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Dr. Sean Egan's final Everest
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Apr 29, 2005 11: 11 EST
Dr. Sean Egan, associate professor at Ottawa University and member of the Kanatek expedition, died today after suffering a heart attack on his way down to Periche. He was the only member of the Kanatek team attempting the summit.

Problems in Camp 1

Egan had been dealing with a pulmonary infection; and started feeling bad on his trip up to C2 last week.

In their dispatches from Everest, the team reported that Sean encountered problems in Camp 1, just above the icefall. The Doc decided not to ascend to camp 2, but rather, to come down to BC after an additional night of rest in Camp 1.

Sean's respiratory problems persisted, and he decided to head all the way back down to Pheriche to seek medical advice before coming back up the mountain. He and his Sherpa wanted to make sure that they were receiving the best possible advice before proceeding.

Dr Egan was in Thukla, on his way to Pheriche, when it is believed he suffered a cardiac arrest, just before noon today, Friday April 29th.

Previous climb on Aconcagua

63 years old, Egan hoped to be the oldest Canadian to ever summit Mount Everest. In preparation for his bid he successfully climbed Mount Aconcagua in Argentina (22,841 feet) on January 23rd, 2005.

Egan trekked to Mt. Everest BC in 1998 and returned in 2000 to conduct research projects; this year he expected to resume his research work at a higher altitude, going for the summit.

Research expedition

The "2005 Kanatek Everest expedition” was more about researching and team-building than climbing. The trip to Nepal was born as a joint venture by Ryerson and Ottawa Universities, along with the main sponsor, Kanatek. Brown University and the Sydney Sleep Institute were sending large teams of researchers to do work in their respective fields, from coping with hypoxia and the relationships between fitness and ageing, to tourism in the context of extreme adventure.

Khumbu Hockey league

The team held a game of Hockey on the Khumbu Glacier, “just for fun, and to take the game to new heights," a Kanatek’s spokesman told ExplorersWeb before the expedition.

Ireland-born Sean Egan was an athlete with skills in everything from soccer to boxing and beyond. Gravitating towards endurance-driven athletic events, Egan had completed a number of charity walks that included a 640-mile walk from Eugene, Oregon to San Francisco, California for cancer research and a march for children’s rights that took him from Toronto, Ontario to the step of the University of Ottawa.

Dr. Egan was the first climber to pass away on the mountain this year. A record number of teams (up to 80 expeditions between the two classic routes) are attempting Everest this year.

Images of Dr. Sean Egan on his last Everest climb, courtesy of the expedition.

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