvanArgentina32M2012 SprNepal
Ralf ArnoldGermany41M2012 SprChina
Rajendra JalalIndia40M2012 SprNepal
Thupten LobsangIndia37M2012 SprNepal
Thakpa TenzingIndia29M2012 SprNepal
Conrad AnkerUSA49M2012 SprNepal
Chang-Ho KimS Korea43M2013 SprNepal
Pemba Dorje SherpaNepal36M2013 SprNepal
Mohammed HossainBangladesh36M2013 SprNepal
Sung-Ho SeoS Korea33M2013 SprNepal
Lama SherpaNepal0M2013 SprNepal
Mingma Thinduk SherpaNepal30M2013 SprNepal
Oswaldo CartegenaEcuador40M2013 SprChina
Rafael VelezEcuador32M2013 SprChina
Esteban YanezEcuador23M2013 SprChina
Azim GheichisazIran34M2016 SprNepal
David RoeskeUSA35M2016 SprChina
Carla RualesEcuador33F2016 SprChina
Melissa ArnotUSA32F2016 SprChina
Courtney RichardsUSA35M2016 SprChina
Mingma Dorje SherpaNepal0M2017 SprNepal
Horia ColibasanuRomania40M2017 SprChina
Kalden PanjurIndia37M2017 SprNepal
Sonam PhuntsokIndia25M2017 SprNepal
Kunchok TenpaIndia41M2017 SprNepal
Kelsang Dorjee BhutiaIndia35M2017 SprNepal
Victor TrejoPeru31M2017 SprNepal
Kilian JornetSpain29M2017 SprChina
James BroomanUK37M2017 SprNepal
Adrian BallingerUK41M2017 SprChina
Johann WenzlAustria46M2017 SprNepal
Kilian JornetSpain29M2017 SprChina
Sonam Finju SherpaNepal32M2018 SprNepal
Rasmus KraghDenmark30M2019 SprNepal
Mingma Gyalje SherpaNepal34M2019 SprNepal
Juan PrietoChile32M2019 SprNepal
Anup RaiNepal33M2021 SprNepal

(Data Source: Himalayan Database)

The author: Paul Devaney is a native of Longford, is co-founder of the Irish Seven Summits challenge, and Director of Seven Summits Solutions Limited which provides Aerospace & Digital Design services. Paul is an amateur mountaineer and has completed 6 of the 7 Summits and attempted Everest in 2014 and 2015. In both seasons his expedition was halted due to major incidents (Avalanche in 2014, Earthquake in 2015). Paul has climbed and trained in the Alps and completed climbs from Alaska to Antarctica and from Jordan to Ecuador. He lives in London with his wife Rima and has been documenting and researching the Irish on Everest for the past nine seasons.

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