Irish & Everest
Collating Everest stats for Irish climbers is tricky because Irish spans climbers born in Ireland or Northern Ireland, or residents 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 June 2018, Everest had been successfully climbed 63 times by 51 different Irish climbers from and/or based in Ireland and Northern Ireland. In total, there has been 123 attempts to climb Everest by 87 different Irish climbers. The headline stats are as follows…
- Everest has been climbed 63 times by 51 Irish climbers (8 women, 43 men) since the first Irish success in 1993.
- Irish success rate on Everest is 50%, while Irish fatality rate on Everest is 2 deaths or 0.017% of attempts.
- The first Irish climber to reach the summit of Everest was Dawson Stelfox from Antrim in 1993.
- Noel Hanna (Co. Down – living in S. Africa) has 8 summits – Noel is an accomplished guide.
- Robert Smith (Co. Tyrone – living in Fort William) has 4 summits – Robert is an accomplished guide.
- Pat Falvey & Lynne Hanna have 2 summits each – once from each side of Everest.
- Linda Blakely from Armagh bagged two 8000m peaks (Everest & Lhotse) within 24 hours in 2018.
- Linda became the first UK woman to summit both Everest and Lhotse in the same season.
- 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 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 – 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 biggest disasters on Everest took place in 1996 (Weather related), 2014 (Avalanche) and 2015 (Earthquake/Avalanche).
- The island of Ireland has 17th most summits of any country globally, 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 Irish team 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 Name||Age||Born / From||Permit Address||Route Taken||Summit Date||Summit Time||Year|
|1||Dawson Stelfox||35||Antrim||Antrim||North (Tibet)||27/05/1993||10:07||1993|
|2||Pat Falvey||37||Cork||Cork||North (Tibet)||27/05/1995||09:00||1995|
|3||Mick Murphy||44||Cork||Cork||South (Nepal)||22/05/2003||10:00||2003|
|4||Gerard McDonnell||32||Limerick||USA||South (Nepal)||22/05/2003||11:10||2003|
|5||Terence Bannon||35||Down||Down||North (Tibet)||31/05/2003||08:00||2003|
|6||Pat Falvey||46||Cork||Kerry||South (Nepal)||18/05/2004||06:45||2004|
|7||Clare O'Leary||33||Cork||Cork||South (Nepal)||18/05/2004||06:45||2004|
|8||Samantha O'Carroll||27||Cork||Cork||South (Nepal)||27/05/2004||10:20||2004|
|9||Humphrey Murphy||41||Dublin||Donegal||North (Tibet)||30/05/2005||07:10||2005|
|10||Grania Willis||49||Dublin||Dublin||North (Tibet)||05/06/2005||06:00||2005|
|11||Fergal Corrigan||31||Fermanagh||Tyrone||North (Tibet)||17/05/2006||06:40||2006|
|12||Neill Elliot||33||Fermanagh||Fermanagh||North (Tibet)||17/05/2006||06:40||2006|
|13||Raymond Hassard||33||Fermanagh||Fermanagh||North (Tibet)||17/05/2006||06:40||2006|
|14||Noel Hanna||39||Down||Down||North (Tibet)||21/05/2006||07:35||2006|
|15||Ian McKeever||37||Wicklow||Wicklow||North (Tibet)||16/05/2007||08:00||2007|
|16||Tom Lehane||49||Cork||England||South (Nepal)||17/05/2007||07:30||2007|
|17||Hannah Shields||42||Derry||Derry||North (Tibet)||19/05/2007||07:00||2007|
|18||Bill Hanlon||52||Wexford||Canada||South (Nepal)||22/05/2007||11:36||2007|
|19||Nigel Hart||41||Antrim||Antrim||South (Nepal)||23/05/2007||06:29||2007|
|20||Roger McMorrow||31||Antrim||Dublin||South (Nepal)||24/05/2007||07:55||2007|
|21||Michael O'Dwyer||32||Dublin||Dublin||South (Nepal)||24/05/2007||07:55||2007|
|22||John Dowd||53||Kerry||Kerry||South (Nepal)||21/05/2008||07:45||2008|
|23||Anselm Murphy||24||London-Irish||England||South (Nepal)||21/05/2008||10:30||2008|
|24||Ian Taylor||29||Kildare||Kildare||South (Nepal)||23/05/2008||06:10||2008|
|25||Noel Hanna||42||Down||Down||South (Nepal)||21/05/2009||04:00||2009|
|26||Lynne Hanna||47||Down||Down||South (Nepal)||21/05/2009||04:00||2009|
|27||Christopher Jones||45||Unknown||Galway||South (Nepal)||21/05/2009||07:40||2009|
|28||Domhnall O'Dochartaigh||35||Unknown||Canada||South (Nepal)||07/05/2010||06:00||2010|
|29||James Haydock||48||Lancashire||Dublin||South (Nepal)||22/05/2010||06:00||2010|
|30||Noel Hanna||43||Down||Down||South (Nepal)||23/05/2010||03:15||2010|
|31||Vivian Rigney||39||Dublin||USA||South (Nepal)||23/05/2010||09:00||2010|
|32||Fergus White||37||Dublin||Cork||South (Nepal)||23/05/2010||06:45||2010|
