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  Mt. Everest 2004: Irish Expedition


Update One:


The last of the caravan of yaks and porters approaching the Base Camp for the Irish Wyeth Everest Expedition 2004. Hundreds of kilos
of equipment and food have been ferried on the backs of men and animals over the past 2 weeks through the Khumbu Valley to the snout of the Khumbu Glacier beneath Everest.
A porter attached to a climbing expedition on Everest being evacuated by comrades out of Everest Base Camp suffering from Acute Mountain Sickness in the early hours of April 1. This sherpa was suffering from pulmonary edema and died soon after. This highlights for the Irish and other International climbers presently attempting Everest the deadly consequences associated with the effects of high altitude.

March 29: Pheriche Today we are resting in the village of Pheriche at over 4000m and just four days or so now from the base of Everest and what will be our Base Camp Wyeth.Over the last few days as we near our destination, our scenery is that of the cloud piercing peaks of the highest mountains on Earth. It is truly awesome! The weather is magnificent and buoyed by this and the majesty of our surrounds, everyone is feeling great. The acclimatisation process is going well and today's rest is a crucial part
of this. Tomorrow our trek resumes, to overnight at Lobuche, then its onto Gorak Shep and finally to Base Camp on April 1.

Yesterday on our walk-in, I passed below Ama Dablam. For me it is still the worlds most beautiful peak. As I strolled past this magnificent sentinel to Everest, I remembered times past and my first ever expedition there in 1991. It was my first time in the Himalaya and I was part of a group of 6 climbers led by Con Moriarty whos dream it was to stand on top of this peak.

Alot of water has passed down the Dudh Kosi river since then but I remember the first time I ever heard the name;Ama Dablam, the first photograph I ever saw of it. Our team was made up of Con and Mike
O'Shea from Kerry, Mick Murphy and I from Cork, Ciaran Corrigan and Tony Farrell from Dublin. We were supported by Tim Hickey from Kerry, Mick Hennesey from Cork and Peter and Rose Spellman from Clare. (Hello to ye all!) We were young, a little naive but so full of enthusiasm. On reflection, it was an incredible expedition for its time, for us and the way in which we attempted it. I learned a great deal on that trip and yesterday its detail came flooding back to me......thank you lads!

The summit of Ama Dablam eluded me in 91 but I knew then Id come back to these mountains. I discovered something here of great importance to my soul. I discovered too that I was blessed with a natural physiology suited to high altitude climbing. 1991 was the first time I ever saw Everest and I felt drawn to it. Two years later, I got
myself on an international expedition, climbing on the North Ridge. The summit eluded me then too but I returned in 1995 and made it.

Ama Dablam and its amazing south west ridge though is where it all began for me in the company of my closest friends. I returned here with Con in 1999, after I completed the 7 Summits (the highest peak on each continent). Moriarty and I just came away together, back to this place where so much had happened a few years before.

In 91 Con suffered an accident high on Ama Dablam that was to have a detrimental effect on his mountaineering and on his life. A simple slip under a heavy load caused three discs to rupture in his spine. That summer he had a major discetomy. He was in his prime as a climber. He was my climbing partner and mentor and we had a world of plans and peaks.

In 99, we found ourselves out here during a period of terrible weather that led to over fifty deaths on expeditions throughout the region It scuppered Cons acclimatisation and I sumitted alone. On that incredible summit, I missed him.


Ama Dablam- where it all began for Pat Falvey and others from our approach at Thangboche.The low precipitation of recent times is evident from the greyness of the mountain slopes.

Crossing the suspension bridge over the mighty Dudh Kosi below Namche Bazarre on March


With political unrest arising from Maoist clashes with Nepali government forces threatening to rip this country apart, Nepal's army troops are a common site on our approch to Everest.


The Kerry climbers, Mike Long (left) and Aidan Forde (right) after meeting with Pat Falvey on the trail at Thangboche on Saturday last
(Mar 27). Mike and Aidan were on their way out of the Khumbu Valley after summiting the spectacular peak of Pumori a few days earlier. Pumori is a satellite peak of Everest and stands at 7171m stands over Everest Base Camp. Their climb was made as part of an international effort organized by the American expedition organizer, Dan Mazur. It was congratulations and best wishes all round, amidst the possibility of Pat and Mike meeting sometime in mid-May on the highest point on Earth from two different sides, from two different countries. (Everest sits on the border of Tibet and Nepal) on the highest point on Earth sometime out in May.

Dispatches

Pat Falvey, veteran expedition leader, Everest climber, author and motivational speaker.

To book Pat Falvey on his 'AGAINST THE SKY' LECTURE TOUR. e-mail us at

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