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The Seven Summits Challenge

The Seven Summits challenge was first completed by American Dick Bass in 1985 and involves climbing the highest peaks on all 7 continents including… Kilimanjaro (Africa), Elbrus (Europe), Aconcagua (S. America), Kosciuszko (Australia), Denali (N. America), Vinson (Antarctica) & Everest (Asia).

The Seven Summits challenge is split between the ‘Bass’ and ‘Morrow’ list – The difference between the two lists rests on a difference of opinion on what constitutes the continent of Australia. Some folks attempt the Bass list, others the Messner list and some complete both. The world record for the fastest Seven Summits challenge was once held by Irishman Ian McKeever in 2009 at 156 days, while the first person in the world to have completed the Seven Summits including descent to sea level was Noel Hanna. In recent years, as peaks become ever more accessible, further records are appearing and being broken.

The list of climbers from Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland who have completed the ‘Bass’ Seven Summits list is as follows…

  • Pat Falvey (39 & 47) from Co. Cork in 1997 & 2005
  • Clare O’Leary (34) from Co. Cork in 2005
  • Ian McKeever (37) from Co. Wicklow in 2007
  • Vivian Rigney (39) from Co. Dublin in 2010
  • Noel Hanna (42) from Co. Down in 2010
  • Neill Elliott (42) from Co. Fermanagh in 2015
  • Mary Scannell (41) from Co. Kerry in 2016
  • Terry Kelleher (56) from Co. Dublin in 2017

To the best of my knowledge, the list of climbers from Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland who have completed the ‘Messner’ Seven Summits list is as follows…

  • Ian McKeever from Co. Wicklow
  • Noel Hanna from Co. Down
  • Vivian Rigney from Co. Dublin
  • Bill Hanlon from Co. Wexford
  • Mary Scannell from Co. Kerry

If you have any new information or wish to correct any existing information, please feel free to contact me as I am always excited to receive new stats and more accurate inputs. 

Seven Summits Costs

The cost of completing the Seven Summits challenge varies depending on your choices and when it was attempted. Our Seven Summits project cost approximately €150,000 per person up to and including the last Everest attempt in 2015. 

The most costly expeditions are Antarctica and Everest. The disaster in 2014 meant a retry in 2015 (which ended after 25 days due to the  earthquake and avalanche), hence the combined Everest costs exceeded €70,000. Training and equipment over the years also added significantly to overall costs. 90% or more of the costs were self-funded, with less than 10% coming from local donors.

Ireland & Everest

Note: Collating Everest stats for Ireland is tricky because ‘Ireland’ can include climbers born in Republic of Ireland (Irish Citizens) or Northern Ireland (Irish or British Citizens), or residents of Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland at the time of their climb, or declaring their citizenship as Irish when registering to climb Everest. Picking those groups out of a citizenship-based data set is something of a pain, but to tell the full story of ‘Ireland & Everest’ you really need to dive down that rabbit hole. Hence for the purpose of this analysis I list successful Irish attempts to include all of the groups mentioned above. This is not a political statement, merely a method of identifying those who I believe should be included in this assessment. Thank you to the great folks who maintain and manage the Himalayan Database for enabling access to the raw data used for this assessment. The work of the late Elizabeth Hawley & her team is somewhat priceless. 

By May 2018, Everest had been successfully climbed 59 times by 49 different Irish climbers. In total, there has been 120 attempts to climb the mountain by 86 Irish climbers. The headline stats are as follows…

  • Everest has been climbed 59 times by 49 Irish climbers (7 women, 42 men) since the first Irish success in 1993.
  • Irish success rate on Everest is 49% (59/120), while Irish fatality rate on Everest is 0.017% (2/120).
  • The first climber from Ireland to reach the summit of Everest was Dawson Stelfox from Antrim in 1993.
  • The most summits is Noel Hanna (8) – Noel guides for the Russian team ‘Seven Summits Club’.
  • Pat Falvey, Lynne Hanna & Rob Smith have all summited Everest twice – once from each side.
  • The youngest Irish born person to reach the summit was Rob Mortell from Limerick (aged 26) in 2016.
  • The oldest Irish born person to reach the summit of Everest was Martin Byrne from Offaly (aged 58) in 2012.
  • The average age of successful Irish climbers on Everest is 40-41 years. 
  • The earliest summit date by an Irish climber is 7th May 2010 by Domhnall O’Dochertaigh.
  • The latest summit date by an Irish climber is 5th June 2005 by Grania Willis. 
  • The earliest summit time by an Irish climber is 01:10am on 21st May 2011 by Noel Hanna.
  • The latest summit time by an Irish climber is 11:36am on 22nd May 2007 by Bill Hanlon. 
  • Two Irish born climbers died while climbing Everest – Dr. Sean Egan in 2005 & John Delaney in 2011. 
  • Noel & Lynne Hanna hold the world record for the 1st married couple to summit together from both sides (2009 & 2016).
  • Charles Howard-Bury from Westmeath lead the 1st Reconnaissance Expedition to Everest in 1921 which included George Mallory.
  • Edmund Hillary’s grandmother came from the village of Clondra in Longford. His other grandparents were from Yorkshire in England.
  • R.W.G. Hingston from Passage West in Cork was medical officer & naturalist to the 1924 Everest expedition.
  • The worst disasters in the history of the Everest took place in 2014 (Avalanche) and 2015 (Earthquake) – The two years I attempted to climb it.
  • Ireland has the 17th most summits for any country in the world, tied with Austria and ahead of Norway, Poland & Mexico.

An Everest expedition typically lasts 60 days, with the first 20 days spent climbing 6000m peaks to adapt to the altitude, and slowly moving towards Base Camp. The next 20 days are spent making progressive advances up the mountain and back to base camp to adapt to the higher altitudes. Summit windows typically appear from 2nd week of May onward. The window requires the jet stream to move away from the summit of the mountain and might be 48 hours or a few days long. Normally the summit window closes by the start of the final week of May. 

The cost of an Everest expedition can range from €25k on the budget end to €80k on the higher end. The average cost of joining a well equipped, experienced and well supported team is approximately €35-45k. Those paying under €30k should do their homework carefully to ensure they are sufficiently experienced and that the support provided is sufficient.  

The first team from Ireland to successfully climb Everest in 1993 took the North Ridge (1960 Chinese route), and included: Dawson Stelfox (Leader); Frank Nugent (Deputy Leader); Dermot Somers; Robbie Fenlon; Mike Barry; Richard O’Neill-Dean; Mick Murphy and Tony Burke. The full list of all successful Irish summits is shown below. 

