An unforgettable plateau


THE DUBLIN tennis coach who reached the summit of Mount Everest last month has raised €20,000 in support of lung transplants for cystic fibrosis patients.

Cian Ó Brolcháin’s experience in tennis-coaching a young boy diagnosed with cystic fibrosis inspired him to plan the Himalayan expedition. Ó Brolcháin had noted the young tennis student had “amazing perseverance”, in spite of his condition.

“People climbing at altitude feel similar effects for that short period compared to those cystic fibrosis sufferers who live with this all the time at sea level,” he said.

Ó Brolcháin (pictured above in blue on the summit of Everest) was one of three Irish people to reach the world’s highest summit during a season in which 10 people, including at least three Sherpas, died and a number of Sherpas were injured.

There were an estimated 548 summits during the season from both sides of the mountain, with most of the fatalities occurring during the weekend of May 19th/20th on the southern side, from Nepal.

Ó Brolcháin described in his post-summit blog how he passed dead climbers during the latter stages of his ascent on the southern route, which was supported by Sherpa Thundu and colleagues employed by the Jagged Globe commercial expedition.

“My body was telling me that this was not a place for human beings to be in,” he noted, when above 8,000 metres in the so-called “death zone”.

However, he recalled that when he reached the summit plateau on May 25th, “to look at the curvature of the Earth and stand on the highest point was an experience I’ll never forget”.