|33||Geoffrey Chambers||46||Armagh||Armagh||South (Nepal)||16/05/2011||06:15||2011|
|34||Basil Geoghegan||43||Dublin||Dublin||South (Nepal)||19/05/2011||07:25||2011|
|35||Gavin Bate||44||Kent||Down||South (Nepal)||20/05/2011||10:00||2011|
|36||Noel Hanna||44||Down||Down||North (Tibet)||21/05/2011||01:10||2011|
|37||Mark Quinn||27||Limerick||Limerick||North (Tibet)||21/05/2011||05:45||2011|
|38||Martin Byrne||58||Offaly||Tipperary||North (Tibet)||26/05/2011||11:30||2011|
|39||Noel Hanna||45||Down||Down||North (Tibet)||20/05/2012||08:00||2012|
|40||Cian O'Brolchain||32||Dublin||Dublin||South (Nepal)||25/05/2012||06:00||2012|
|41||Albert Connaughton||49||Dublin||Dublin||South (Nepal)||25/05/2012||07:00||2012|
|42||Peter O'Connell||29||Galway||Galway||South (Nepal)||13/05/2013||06:30||2013|
|43||Jason Black||42||Donegal||Donegal||North (Tibet)||19/05/2013||07:00||2013|
|44||Noel Hanna||46||Down||Down||North (Tibet)||20/05/2013||05:30||2013|
|45||Brian Meskell||33||Limerick||Limerick||North (Tibet)||22/05/2013||06:00||2013|
|46||Robert Smith||42||Tyrone||Scotland||North (Tibet)||22/05/2013||06:00||2013|
|47||Kieran Lally||54||Mayo||Dublin||South (Nepal)||23/05/2013||05:30||2013|
|48||Noel Hanna||47||Down||Down||North (Tibet)||24/05/2014||06:30||2014|
|49||Derek Mahon||52||Dublin||Dublin||North (Tibet)||24/05/2014||06:30||2014|
|50||Robert Smith||43||Tyrone||Scotland||North (Tibet)||25/05/2014||08:00||2014|
|51||Mary Scannell||41||Kerry||England||South (Nepal)||13/05/2016||09:45||2016|
|52||Noel Hanna||49||Down||Down||North (Tibet)||21/05/2016||06:45||2016|
|53||Lynne Hanna||54||Down||Down||North (Tibet)||21/05/2016||06:45||2016|
|54||Robert Mortell||26||Limerick||Limerick||North (Tibet)||23/05/2016||08:45||2016|
|55||John Burke||38||Clare||Clare||South (Nepal)||16/05/2017||09:30||2017|
|56||Terry Kelleher||56||Dublin||Dublin||South (Nepal)||22/05/2017||07:30||2017|
|57||Robert Smith||46||Tyrone||Scotland||South (Nepal)||22/05/2017||04:40||2017|
|58||Rory McHugh||40||Dublin||England||South (Nepal)||26/05/2017||11:00||2017|
|59||Louise McEvoy||49||Dublin||USA||South (Nepal)||16/05/2018||TBC||2018|
|60||Linda Blakely||44||Armagh||London||South (Nepal)||17/05/2018||07:48||2018|
|61||Adrian McNally||41||Meath||Meath||South (Nepal)||17/05/2018||05:30||2018|
|62||Robert Smith||47||Tyrone||Scotland||South (Nepal)||19/05/2018||06:58||2018|
|63||Kevin Hynes||55||Galway||Galway||South (Nepal)||21/05/2018||TBC||2018|
Irish Successes on Everest - By County
Above list & map captures the 63 successful ascents of Everest by Irish climbers (combination of climbers originally from Ireland or Northern Ireland or overseas climbers resident in Ireland at time of climb) 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 Attempts on Everest
|#||Name||Age||Born / From||Permit Address||Reached||Summit||Year|
|5||Richard O'Neill-Dean||39||Ireland||New Zealand||8000||No||1993|
|11||Sean Smith||33||Ireland||England||No Data||No||1995|
|15||Marcella Dunne||42||Dublin||Dublin||No Data||No||1999|
|17||Mick Long||40||Kerry||Kerry||No Data||No||2001|
|37||Mark Carr||52||Down||Down||No Data||No||2004|
|38||Bridget Rossiter-O'Flynn||43||Wexford||Wexford||No Data||No||2004|
|44||Sean Egan (D)||63||Clare||Canada||6000||No||2005|
|88||John Delaney (D)||41||Kildare||Kildare||8800||No||2011|
D = Denotes climber died during attempt
Irish Successes (1993-2017) - Climber / Home / Year / Route
(Blue = South via Nepal, Grey = North via Tibet)
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.
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.
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.
There are many ways to gain the skill and capability needed for Everest, in the Alps or Alaska or closer to home in Scotland. 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 - Up to 2017
Up to end of 2017, there had been 115 Irish attempts on Everest over the years by 83 climbers. While 57 of those 115 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.
(Red colour denotes climbers who died during the attempt)
Total Everest Summits
Everest had been successfully climbed over 8300 times by more than 4830 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.
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.
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.