Irish Successes on Everest

#Climber NameAgeComes FromAddress AtRoute TakenSummit DateSummit TimeYear
1Dawson Stelfox **35AntrimAntrimNorth (Tibet)27/05/199310:071993
2Pat Falvey *37CorkCorkNorth (Tibet)27/05/199509:001995
3Mick Murphy *44CorkCorkSouth (Nepal)22/05/200310:002003
4Gerard McDonnell *32LimerickUSASouth (Nepal)22/05/200311:102003
5Terence Bannon **35DownDownNorth (Tibet)31/05/200308:002003
6Pat Falvey *46CorkKerrySouth (Nepal)18/05/200406:452004
7Clare O'Leary *33CorkCorkSouth (Nepal)18/05/200406:452004
8Samantha O'Carroll *27CorkCorkSouth (Nepal)27/05/200410:202004
9Humphrey Murphy *41DublinDonegalNorth (Tibet)30/05/200507:102005
10Grania Willis *49DublinDublinNorth (Tibet)05/06/200506:002005
11Fergal Corrigan **31FermanaghTyroneNorth (Tibet)17/05/200606:402006
12Neill Elliot **33FermanaghFermanaghNorth (Tibet)17/05/200606:402006
13Raymond Hassard **33FermanaghFermanaghNorth (Tibet)17/05/200606:402006
14Noel Hanna **39DownDownNorth (Tibet)21/05/200607:352006
15Ian McKeever *37WicklowWicklowNorth (Tibet)16/05/200708:002007
16Tom Lehane *49CorkEnglandSouth (Nepal)17/05/200707:302007
17Hannah Shields **42DerryDerryNorth (Tibet)19/05/200707:002007
18Bill Hanlon *52WexfordCanadaSouth (Nepal)22/05/200711:362007
19Nigel Hart **41AntrimAntrimSouth (Nepal)23/05/200706:292007
20Roger McMorrow **31AntrimDublinSouth (Nepal)24/05/200707:552007
21Michael O'Dwyer *32DublinDublinSouth (Nepal)24/05/200707:552007
22John Dowd *53KerryKerrySouth (Nepal)21/05/200807:452008
23Anselm Murphy ***24London-IrishEnglandSouth (Nepal)21/05/200810:302008
24Ian Taylor *29KildareKildareSouth (Nepal)23/05/200806:102008
25Noel Hanna **42DownDownSouth (Nepal)21/05/200904:002009
26Lynne Hanna **47DownDownSouth (Nepal)21/05/200904:002009
27Christopher Jones ***45UnknownGalwaySouth (Nepal)21/05/200907:402009
28Domhnall O'Dochartaigh ***35UnknownCanadaSouth (Nepal)07/05/201006:002010
29James Haydock ****48LancashireDublinSouth (Nepal)22/05/201006:002010
30Noel Hanna **43DownDownSouth (Nepal)23/05/201003:152010
31Vivian Rigney *39DublinUSASouth (Nepal)23/05/201009:002010
32Fergus White *37DublinCorkSouth (Nepal)23/05/201006:452010
33Geoffrey Chambers **46ArmaghArmaghSouth (Nepal)16/05/201106:152011
34Basil Geoghegan *43DublinDublinSouth (Nepal)19/05/201107:252011
35Gavin Bate ****44KentDownSouth (Nepal)20/05/201110:002011
36Noel Hanna **44DownDownNorth (Tibet)21/05/201101:102011
37Mark Quinn *27LimerickLimerickNorth (Tibet)21/05/201105:452011
38Martin Byrne *58OffalyTipperaryNorth (Tibet)26/05/201111:302011
39Noel Hanna **45DownDownNorth (Tibet)20/05/201208:002012
40Cian O'Brolchain *32DublinDublinSouth (Nepal)25/05/201206:002012
41Albert Connaughton *49DublinDublinSouth (Nepal)25/05/201207:002012
42Peter O'Connell *29GalwayGalwaySouth (Nepal)13/05/201306:302013
43Jason Black *42DonegalDonegalNorth (Tibet)19/05/201307:002013
44Noel Hanna **46DownDownNorth (Tibet)20/05/201305:302013
45Brian Meskell *33LimerickLimerickNorth (Tibet)22/05/201306:002013
46Kieran Lally *54MayoDublinSouth (Nepal)23/05/201305:302013
47Noel Hanna **47DownDownNorth (Tibet)24/05/201406:302014
48Derek Mahon *52DublinDublinNorth (Tibet)24/05/201406:302014
49Rob Smith **43TyroneScotlandNorth (Tibet)25/05/201408:002014
50Mary Scannell *41KerryEnglandSouth (Nepal)13/05/201609:452016
51Noel Hanna **49DownDownNorth (Tibet)21/05/201606:452016
52Lynne Hanna **54DownDownNorth (Tibet)21/05/201606:452016
53Robert Mortell *26LimerickLimerickNorth (Tibet)23/05/201608:452016
54John Burke *38ClareClareSouth (Nepal)16/05/201709:302017
55Terry Kelleher *56DublinDublinSouth (Nepal)22/05/201707:302017
56Rob Smith **46TyroneScotlandSouth (Nepal)22/05/201704:402017
57Rory McHugh *40DublinEnglandSouth (Nepal)26/05/201711:002017
58Louise McEvoy *DublinUSASouth (Nepal)16/05/2018TBC2018
59Adrian McNally *41MeathMeathSouth (Nepal)19/05/2018TBC2018

