Mountaineering isn't something that's normally associated with the island
nation of Ireland. Its highest peak is Carrantuohill in the Macgillicuddy's
Reeks range, which rises to a sedate (by Everest standards) 3,414 feet. And
yet Ireland does produce climbers, quite good ones, including mountaineer and
adventurer Pat Falvey who summited Everest in 1995.
Falvey, age 45, is a full-time adventurer, team-trainer and
motivational-speaker. He is returning to Everest as the leader of the Irish
Everest 2004 Expedition. Born in Cork Co. Ireland Falvey has an impressive
record of 35 ascents on mountains over 18,000 feet over the last 10 years.
Aside from Everest itself he has climbed Cho Oyo, the world's sixth tallest
peak, and did so without supplemental oxygen. He's also a member of the Seven
Summits club having climbed the highest mountain on each of the seven
Falvey hopes to be the first Irish climber to summit Everest from both the
Nepali and Tibetan sides of the mountain. Another hoped for first is Clare
O'Leary a 32-year-old doctor from Bandon, Co. Cork. If the expedition is
successful O'leary will be the first Irish woman to stand on top of the world
by summiting Everest. She, along with Falvey, was also a member of the Irish
Everest Expedition 2003 and reached a personal record height of 24,500 before
being forced to turn around.
Also on the Irish expedition is 43-year-old climber and ex-professional
basketball player John Joyce from Tuam, Co. Galway. John has trained and
climbed in Scotland, Spain, the Alps, Africa, South America and the Himalayas.
Joyce was base camp manager for the 2003 expedition. This will be his first
summit if successful.
Pat Duggan is the Network Administrator for Cork City Council and has
worked with Pat Falvey on a number of expeditions in communications and IT
operations. He is an avid mountaineer and will be in charge of relaying
expedition news to the outside world.
Pemba Gyali will be Sirdar (chief climbing Sherpa) and head of a strong
Sherpa team in support of the expedition. As with any modern expedition the
Irish 2004 team will depend heavily and in many different ways on their Sherpa
teammates. Gyali will hold joint responsibility with Pat Falvey for the
logistical success of the expedition. The Sherpa are a full and respected part
of the team and include many with highly successful climbing records of their
own. In addition to Gyali the Sherpa team includes Ang Rita, Dawi (Head Cook),
Dorje, Minngma Chhiri, Nang Chemmi, Nima, and Pemba Rinzee.