year old, Dr Clare O'Leary from Bandon, Co Cork was this morning, Tuesday
18th May, the first ever Irish woman to reach the 29,035 ft summit of
The Wyeth Irish Everest
Expedition 2004 team led by veteran Cork
mountaineer, Pat Falvey, who is now the first Irish person to summit Everest
from both the Nepal and Tibetan approaches, reached the summit at 6.45 am
local time (1.45 am Irish time) after a 9 hour push from the team's high camp
at 26,000 ft. Today's success came at the end of two months on the mountain in
preparation for the final climb by a team that includes Nepali and Irish
Speaking on satellite phone from
the summit, expedition leader, Pat Falvey said their climb had gone according
to plan. He added: "The weather was superb and we held up to savour the
immense thrill and history of our achievement where for a few minutes, Clare
stood on the summit of the highest peak on Earth - making the first Irish
female ascent of Everest. We have done what we set out to achieve and I'm just
Dr Clare O'Leary spoke to her
parents Kevin and Alice and her sister Carol by telephone (her brother Kevin
is in Nepal) and expressed through elation and exhaustion just how amazing the
experience is, "I set out on St. Patrick's Day with one goal in mind and that
was to reach the top and I've done it. I'm really proud to have this honour.
We had a very strong team under Pat's leadership and I am very grateful to him
and my Nepali team-mates. The experience from our previous attempt has paid
off this year and I can hardly express my happiness," she said.
Falvey and O'Leary's second
expedition to Everest within twelve months was organised with two core
objectives in mind - to achieve the first Irish female ascent and first Irish
climber to summit from both Nepal and Tibet.
The final day's climb was made
at altitudes know to climbers as 'The Death Zone', where the human body
undergoes significant deterioration and where the drive to summit must be
tempered with maintaining oxygen-starved minds alert to objective dangers,
sudden weather changes and the climbers own physical and mental conditions in
order to return safely. Oxygen levels at the summit are just 30% of those at
sea level and on this climb, the supplememtary bottled oxygen was used by the
climbers on the final summit day at altitudes over 26,000 ft.
Pat Falvey said that his main
concern now is to get himself and the team back down to base camp as safely as
possible, "The Expedition now down the mountain is a very dangerous one. I am
just praying that everyone makes it down safe and well and then we can
celebrate with our team here in Nepal before making our way home," he said.
One of the very earliest
congratulations to the team came from mountaineer, Ger McDonnell from Limerick
and living in Alaska. McDonnell reached the summit a year ago with Mick Murphy
from West Cork on a trip led by Falvey, and that saw Clare O'Leary forced to
abandon her climb with a stomach bug. Falvey himself suffering from hypoxia
was turned around just 60metres and aided to safety by McDonnell. Ger
McDonnell said; "My heartiest congratulations to the team, to Pat, the
Sherpas, John Joyce and most of all to the first Irish woman to stand on any
summit over 8000m, let alone the tallest of them all. Hats off to you Clare
O'Leary! I only wish I could have been there to see it."
Mr Emmet Browne, Country
Manager, Wyeth said that the company is delighted that the team have reached
the summit of Mount Everest safely.
"As Ireland's leading
pharmaceutical employer, we are delighted to be associated with such an
historic event. It was a tremendous effort by everybody involved and we now
wish Pat Falvey, Dr Clare O'Leary and the Sherpas a safe return to base camp,"
Mr Browne continued.
The Irish expedition left
Ireland on St Patrick's Day and over the past six weeks, the team prepared for
their summit attempt through crucial acclimatisation climbs on the mountain's
lower reaches while establishing camps and storing supplies to aid them in
their summit bid.
Four weeks ago, team member John
Joyce from Tuam Co Galway was forced to abandon the climb due to exhaustion
and altitude sickness. Jet stream winds blowing at speeds of up to 70mph
forced Pat Falvey and Clare O'Leary off the mountain last week in order to
preserve their strengths at lower altitudes.
To date, five Irish people have
reached the summit of Mount Everest.
Dawson Stelfox 1993
Pat Falvey 1995 & 2004
Mick Murphy 2003
Ger McDonnell 2003
Clare O'Leary 2004
Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, a division of Wyeth, has leading products in the areas
of women's health care, cardiovascular disease, central nervous system,
inflammation, haemophilia, oncology, vaccines and nutrition. Wyeth (NYSE:WYE)
is one of the world's largest research-driven pharmaceutical and health care
About Dr Clare O'Leary Dr Clare
O'Leary (33), from Bandon, Co. Cork, is undergoing specialist training in
Gastroenterology in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin. Last year, Clare O'Leary, under
the leadership of Pat Falvey, reached 24,500 feet but had to descend the
mountain after taking ill.
On Tuesday 18th May 2004, as
part of the Wyeth Irish Everest Expedition 2004, Dr Clare O'Leary became the
first Irish woman to ever summit Mount Everest at 29,035ft.
veteran expedition leader, Everest climber, author and motivational
To book Pat Falvey on his 'AGAINST THE SKY' LECTURE TOUR.
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