Irish Successes (1993-2017) - Climber / Home / Year / Route

undefined: noneDawson StelfoxDawson Stelfox: noneAntrimAntrim: none19931993: noneNorthNorth: 1Pat FalveyPat Falvey: noneCorkCork: none19951995: noneNorthNorth: 120042004: noneSouthSouth: 1Terence BannonTerence Bannon: noneDownDown: none20032003: noneNorthNorth: 1Mick MurphyMick Murphy: noneCorkCork: none20032003: noneSouthSouth: 1Gerard McDonnellGerard McDonnell: noneLimerickLimerick: none20032003: noneSouthSouth: 1Clare O'LearyClare O'Leary: noneCorkCork: none20042004: noneSouthSouth: 1Samantha O'CarrollSamantha O'Carroll: noneCorkCork: none20042004: noneSouthSouth: 1Humphrey MurphyHumphrey Murphy: noneDublinDublin: none20052005: noneNorthNorth: 1Grania WillisGrania Willis: noneDublinDublin: none20052005: noneNorthNorth: 1Raymond HassardRaymond Hassard: noneFermanaghFermanagh: none20062006: noneNorthNorth: 1Noel HannaNoel Hanna: noneDownDown: none20062006: noneNorthNorth: 120092009: noneSouthSouth: 120102010: noneSouthSouth: 120112011: noneNorthNorth: 120122012: noneNorthNorth: 120132013: noneNorthNorth: 120142014: noneNorthNorth: 120162016: noneNorthNorth: 1Fergal CorriganFergal Corrigan: noneFermanaghFermanagh: none20062006: noneNorthNorth: 1Neill ElliotNeill Elliot: noneFermanaghFermanagh: none20062006: noneNorthNorth: 1Ian McKeeverIan McKeever: noneWicklowWicklow: none20072007: noneNorthNorth: 1Bill HanlonBill Hanlon: noneWexfordWexford: none20072007: noneSouthSouth: 1Nigel HartNigel Hart: noneAntrimAntrim: none20072007: noneSouthSouth: 1Roger McMorrowRoger McMorrow: noneAntrimAntrim: none20072007: noneSouthSouth: 1Michael O'DwyerMichael O'Dwyer: noneDublinDublin: none20072007: noneSouthSouth: 1Tom LehaneTom Lehane: noneCorkCork: none20072007: noneSouthSouth: 1Hannah ShieldsHannah Shields: noneDerryDerry: none20072007: noneNorthNorth: 1John DowdJohn Dowd: noneKerryKerry: none20082008: noneSouthSouth: 1Anselm MurphyAnselm Murphy: noneLondon-IrishLondon-Irish: none20082008: noneSouthSouth: 1Ian TaylorIan Taylor: noneKildareKildare: none20082008: noneSouthSouth: 1Lynne HannaLynne Hanna: noneDownDown: none20092009: noneSouthSouth: 120162016: noneNorthNorth: 1Christopher JonesChristopher Jones: noneUnknownUnknown: none20092009: noneSouthSouth: 1Domhnall O'DochartaighDomhnall O'Dochartaigh: noneUnknownUnknown: none20102010: noneSouthSouth: 1James HaydockJames Haydock: noneUK/DublinUK/Dublin: none20102010: noneSouthSouth: 1Vivian RigneyVivian Rigney: noneDublinDublin: none20102010: noneSouthSouth: 1Fergus WhiteFergus White: noneDublinDublin: none20102010: noneSouthSouth: 1Geoffrey ChambersGeoffrey Chambers: noneArmaghArmagh: none20112011: noneSouthSouth: 1Mark QuinnMark Quinn: noneLimerickLimerick: none20112011: noneNorthNorth: 1Martin ByrneMartin Byrne: noneOffalyOffaly: none20112011: noneNorthNorth: 1Basil GeogheganBasil Geoghegan: noneDublinDublin: none20112011: noneSouthSouth: 1Gavin BateGavin Bate: noneKent/AntrimKent/Antrim: none20112011: noneSouthSouth: 1Cian O'BrolchainCian O'Brolchain: noneDublinDublin: none20122012: noneSouthSouth: 1Albert ConnaughtonAlbert Connaughton: noneDublinDublin: none20122012: noneSouthSouth: 1Peter O'ConnellPeter O'Connell: noneGalwayGalway: none20132013: noneSouthSouth: 1Jason BlackJason Black: noneDonegalDonegal: none20132013: noneNorthNorth: 1Brian MeskellBrian Meskell: noneLimerickLimerick: none20132013: noneNorthNorth: 1Kieran LallyKieran Lally: noneMayoMayo: none20132013: noneSouthSouth: 1Derek MahonDerek Mahon: noneDublinDublin: none20142014: noneNorthNorth: 1Rob SmithRob Smith: noneTyroneTyrone: none20142014: noneNorthNorth: 120172017: noneSouthSouth: 1Mary ScannellMary Scannell: noneKerryKerry: none20162016: noneSouthSouth: 1Robert MortellRobert Mortell: noneLimerickLimerick: none20162016: noneNorthNorth: 1John BurkeJohn Burke: noneClareClare: none20172017: noneSouthSouth: 1Terry KelleherTerry Kelleher: noneDublinDublin: none20172017: noneSouthSouth: 1Rory McHughRory McHugh: noneDublinDublin: none20172017: noneSouthSouth: 1

(Blue = South via Nepal, Grey = North via Tibet)

Irish Successes on Everest - By County

Above list, diagram & map captures the 59 successful ascents of Everest by Irish climbers (combination of climbers from Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland or overseas Irish Citizens or climbers with Irish residency) from 1993 to 2018. This list has been researched using data from the Himalayan Database along with independent research to produce the first fully complete record of the Irish on Everest. The map above is restricted to just those from Irish counties. Please contact Paul with any corrections/updates and please cite this website when using stats or info sourced here. 

Irish Successes on Everest (1993-2017) - County Breakdown

It is probably no surprise that Dublin is top of the list, since 1.4m of the entire population of the island (6.5m) resides in County Dublin. However it may be a surprise that Down is right on its tail. This is primarily due to to the climbing prowess of the Hanna household, with Johannesburg based Noel and Lynne jointly smashing records and pushing Down up the list. Cork, Limerick and Antrim make up the remainder of the top 5. In total, 19 counties across the island of Ireland can claim 1 or more summits of Everest.

82221111111111111111111111111111111111111111111Antrim 3AntrimArmagh 1ArmaghClare 1ClareCork 6CorkDerry 1DerryDonegal 1DonegalDown 11DownDublin 11DublinFermanagh 3FermanaghGalway 1GalwayKent/Antrim 1Kent/AntrimKerry 2KerryKildare 1KildareLimerick 4LimerickLondon-Irish 1London-IrishMayo 1MayoOffaly 1OffalyTyrone 2TyroneUK/Dublin 1UK/DublinUnknown 2UnknownWexford 1WexfordWicklow 1WicklowAlbert Connaughton 1Albert ConnaughtonAnselm Murphy 1Anselm MurphyBasil Geoghegan 1Basil GeogheganBill Hanlon 1Bill HanlonBrian Meskell 1Brian MeskellChristopher Jones 1Christopher JonesCian O'Brolchain 1Cian O'BrolchainClare O'Leary 1Clare O'LearyDawson Stelfox 1Dawson StelfoxDerek Mahon 1Derek MahonDomhnall O'Dochartaigh 1Domhnall O'DochartaighFergal Corrigan 1Fergal CorriganFergus White 1Fergus WhiteGavin Bate 1Gavin BateGeoffrey Chambers 1Geoffrey ChambersGerard McDonnell 1Gerard McDonnellGrania Willis 1Grania WillisHannah Shields 1Hannah ShieldsHumphrey Murphy 1Humphrey MurphyIan McKeever 1Ian McKeeverIan Taylor 1Ian TaylorJames Haydock 1James HaydockJason Black 1Jason BlackJohn Burke 1John BurkeJohn Dowd 1John DowdKieran Lally 1Kieran LallyLynne Hanna 2Lynne HannaMark Quinn 1Mark QuinnMartin Byrne 1Martin ByrneMary Scannell 1Mary ScannellMichael O'Dwyer 1Michael O'DwyerMick Murphy 1Mick MurphyNeill Elliot 1Neill ElliotNigel Hart 1Nigel HartNoel Hanna 8Noel HannaPat Falvey 2Pat FalveyPeter O'Connell 1Peter O'ConnellRaymond Hassard 1Raymond HassardRob Smith 2Rob SmithRobert Mortell 1Robert MortellRoger McMorrow 1Roger McMorrowRory McHugh 1Rory McHughSamantha O'Carroll 1Samantha O'CarrollTerence Bannon 1Terence BannonTerry Kelleher 1Terry KelleherTom Lehane 1Tom LehaneVivian Rigney 1Vivian Rigney

