Family of Irish man who died on Everest seek recognition for others’ achievements

Expedition company says family of Kevin Hynes (56) consulted over Facebook posts celebrating colleagues’ feats

Kevin Hynes, originally from Co Galway

Kevin Hynes, originally from Co Galway

 

The family of an Irish man who died on the world’s highest mountain has said it does not want his death to diminish the success of his other expedition colleagues.

Kevin Hynes (56), a father of two originally from the village of Newbridge, Co Galway, died on Friday as he was descending from the 8,848m-high Mount Everest.

The experienced climber, who has lived in the United Kingdom for some 30 years, was part of a group from UK-based climbing company 360 Expeditions that was attempting to scale the Everest summit from the North Col (Tibetan side).

In a Facebook statement, 360 Expeditions said Mr Hynes’s family – his wife Bernadette and two children Erin and James – had asked it to highlight how they felt it is important that others in the expedition had fulfilled lifetime dreams to scale the summit.

“While our Everest team make their way from BC (Base Camp) to Kathmandu (Capital of Nepal) we are still taking stock of the tragic event. We have been assured by his amazingly supportive family that Kevin would not want his passing to diminish the success of others’ life-time achievements.

“The following posts are there to celebrate life and the experiences of our team, not only on Everest North (Tibet) where four reached the summit with a fifth member reaching the summit ridge, (all of which are incredible commendable achievements) but our teams around the globe,” the statement said.

“Please do not misunderstand posts that will start to appear on our page. Under no circumstances do they dilute our sadness or duty of care for the family or how we are all feeling behind closed doors.

“This post, as with our previous post, has respectfully been reviewed by Kevin’s family and will be pinned to the top so reassure you before you see happier posts,” the statement added.

“Kevin was one of the strongest and most experienced climbers on our team and had previously summited Everest South and Lhotse.”

Mr Hynes died in his tent at the North Col at 7,000m early on Friday. It is understood altitude sickness, related to low levels of oxygen combined with extreme heights, is linked to his death. Expedition colleagues and sherpas descended by 1,500m to base camp (at 5,500m) with Mr Hynes’s body.

His body has been helicoptered back to the Nepalese Capital of Kathmandu before being repatriated.

Mr Hynes had reached Camp III at 8,300m, but while other climbers were heading higher, he started his descent. He was accompanied by experienced guide Dawa Sangee, who has summited Everest South twice, Everest North and Makalu twice.

His death comes a week after Séamus (Shay) Lawless, from Bray, Co Wicklow, went missing after falling up to 500m from the balcony area of Everest in temperatures of -27C.

Ten people have died in little more than two weeks after poor weather cut the climbing window, leaving mountaineers waiting in long queues to the summit, risking exhaustion and running out of oxygen.

Nepal issued a record 381 Everest permits this season over a six-week period (mid April to May 31ar).

At least 140 others were granted permits to climb from the northern flank in Tibet.

A survivor of the Everest traffic jam who is in hospital recovering from frostbite said climbers without basic skills should be barred from the mountain.

“Several hundred of the summiteers are not properly trained, take poor decisions and put their own life at risk and also [the lives of] the Sherpa guides,” Ameesha Chauhan told the Himalayan Times.

Ms Chauhan (29), from India, had to wait 20 minutes to come down from the peak, but others were held up for hours.

“I saw some climbers without basic skills fully relying on their Sherpa guides. The government should fix the qualification criteria. Only trained climbers should be granted the permit to climb Everest.”

The death toll on Everest of 11 over the past month is the highest since 2014 and 2015 when huge earthquakes triggered devastating avalanches.

As the Spring climbing season draws to a close this week, 4,000kg of rubbish collected from Everest has been brought to Kathmandu under the Nepalese Clean Mountain campaign. According to the Nepali army, 3,000kg of rubbish are still on the mountain.