A Dublin man is bidding reach the summit of the world’s highest mountain this weekend despite one of the world’s most famous mountaineers already describing Mount Everest as “unclimbable” this season.
After two hard months on the mountain, Cian O’Brolchain (31) and his expedition from ‘Jagged Globe’ have left base camp on a trip that will hopefully see them standing on the top of the 29,029-ft mountain by Sunday. Cian, who is hoping to raise funds for Cystic Fibrosis, will join the ranks of only a handful of Irish people to have successfully achieved the summit.
The success rate is very low on any Everest expedition, and this season in particular has seen its fair share of tragedy with the loss of some climbers and Sherpa mountaineers in the preparation for a summit attempt.
One of the world’s best know and experienced mountaineers, Russell Brice, who has been leading expeditions to the Himalayas since 1974, departed the mountain declaring it ‘unclimbable’ this season. However, Cian and his expedition from ‘Jagged Globe’ have tracked new routes and managed to achieve the scheduled preparation plan.
O’Brolchain is an experienced Irish mountaineer. Last year, he managed to summit Cho Oyu, the 6th Highest Mountain in the World at 8,200mtrs, as part of his preparation for the Everest expedition. In early 2011, Cian had to abandon his attempt to summit Mount McKinley (Denali) in Alaska, after spending seven nights stranded in a high camp where he ran out of food and fuel supplies and experienced temperatures of -35 C.
Everest, however, he hopes will be kinder. The weather window, which only opens up for 5-14 days per years, is now looking favourable to allow him to stand on the top of the world on Sunday, 20th May.
Speaking shortly before leaving base camp this week, Cian acknowledged that he had been encouraged throughout his training and preparation by the support of those associated with his ‘32 Steps for Cystic Fibrosis’ fundraising initiative, which saw him lead climbs up the highest points in each of Ireland’s 32 counties.
“This is the last part of that campaign and my most challenging climb to date. I feel pretty good. I’m excited but nervous about the summit attempt. I have tried to keep myself busy organising my gear, cameras, food, and other things. Some people seem to be very worried about the weather and other things such as using oxygen. I am just trying to focus on myself and what I can do to climb the mountain,” Cian added.
During the summit push, which will last for five days, the expedition team will need to cope with temperatures as low as -30c and the side effects of lower oxygen at altitude.
Follow Cian’s updates and pictures from the climb on his ‘Ireland to Everest Expedition’ Facebook page.