Irish Successes on Everest (1993-2017) - Route Selection

The South side (via Nepal) is the most popular route taken by Irish climbers who reached the summit. Since 2011, there has been a distinct shift of some to the North side (via Tibet), which was expected to increase following the introduction of restrictions and the difficulties on the Nepal side in 2014 & 2015. However this did not materialise in 2017, and all Irish attempts in 2018 were from the South (Nepal) side. 

621111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111Albert Connaughton 1Albert ConnaughtonAnselm Murphy 1Anselm MurphyBasil Geoghegan 1Basil GeogheganBill Hanlon 1Bill HanlonBrian Meskell 1Brian MeskellChristopher Jones 1Christopher JonesCian O'Brolchain 1Cian O'BrolchainClare O'Leary 1Clare O'LearyDawson Stelfox 1Dawson StelfoxDerek Mahon 1Derek MahonDomhnall O'Dochartaigh 1Domhnall O'DochartaighFergal Corrigan 1Fergal CorriganFergus White 1Fergus WhiteGavin Bate 1Gavin BateGeoffrey Chambers 1Geoffrey ChambersGerard McDonnell 1Gerard McDonnellGrania Willis 1Grania WillisHannah Shields 1Hannah ShieldsHumphrey Murphy 1Humphrey MurphyIan McKeever 1Ian McKeeverIan Taylor 1Ian TaylorJames Haydock 1James HaydockJason Black 1Jason BlackJohn Burke 1John BurkeJohn Dowd 1John DowdKieran Lally 1Kieran LallyLynne Hanna 2Lynne HannaMark Quinn 1Mark QuinnMartin Byrne 1Martin ByrneMary Scannell 1Mary ScannellMichael O'Dwyer 1Michael O'DwyerMick Murphy 1Mick MurphyNeill Elliot 1Neill ElliotNigel Hart 1Nigel HartNoel Hanna 8Noel HannaPat Falvey 2Pat FalveyPeter O'Connell 1Peter O'ConnellRaymond Hassard 1Raymond HassardRob Smith 2Rob SmithRobert Mortell 1Robert MortellRoger McMorrow 1Roger McMorrowRory McHugh 1Rory McHughSamantha O'Carroll 1Samantha O'CarrollTerence Bannon 1Terence BannonTerry Kelleher 1Terry KelleherTom Lehane 1Tom LehaneVivian Rigney 1Vivian RigneyNorth 24NorthSouth 33South
5544333333332222211111North 24NorthSouth 33South1993 119931995 119952003 320032004 320042005 220052006 420062007 720072008 320082009 320092010 520102011 620112012 320122013 520132014 320142016 420162017 42017

Irish Successes on Everest (1993-2017) - Prior 8000m Climbs?

It is often said that the best preparation for a successful Everest expedition, is to climb one of the other fourteen 8000m peaks to gain extreme altitude experience. While some climbers attempt or climb one or more of these peaks ahead of Everest, the statistics show that 64% of all successful Irish climbers had never climbed or attempted an 8000m peak prior to their first Everest expedition. In addition, 58% of successful Irish climbers on Everest had never climbed a Himalayan peak > 7000m prior to their first Everest success. Whatever your believes are on prior 8000m experience, the Irish statistics would suggest that it is definitely not a prerequisite to success.

11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111Albert Connaughton 1Albert ConnaughtonAnselm Murphy 1Anselm MurphyBasil Geoghegan 1Basil GeogheganBill Hanlon 1Bill HanlonBrian Meskell 1Brian MeskellChristopher Jones 1Christopher JonesCian O'Brolchain 1Cian O'BrolchainClare O'Leary 1Clare O'LearyDawson Stelfox 1Dawson StelfoxDerek Mahon 1Derek MahonDomhnall O'Dochartaigh 1Domhnall O'DochartaighFergal Corrigan 1Fergal CorriganFergus White 1Fergus WhiteGavin Bate 1Gavin BateGeoffrey Chambers 1Geoffrey ChambersGerard McDonnell 1Gerard McDonnellGrania Willis 1Grania WillisHannah Shields 1Hannah ShieldsHumphrey Murphy 1Humphrey MurphyIan McKeever 1Ian McKeeverIan Taylor 1Ian TaylorJames Haydock 1James HaydockJason Black 1Jason BlackJohn Burke 1John BurkeJohn Dowd 1John DowdKieran Lally 1Kieran LallyLynne Hanna 1Lynne HannaMark Quinn 1Mark QuinnMartin Byrne 1Martin ByrneMary Scannell 1Mary ScannellMichael O'Dwyer 1Michael O'DwyerMick Murphy 1Mick MurphyNeill Elliot 1Neill ElliotNigel Hart 1Nigel HartNoel Hanna 1Noel HannaPat Falvey 1Pat FalveyPeter O'Connell 1Peter O'ConnellRaymond Hassard 1Raymond HassardRob Smith 1Rob SmithRobert Mortell 1Robert MortellRoger McMorrow 1Roger McMorrowRory McHugh 1Rory McHughSamantha O'Carroll 1Samantha O'CarrollTerence Bannon 1Terence BannonTerry Kelleher 1Terry KelleherTom Lehane 1Tom LehaneVivian Rigney 1Vivian RigneyAttempted 5AttemptedNo 30NoYes 12Yes

There are many ways to skin a cat, and gaining skill and capability is as possible in the Alps or Alaska as it is in the Himalayas. While experience at extreme altitude is without doubt a benefit which should be taken if possible, many have climbed Everest with just prior 6000-7000m peak experience. Some have great physiology which allows them to endure more successfully at higher altitudes, some have great luck which prevented them from getting into trouble. The magic formula perhaps is a combination of large skill base, discipline, prior long expedition experience, ability to suffer for long periods without complaining and ability to follow orders while reading your environment quickly and effectively. Each successful climber will find their own magic formula. 

