St. Patrick to climb Everest?
18:08 p.m. EST Mar 19, 2004
Not quite, but the other three in the picture are. Cork climbers Pat Falvey and Clare O’Leary along with John Joyce took off this past Wednesday, St. Patty’s day, for Everest. As you can see, even the patron saint of Ireland was there himself to bid the climbers farewell. All three were on the Irish Everest 2003 expedition last year.
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 was the Base Camp manager last year, but this time around he’s going for it - Pat previously summited Everest from the North Side in 1995.
The first Irish climber to summit Everest was Dawson Stelfox in 1993. Pat Falvey, is the first Irishman to summit the highest peaks on all seven continents. Frederick T. Bear, worldwide explorer, and stuffed teddy bear (see pic) will also be joining the Irish expedition; he has a personal height record of 28,776 feet, just 159 feet below the summit of Everest.
The objectives of the team this year are to have the first Irish female ascent, to have the first Irish climber to summit from both sides of Everest, and to help Frederick T. Bear realize his dream, of standing atop Everest, on all four of his legs. Last year the Irish Everest 2003 team saw the first Irish summit from the South.
Samantha O'Carroll, also from Cork, will be attempting the climb Everest from the South Side with the Adventure Consultants team. This will be Sam's first attempt at an 8000m peak, she summited Aconcagua by the Polish Glacier in January as preparation. The Irish are everywhere!
By now the Irish Everest 2004 team is in Kathmandu, we know that as they just sent over a test over their Contact 2.0. The plan is to spend a week there and take care of last minute formalities.
Dr. Luanne Freer, of the Base Camp medical clinic is in Kathmandu and taking care of logistics. With any luck she plans to be heading towards Everest as early as Monday of next week.
Luanne keeps smiling
The HRA is having a tough time with financing, nothing it seems that will stop this season for happening, but last years 7000 USD loss definitely puts a dent in the organizations small budget, “I keep on smiling though. I know we've done most of the hard work already; sold the very notion of the clinic to most of the climbing community, made some important and influential connections in the Nepali government, and got some terrific sponsors to get our gear in shape… if we can get our budget in line this season, this clinic will be on auto-pilot...”
Also in Kathmandu right now is Viktor Volodin of the Russian National North Side expedition. He’s waiting for the rest of the team to come down from the Khumbu after their acclimatization on Ama Dablam, “While it isn’t tourist season here, there aren’t too many people.”
Pat, Clare, and John are all members of last year’s Irish Everest 2003 South Side expedition. Dr. Luanne Freer is the head doc for the South Side Everest Base Camp Medical Clinic. A large Russian National team will be attempting a new route on the North Face of Everest this year.
Image of Pat, Clare, John, Saint Patrick, and Fred the bear courtesy of Irisheverest2004.com.