The Irish Times 28 May 2012: Two Dubliners reach Everest summit

In spite of one of the worst seasons for fatalities on Everest, two Dubliners have separately managed to reach the summit of the highest mountain and return safely to base camp.

Cian Ó Brolcháin, a 32-year-old finance professional who resigned from his job shortly before leaving for the Himalayas, described in a phone call home how it was “tough” but he felt “pretty good”.

He was one of about 200 people to reach the summit from both Nepal and Tibet over the weekend, just days after a number of fatalities on the South Col route brought the estimated number of deaths this season to 11.

Ten have been confirmed dead this year, including at least three working Nepalese Sherpas. Six of the 10 died between May 19th and 20th, when a number of expeditions took advantage of a weather window for a summit push.

Warmer temperatures and low snowfall this year are said to have increased the hazards and for this reason one commercial expedition pulled out of Nepal early on.

Ó Brolcháin, who is also a professional tennis coach, undertook his climb with the Jagged Globe commercial expedition company in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland and its drive to improve lung-transplant facilities.

Dublin man Albert Connaughton, a member of the Irish Mountaineering Club, also reached Everest’s summit on May 25th. Connaughton was with the Mountain Trip commercial expedition, which had also waited for improved weather conditions this past weekend.

Ó Brolcháin initially climbed each of the highest peaks in the 32 counties, and trained in the Rockies and Denali (North America), the Andes (Peru, Bolivia), Everest base camp and Cho Oyu (Nepal), Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), the Alps (France, Italy, Switzerland), New Zealand, Indonesia and Scotland.

His climbing consultant, Ian Taylor, who reached the summit of Everest four years ago and subsequently set up a trekking company, said Ó Brolcháin had been “so driven . . . he put 150 per cent into the project” and deserved the success. “There was only one good day on Everest this year – as in the day after Cian’s ascent, when there was no wind at all – and so it’s a considerable achievement,” Taylor said.

It is estimated that 82 got to the summit along with Ó Brolcháin, on May 25th, while 100 people reached the summit on May 26th from Nepal.

Ó Brolcháin reached the 8,848m-high plateau at 6am Nepalese time last Friday, with expedition leader David Hamilton of Jagged Globe and Warner Rojas – the first Costa Rican to make the ascent. They were accompanied by Mingma and Thundu Sherpa on the final 9¾-hour leg from camp four, at 7,950m.

They spent about 10 minutes on top in high winds, with Ó Brolcháin describing how his fingers were too cold to take many photographs.

He phoned his parents from camp four on the descent.

Last weekend, Co Down mountain guide Noel Hanna made his fifth ascent of Everest, working with the 7 Summits Club company and climbing from the Tibetan side of the mountain.

1 Comment

  1. Graham Clarke

    Well done Cian, delighted for you. All that hard work in West Woid paid off!! Congrats! Graham

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