Irish Attempts on Everest - Climber / Year / Summit / Altitude

Up to end of 2017, there had been 116 Irish attempts on Everest over the years by 84 climbers. While 57 of those 116 attempts proved successful, it is fascinating to see how close many others came to the summit. In particular it is fascinating to see how many climbers had to turn around above 8000m. This must have been a very difficult decision for each to make, and anyone who has been to extreme altitude will acknowledge the incredible strength and effort it takes to get that far. It is also remarkable to note how many people did not make it on the first attempt. Gavin Bate reached the summit on his 5th attempt. Pat Falvey had two successes, but also turned around on two attempts, once with just 50 meters from the summit. Martin Byrne finally made it on his 4th expedition. Others were not so lucky but their persistence is incredibly noteworthy, including Patricia McGuirk who made three attempts, getting to 8650m on the third time, but not reaching the summit. It is also interesting to see how high each of the 1993 team managed to reach on that first expedition. Dawson rightly gets the plaudits for reaching the summit, but many of his teammates almost made it too. Interestingly only one of that team went back to try again – Mick Murphy would succeed on the second attempt 10 years later in 2003.

undefined: noneMeryon BridgesMeryon Bridges: none19761976: noneNoNo: noneNo DataNo Data: 1Dawson StelfoxDawson Stelfox: none19931993: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Tony BurkeTony Burke: none19931993: noneNoNo: none85008500: 1Richard O'Neill-DeanRichard O'Neill-Dean: none19931993: noneNoNo: none80008000: 1Mike BarryMike Barry: none19931993: noneNoNo: none77007700: 1Mick MurphyMick Murphy: none19931993: noneNoNo: none77007700: 120032003: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Dermot SomersDermot Somers: none19931993: noneNoNo: none77007700: 1Pat FalveyPat Falvey: none19931993: noneNoNo: none78007800: 119951995: noneYesYes: none88488848: 120032003: noneNoNo: none88008800: 120042004: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Frank NugentFrank Nugent: none19931993: noneNoNo: none86808680: 1Robbie FenlonRobbie Fenlon: none19931993: noneNoNo: none85008500: 1Sean SmithSean Smith: none19951995: noneNoNo: noneNo DataNo Data: 1Greg ConleyGreg Conley: none19971997: noneNoNo: none64006400: 1Josephine KieranJosephine Kieran: none19981998: noneNoNo: none87508750: 1Carl FlynnCarl Flynn: none19991999: noneNoNo: none79007900: 1Marcella DunneMarcella Dunne: none19991999: noneNoNo: noneNo DataNo Data: 1Gavin BateGavin Bate: none20002000: noneNoNo: none83008300: 120052005: noneNoNo: none87608760: 120072007: noneNoNo: none86008600: 120092009: noneNoNo: none85008500: 120112011: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Mick LongMick Long: none20012001: noneNoNo: noneNo DataNo Data: 120042004: noneNoNo: none76007600: 1William CanningWilliam Canning: none20022002: noneNoNo: none86008600: 1John NevilleJohn Neville: none20022002: noneNoNo: none75007500: 1Patricia McGuirkPatricia McGuirk: none20022002: noneNoNo: none70007000: 120032003: noneNoNo: none74007400: 120062006: noneNoNo: none86508650: 1Terence BannonTerence Bannon: none20032003: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Richard DouganRichard Dougan: none20032003: noneNoNo: none86508650: 1Hannah ShieldsHannah Shields: none20032003: noneNoNo: none84008400: 120072007: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Clare O'LearyClare O'Leary: none20032003: noneNoNo: none73007300: 120042004: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1George ShortenGeorge Shorten: none20032003: noneNoNo: none73007300: 120062006: noneNoNo: none74007400: 1Stephen SynnottStephen Synnott: none20032003: noneNoNo: none64006400: 1Martin DugganMartin Duggan: none20032003: noneNoNo: none52005200: 1Gerard McDonnellGerard McDonnell: none20032003: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1John JoyceJohn Joyce: none20042004: noneNoNo: none61006100: 1Mark CarrMark Carr: none20042004: noneNoNo: noneNo DataNo Data: 1Bridget Rossiter-O'FlynnBridget Rossiter-O'Flynn: none20042004: noneNoNo: noneNo DataNo Data: 1Samantha O'CarrollSamantha O'Carroll: none20042004: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Lynne StarkLynne Stark: none20052005: noneNoNo: none70507050: 1Sean EganSean Egan: none20052005: noneNo (D)No (D): none60006000: 1Humphrey MurphyHumphrey Murphy: none20052005: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Grania WillisGrania Willis: none20052005: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Noel HannaNoel Hanna: none20052005: noneNoNo: none70507050: 120062006: noneYesYes: none88488848: 120092009: noneYesYes: none88488848: 120102010: noneYesYes: none88488848: 120112011: noneYesYes: none88488848: 120122012: noneYesYes: none88488848: 120132013: noneYesYes: none88488848: 120142014: noneYesYes: none88488848: 120152015: noneNoNo: none58005800: 120162016: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Fergal CorriganFergal Corrigan: none20062006: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Geoffrey WeirGeoffrey Weir: none20062006: noneNoNo: none73007300: 120072007: noneNoNo: none70007000: 1Neill ElliotNeill Elliot: none20062006: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Raymond HassardRaymond Hassard: none20062006: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Ian McKeeverIan McKeever: none20072007: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Tom LehaneTom Lehane: none20072007: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Bill HanlonBill Hanlon: none20072007: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Nigel HartNigel Hart: none20072007: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Roger McMorrowRoger McMorrow: none20072007: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Michael O'DwyerMichael O'Dwyer: none20072007: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Martin ByrneMartin Byrne: none20072007: noneNoNo: none74007400: 120092009: noneNoNo: none87508750: 120102010: noneNoNo: none83008300: 120112011: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Patrick DoylePatrick Doyle: none20072007: noneNoNo: none71007100: 1John DowdJohn Dowd: none20082008: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Anselm MurphyAnselm Murphy: none20082008: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Timothy O'ConnorTimothy O'Connor: none20082008: noneNoNo: none85008500: 1Peter WhitePeter White: none20082008: noneNoNo: none80008000: 1James O'LearyJames O'Leary: none20082008: noneNoNo: none73007300: 1Ian TaylorIan Taylor: none20082008: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Graham KinchGraham Kinch: none20082008: noneNoNo: none85008500: 1Christopher JonesChristopher Jones: none20092009: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Lynne HannaLynne Hanna: none20092009: noneYesYes: none88488848: 120162016: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Eddie GreeneEddie Greene: none20092009: noneNoNo: none87008700: 1Vivian RigneyVivian Rigney: none20102010: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Domhnall O'DochartaighDomhnall O'Dochartaigh: none20102010: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1James HaydockJames Haydock: none20102010: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Fergus WhiteFergus White: none20102010: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Geoffrey ChambersGeoffrey Chambers: none20112011: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Basil GeogheganBasil Geoghegan: none20112011: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Mark QuinnMark Quinn: none20112011: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1John DelaneyJohn Delaney: none20112011: noneNo (D)No (D): none88008800: 1Cian O'BrolchainCian O'Brolchain: none20122012: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Albert ConnaughtonAlbert Connaughton: none20122012: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Peter O'ConnellPeter O'Connell: none20132013: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Jason BlackJason Black: none20132013: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Kieran LallyKieran Lally: none20132013: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Brian MeskellBrian Meskell: none20132013: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Patrick ButlerPatrick Butler: none20142014: noneNoNo: none70007000: 1Paul DevaneyPaul Devaney: none20142014: noneNoNo: none53805380: 120152015: noneNoNo: none57005700: 1Niall O'ByrnesNiall O'Byrnes: none20142014: noneNoNo: none53805380: 1Derek MahonDerek Mahon: none20142014: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Rob SmithRob Smith: none20142014: noneYesYes: none88488848: 120152015: noneNoNo: none61006100: 120172017: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Paul GreenanPaul Greenan: none20152015: noneNoNo: none61006100: 1Mary ScannellMary Scannell: none20162016: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Robert MortellRobert Mortell: none20162016: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1John BurkeJohn Burke: none20172017: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Terry KelleherTerry Kelleher: none20172017: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Rory McHughRory McHugh: none20172017: noneYesYes: none88488848: 1Justin CondonJustin Condon: none20172017: noneNoNo: none72007200: 1

