Galwayman becomes 33rd Irish person to climb Everest

Ascent made in aid of Pieta House West suicide awareness group

Peter O’Connell reached the top of Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain, almost 20 years after the first successful Irish ascent by Dawson Stelfox on May 27th, 1993. Photograph: AP Photo/John McConnico

Peter O’Connell reached the top of Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain, almost 20 years after the first successful Irish ascent by Dawson Stelfox on May 27th, 1993. Photograph: AP Photo/John McConnico

Tue, May 21, 2013, 08:59

A Galwayman who aimed to climb Mount Everest to raise funds for suicide awareness has become the 33rd Irish person to reach the summit.

Peter O’Connell (30), a construction company owner from Killererin, Co Galway, confirmed today that he had reached the top of the world’s highest mountain on Monday – almost 20 years after the first successful Irish ascent by Dawson Stelfox on May 27th, 1993.

“I had boundless energy, I didn’t feel tired, I just kept going and going,” Mr O’Connell said by satellite phone.

“When I got to the top it was like a dream – I sat on the top for 10 minutes on my own and I had the summit to myself,” he said.

One of his sherpa support team, Mingma, then joined him for photos, and they made their descent as weather conditions deteriorated.

Mr O’Connell’s climb via the Nepalese route was with a Nepali guiding company, Himalayan Ascent. An active mountaineer, Mr O’Connell undertook the expedition in aid of Pieta House West, the suicide awareness and prevention group, and in memory of his cousin Lorcan Kelly from Co Monaghan, who died in September 2011.

So far, more than €22,000 has been raised by him for the charity.

While he is the 33rd Irish person to make it to the top, it is also the 38th successful Irish summit of Everest. Co Down climber Noel Hanna has climbed the 8848m mountain five times.

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