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Irish cheer returns to Everest 2004
11:53 a.m. EST Nov 18, 2003
The south side of Everest will also see the return of some familiar friendly faces next spring as Pat Falvey, Clare O’Leary and John Joyce, who all took part in the Irish Everest 2003 expedition, head back to Everest’s south side for another go at the summit.

If there had been a "most popular" contest in BC last spring, Pat and his team would have taken top honors, hands down. Several expeditions reported to ExplorersWeb that the presence of the Irish team constantly lifted other climbers’ spirits. Base Camp fell into a depression whenever the team headed down the valley to rest.

The 2003 Irish expedition had four members reach the summit, and thus achieved the first Irish ascent from the South. The summiteers included Michael Murphy, Gerard McDonnell, Pemba Gyalje Sherpa and Pemba Rinjee Sherpa.

However, Pat and Clare, who turned around before making the summit, had a couple of additional goals. Namely – achieve the first Irish female summit on Everest, and become the first Irish climber to reach the summit from both the north and south sides (Pat summited Everest via the north side in 1995). Last spring, Pat made it to within 160 feet of the summit from the South side. Problems encountered beyond the South Summit forced him to withdraw from his attempt. Clare also had started out on the initial summit push, yet weakened by a stomach bug from previous days, she turned around on the Lhotse Face. John served as Base Camp manager for the 2003 team and is going next year with the intent to climb to the summit.

The team had quite an ordeal getting off the mountain last spring. Check out the dispatch regarding their helicopter evacuation, which Pat described as being "like an evacuation scene from a war movie." The chopper left half of the team behind and barely made it off the ground. Two days later, a fatal helicopter crash in Everest BC claimed two lives.

Image of Irish Everest 2003 team's celebration in Kathmandu in a rousing rendition of "In Dublin's Fair City" courtesy of irisheverest2003.com.

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