(Red colour denotes climbers who died during the attempt)

Irish Attempts on Everest - Listing

#NameAgeComes From...Address In...ReachedSummitYear
1Meryon Bridges31EnglandCorkNo DataNo1976
2Dawson Stelfox35AntrimAntrim8848Yes1993
3Frank Nugent44DublinDublin8680No1993
4Robbie Fenlon28DonegalDonegal8500No1993
5Tony Burke29IrelandWales8500No1993
6Richard O'Neill-Dean39IrelandNew Zealand8000No1993
7Mike Barry39KerryKerry7700No1993
8Mick Murphy33CorkCork7700No1993
9Dermot Somers45WicklowWicklow7700No1993
10Pat Falvey36CorkCork7800No1993
11Pat Falvey37CorkCork8848Yes1995
12Sean Smith33IrelandEnglandNo DataNo1995
13Greg Conley49IrelandScotland6400No1997
14Josephine Kieran44LouthLouth8750No1998
15Carl Flynn44DublinDublin7900No1999
16Marcella Dunne42DublinDublinNo DataNo1999
17Gavin Bate33EnglandDown8300No2000
18Mick Long40KerryKerryNo DataNo2001
19William Canning35TyroneTyrone8600No2002
20John Neville26IrelandCork7500No2002
21Patricia McGuirk42KerryKerry7000No2002
22Mick Murphy44CorkCork8848Yes2003
23Gerard McDonnell32LimerickUSA8848Yes2003
24Terence Bannon35DownDown8848Yes2003
25Pat Falvey45KerryKerry8800No2003
26Richard Dougan26ArmaghArmagh8650No2003
27Hannah Shields38DerryDerry8400No2003
28Patricia McGuirk43KerryKerry7400No2003
29Clare O'Leary31CorkCork7300No2003
30George Shorten41CorkCork7300No2003
31Stephen Synnott46DownDown6400No2003
32Martin Duggan50ArmaghArmagh5200No2003
33Pat Falvey46CorkKerry8848Yes2004
34Clare O'Leary33CorkCork8848Yes2004
35Samantha O'Carroll27CorkCork8848Yes2004
36Mick Long43KerryKerry7600No2004
37John Joyce43GalwayGalway6100No2004
38Mark Carr52DownDownNo DataNo2004
39Bridget Rossiter-O'Flynn43WexfordWexfordNo DataNo2004
40Humphrey Murphy41DublinDonegal8848Yes2005
41Grania Willis49DublinDublin8848Yes2005
42Gavin Bate38EnglandDown8760No2005
43Noel Hanna38DownDown7050No2005
44Lynne Stark43DownDown7050No2005
45Sean Egan (D)63ClareCanada6000No2005
46Fergal Corrigan31FermanaghTyrone8848Yes2006
47Neill Elliot33FermanaghFermanagh8848Yes2006
48Raymond Hassard33FermanaghFermanagh8848Yes2006
49Noel Hanna39DownDown8848Yes2006
50Patricia McGuirk46KerryKerry8650No2006
51George Shorten45CorkCork7400No2006
52Geoffrey Weir46DownDown7300No2006
53Ian McKeever37WicklowWicklow8848Yes2007
54Tom Lehane49CorkEngland8848Yes2007
55Hannah Shields42DerryDerry8848Yes2007
56Bill Hanlon52WexfordCanada8848Yes2007
57Nigel Hart41AntrimAntrim8848Yes2007
58Roger McMorrow31AntrimDublin8848Yes2007
59Michael O'Dwyer32DublinDublin8848Yes2007
60Gavin Bate40EnglandDown8600No2007
61Martin Byrne54TipperaryTipperary7400No2007
62Patrick Doyle42IrelandEngland7100No2007
63Geoffrey Weir47DownDown7000No2007
64John Dowd53KerryKerry8848Yes2008
65Anselm Murphy24London-IrishEngland8848Yes2008
66Ian Taylor29KildareKildare8848Yes2008
67Graham Kinch29DublinDublin8500No2008
68Timothy O'Connor31KerryKerry8500No2008
69Peter White62DublinDublin8000No2008
70James O'Leary28CorkCork7300No2008
71Noel Hanna42DownDown8848Yes2009
72Lynne Hanna47DownDown8848Yes2009
73Christopher Jones45IrelandGalway8848Yes2009
74Martin Byrne56TipperaryTipperary8750No2009
75Eddie Greene41LouthLouth8700No2009
76Gavin Bate42EnglandDown8500No2009
77Domhnall O'Dochartaigh35IrelandCanada8848Yes2010
78James Haydock48EnglandDublin8848Yes2010
79Noel Hanna43DownDown8848Yes2010
80Vivian Rigney39DublinUSA8848Yes2010
81Fergus White37DublinCork8848Yes2010
82Martin Byrne57TipperaryTipperary8300No2010
83Geoffrey Chambers46ArmaghArmagh8848Yes2011
84Basil Geoghegan43DublinDublin8848Yes2011
85Gavin Bate44EnglandDown8848Yes2011
86Noel Hanna44DownDown8848Yes2011
87Mark Quinn27LimerickLimerick8848Yes2011
88Martin Byrne58OffalyTipperary8848Yes2011
89John Delaney (D)41KildareKildare8800No2011
90Noel Hanna45DownDown8848Yes2012
91Cian O'Brolchain32DublinDublin8848Yes2012
92Albert Connaughton49DublinDublin8848Yes2012
93Peter O'Connell29GalwayGalway8848Yes2013
94Jason Black42DonegalDonegal8848Yes2013
95Noel Hanna46DownDown8848Yes2013
96Brian Meskell33LimerickLimerick8848Yes2013
97Kieran Lally54MayoDublin8848Yes2013
98Noel Hanna47DownDown8848Yes2014
99Derek Mahon52DublinDublin8848Yes2014
100Rob Smith43TyroneScotland8848Yes2014
101Patrick Butler59AntrimAntrim7000No2014
102Paul Devaney36LongfordLongford5380No2014
103Niall O'Byrnes36KildareKildare5380No2014
104Paul Greenan38DublinDublin6100No2015
105Rob Smith44TyroneScotland6100No2015
106Noel Hanna48DownDown5800No2015
107Paul Devaney37LongfordLongford5700No2015
108Mary Scannell41KerryEngland8848Yes2016
109Noel Hanna49DownDown8848Yes2016
110Lynne Hanna54DownDown8848Yes2016
111Robert Mortell26LimerickLimerick8848Yes2016
112John Burke38ClareClare8848Yes2017
113Terry Kelleher56DublinDublin8848Yes2017
114Rob Smith46TyroneScotland8848Yes2017
115Rory McHugh40DublinEngland8848Yes2017
116Justin Condon43DublinUSA7200No2017

