The Seventh Summit

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On April 18th 2014, an avalanche on Mt. Everest claimed the lives of 16 Nepalese Sherpa, making it the deadliest day ever on the mountain. On that day, Irishman Paul Devaney was making his way towards Base Camp and the notoriously dangerous Khumbu Icefall – which most climbers who are aiming for the summit have to traverse. Paul had spent seven years preparing to climb the legendary mountain. He was taking part in the Seven Summit Challenge and had climbed the six other highest mountains on each continent with one summit remaining left to reach – Everest.

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Paul had quit his job with Rolls-Royce in Berlin to return to Ireland and undergo the grueling altitude training necessary to climb above the clouds. Training meant long hours in the gym and sacrificing time with his girlfriend, family and friends. On the 18th of April, as Paul was making his way up the mountain, he was unaware of what was happening ahead of him on the mountain. When he and his team finally arrived into Base Camp – an occasion that should have been a celebratory one – they were greeted with a sombre atmosphere in the wake of a catastrophic avalanche and the missing Sherpa guides.

Despite the tragedy, Paul and the rest of the team still hoped that they would be able to achieve their own dream of reaching the summit. But a standoff ensued between the Nepalese government and the Sherpa guides over compensation and meant that everything came to a standstill on Everest. Paul was now at the mercy of other people’s decisions as to whether or not he would be able to climb the seventh summit.

Paul kept an audio diary of his ascent and in this documentary we hear the firsthand story of the tragedy and of Paul’s attempt to achieve a seven year dream.

  • Produced by Julien Clancy.
  • Production supervision by Nicoline Greer.
  • Sound supervision by Mark McGrath.

First Broadcast on RTE Radio 1 (Ireland) and on CBC Radio 1 (Canada) on 30th August 2014.

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