D = Denotes climbers who died during the attempt

Total Everest Summits

According to Everest blogger Alan Arnette, Everest had been successfully climbed 8306 times by 4833 people since the first successful ascent in 1953. The summit of Everest straddles the border between Nepal and Tibet at an altitude of 29,035ft or 8848m. The mountain was initially named Peak XV before being renamed in 1856 after George Everest, a retired British Surveyor General who never actually saw the peak. The graphic below shows the increase in summit numbers over the years, with notable reduction in 2014 following the avalanche in the Ice Fall and effective shutdown of Nepal side, along with absence of 2015 stats due to the Nepal Earthquake & avalanche at Base Camp which occurred midway through the climbing season and led to the full shutdown of the mountain for the first time in its climbing history. 

6606476426115525315264834594263353072641821581451291281191159890858272515038302524232018161510986544443222Everest 8,219Everest1953 219531956 419561960 319601963 619631965 919651970 419701973 1019731975 1519751976 419761977 219771978 2519781979 2019791980 819801981 519811982 1819821983 2319831984 1619841985 3019851986 419861987 219871988 5019881989 2419891990 7219901991 3819911992 9019921993 12919931994 5119941995 8219951996 9819961997 8519971998 11919981999 11519992000 14520002001 18220012002 15820022003 26420032004 33520042005 30720052006 48320062007 61120072008 42620082009 45920092010 53120102011 52620112012 55220122013 66020132014 12820142016 64720162017 6422017

Everest Fatalities by Altitude / Year

Over the years there has been in the region of 290 fatalities on Everest for a range of reasons and across a wide range of altitudes. The info-graphic below shows the correlation of fatalities per year with the altitudes at which they were reported to have happened. The two obvious spikes are 2014 and 2015 where large scale fatalities occurred in the icefall just above base camp in 2014 and at base camp during the earthquake of 2015. The next largest year of fatalities was the infamous 1996 ‘Into Thin Air’ disaster which is well documented in book and film. 92 of the fatalities recorded in the Himalayan Database occurred after the climbers had reached the summit. 

1916765543333333333322222222222222222222211111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111114270 142704300 143004600 146004900 149005000 250005150 151505300 353005350 2753505400 254005500 155005525 155255600 556005700 1157005800 2758005900 259006000 760006150 161506200 262006300 163006400 964006450 164506500 465006600 266006700 167006750 167506770 167706800 1468006900 669006950 169507000 670007100 171007200 272007270 172707300 273007400 174007500 475007540 175407600 476007700 477007800 878007900 1079007950 279508000 580008100 281008140 281408160 181608200 482008220 182208230 282308250 182508300 983008350 183508400 1384008500 1685008550 185508560 185608600 1486008650 186508680 286808700 1787008750 687508760 287608800 888008830 18830No Data 4No Data1921 219211922 719221924 419241934 119341952 119521960 119601962 119621963 119631964 119641966 119661969 119691970 819701971 119711972 119721973 119731974 619741975 319751976 119761978 219781979 619791980 419801982 1119821983 319831984 919841985 719851986 519861987 319871988 1019881989 819891990 419901991 219911992 819921993 719931994 519941995 419951996 1519961997 919971998 419981999 419992000 220002001 520012002 320022003 420032004 720042005 620052006 1120062007 720072008 120082009 520092010 320102011 420112012 1020122013 820132014 1720142015 1920152016 720162017 62017

Everest Summits by Country

The info-graphic below shows the extent of summits by each country (recorded by citizenship) from 1953 to 2017. Nepal leads the way (which is no surprise since the vast majority of guides and high altitude workers are Nepalese Sherpa), while USA, China, UK and India make up the rest of the top 5 countries with climbers who have reached the top of Everest over the years. Ireland punches well above its weight, and even though it appears in 21st position in the overall picture below, if you look at it from an ‘Island’ perspective, Ireland is actually in joint 17th position with Austria. Not bad for a small island of 6.5m people. 

New ZealandIndiaSwitzerlandChinaUSANepalJapanItalyUKS KoreaFranceAustriaW GermanyPolandYugoslaviaSpainUSSRCanadaAustraliaCzechoslovakiaBulgariaNorwayMexicoSwedenBelgiumNetherlandsChileGermanyPeruLuxembourgHong KongIsraelFinlandRussiaLithuaniaTaiwanRomaniaLatviaArgentinaKazakhstanBrazilDenmarkIrelandTurkeyS AfricaCzech RepublicIndonesiaMalaysiaIcelandCanada/USASloveniaSlovakiaBelarusIranUzbekistanBoliviaPortugalSwitzerland/GreeceEcuadorGeorgiaUkrainePakistanGuatemalaVenezuelaColombiaArmeniaHungaryUSA/UKKuwaitEstoniaGreeceBhutanSerbiaSingaporeMongoliaPhilippinesLebanonCanada/MacedoniaEgypt/UKAlgeriaSaudi ArabiaJordanPoland/CanadaVietnamThailandMacedoniaUSA/JamaicaCroatiaMoldovaPanamaSan MarinoMaltaFrance/USANepal/AustraliaOmanBangladeshChina/USAFrance/AlgeriaMontenegroUSA/BrazilFrance/SwitzerlandDominican RepublicUSA/Dominican RepublicPalestineChina/JapanMauritiusUK/AustraliaAustralia/New ZealandNew Zealand/UKTurkey/USACosta RicaAlbaniaCyprusTanzaniaUSA/Saudi ArabiaUSA/Bosnia-HerzegovinaUAEAndorraQatarMoroccoAzerbaijan/RussiaNepal/IndiaNepal/CanadaTunisiaUSA/PolandSri LankaUK/RussiaMyanmarUK/KenyaUK/NepalKosovo

Paul's Everest Facts

Vinson Massif & Ireland

Vinson Massif is the highest mountain of Antarctica, lying in the Sentinel Range of the Ellsworth Mountains, which stand above the Ronnie Ice Shelf near the base of the Antarctic Peninsula. The mountain was first discovered in 1958 and first climbed in 1966. The mountain was named in 2006 after Carl Vinson – US Congressman from the state of Georgia and one of the main supporters of Antarctic research.

The first Irish born person to climb Vinson Massif was Sheila Dyson in 1997. Sheila was born and raised in Dublin and like many of her generation she emigrated to UK in her early 20’s to find work. Her summit of Vinson Massif came two weeks before Pat Falvey became the first Irish male to complete the climb. Pat would return to Antarctica a decade later, firstly to lead the 1st Irish team climb of Vinson Massif with Clare O’Leary and then to lead the 1st Irish team to reach the South Pole in 2006.  The following Irish persons have climbed Vinson Massif:

  • Sheila Dyson – Dublin – 1997
  • Pat Falvey – Cork – 1997 & 2005
  • Clare O’Leary – Cork – 2005
  • Michael Lanigan – 2005
  • Ian McKeever – Wicklow – 2007
  • Noel Hanna – Down – 2009
  • Bill Hanlon – Wexford – 2009
  • Vivian Rigney – Dublin – 2009
  • Terry Kelleher – Dublin – 2010
  • Albert Connaughton – Dublin – 2010
  • Mary Scannell – Kerry – 2011
  • Senan Foley – Cork – 2011
  • Paul Holland – Galway – 2013
  • Paul Devaney – Longford – 2014
  • Neill Elliott – Fermanagh – 2015
  • Kevin Trundle – Cork – 2015

It is difficult to be exact about how many have people have climbed Vinson, or how many climbers from Ireland have reached the summit. The statistics I have collected (including records from Union Glacier in Antarctica and personal research) on Irish ascents of Vinson Massif is shown above.

Antarctica & Ireland

Ernest Shackelton – Born in Ballytore Co. Kildare in 1874 to a Quaker family, the young Ernest joined the merchant Navy and worked his way up through the ranks. Shackleton’s first experience of the Antarctic was in 1902 as a member of Scott’s ‘Discovery’ Expedition when he first met his fellow countryman Tom Crean. Shackleton returned to Antarctica in 1907 with his own expedition when he got within 97 miles of the Pole, 360 miles closer than anyone previously. After Amundsen reached the pole, Shackleton was determined to be the first to cross the continent and returned with the ill-fated Endurance in 1914 to disaster and an Epic escape to South Georgia. Shackleton could not get the Antarctic out of his blood and returned once more in 1922 but only made it to South Georgia where he died and is buried.

Tom Crean – Born just outside Annascaul in Kerry in 1877. At the age of 15 he ran away and joined the Navy as a Boy 2nd Class. Crean played a major role in three of the greatest Antarctic expeditions. On his second trip to the Antarctic in 1911, Crean was a member of the tragic Scott Expedition narrowly beaten in the race to the South Pole by the Norwegian Amundsen. Crean retrieved the bodies of Scott’s polar party, frozen only 11 miles from a food depot. In 1914 Crean was back in the Antarctic for a third time, on this occasion with an old friend Ernest Shackleton on the ill-fated Endurance expedition. He was instrumental in the rescue mission and was one of three (Shackelton, Worsley being the others) who reached the whaling station in South Georgia to raise the alarm and spark the rescue of all hands from the doomed Endurance. On returning home, Crean resumed naval duties. On 15 December 1916 he was promoted to the rank of warrant officer (as a boatswain), in recognition of his service on the Endurance,and was awarded his third Polar Medal. On 5 September 1917 Crean married Ellen Herlihy of Annascaul in Co. Kerry. He retired from the Navy on medical grounds on 24 March 1920. He and Ellen opened a small public house in Annascaul, which he called The South Pole Inn. The couple had three daughters, Mary, Kate, and Eileen, although Kate died when she was four years old. His legend, statue and The South Pole Inn pub can still be found in Annascaul. 

Tim McCarthy – McCarthy was born on 15 July 1888 in Kinsale, Ireland. He signed on the Endurance as an able seaman, and participated fully in the dangers and privations of the Weddell Sea, particularly after the Endurance sank and the ship’s company and shore party were marooned on a nearby ice floe. He was one of the party of 6 who organised the rescue via the epic boat journey to South Georgia. On his return home, McCarthy (who was not an Irish Nationalist and identified himself with the British Empire) found his country fighting World War I. He joined the Royal Navy Reserve as a leading seaman. In these duties he was assigned to man a deck gun on the S.S. Narragansett, an oil tanker. On 16 March 1917, this vessel was torpedoed and sunk with all hands in the Western Approaches. McCarthy, aged 28, was the first member of the Weddell Sea party of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition to die.

Edward Bansfield – Born in Cork in 1783. Bansfield was the first European to sight Antarctica. As a merchant seaman, he was pressed into the British Navy and took part in the blockade of Brest (1813-14) during the Napoleonic Wars. By 1815 he had risen to be a master, the highest rank available to him. From 1829 to 1821 he explored and charted the South Shetland Islands (as named by him). In 1819 he discovered Trinity Land, the north-western tip of the Antarctic peninsula. Bransfield Island, Bransfield Straight, Bransfield Rocks and Mount Bransfield are named after him.

Francis Crozier – Born in Banbridge, Co. Down in 1796. Crozier joined the British Navy in 1810. He made three Arctic voyages with Parry between 1821 and 1827. He explored the Antarctic as second in command to Ross from 1839 to 1843 and took over command of Franklin’s Arctic expedition in 1847 when Franklin died. Cape Crozier on King William Island, Canada, is named after him.

Francis McClintock – Born in Dundalk in 1819. McClintock entered the British Navy in 1831 and between 1848 and 1852 he made several Arctic voyages – his first as captain in 1852. He made a number of long journeys by sledge across the Arctic and developed methods that were widely adopted. In 1859 McClintok found the remains of Franklin’s expedition and the grave of Crozier and his men. Mount McClintok in Antarctica is called after him.

(Source: Google)

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