Over €220,000 raised for missing Irish Everest climber

Mountaineering expert says recovery operation for Séamus Lawless would be a ‘huge task’

Séamus Lawless is said to have slipped while in the “balcony area” near the summit of Everest after reaching it early last Thursday.

Séamus Lawless is said to have slipped while in the “balcony area” near the summit of Everest after reaching it early last Thursday.

 

A fundraising page set up by the family of Séamus (Shay) Lawless, who has been missing on Mount Everest since Thursday, has raised over €220,000 in two days.

The GoFundMe page, set up to fund a search operation, had raised €221,163 of its €750,000 goal by Sunday evening. Over 6,000 people have donated to the appeal so far.

Mr Lawless (39) is an academic in Trinity College Dublin, working as a professor in the School of Computer Science and Statistics.

From Bray, Co Wicklow, the father of one was part of an eight-member climbing expedition when he went missing after he reportedly fell from an altitude of 8,300 metres.

Speaking on Sunday, mountaineering expert John Dowd, from Co Kerry, said the area of Mount Everest where Mr Lawless when missing was a knife edge ridge, on the border between China and Nepal.

He said it would be a “huge task” to get a body down from this altitude and it would require experienced Nepalese Sherpas who were not tired from a recent trip up the mountain, but who were at base camp and already acclimatised. Locating the body might be less challenging than trying to bring it down, he said.

The weather was closing in and there were only a few weeks left during which an operation could be mounted. This meant that the Sherpas would have to be already at the base camp as there would not be enough time to move new climbers there and wait for them to get acclimatised.

The operation would be very difficult and dangerous and could not be rushed, he said.

He said he had read of a previous attempt some years ago to bring a body down, but that had to be abandoned because of the difficulties involved.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said the Government would assist the family of Mr Lawless in any way possible.

“I have spoken to Pamela, his wife, on a number of occasions over the last 24 hours,” he told RTÉ.

“She is a remarkable woman and she is going through a nightmare that many of us simply can’t imagine,” he said.

“We are willing to offer any support we can, either financial or organisational, she knows that,” he added.

The fundraising appeal set up by the family of Mr Lawless said time was of the essence in the search operation, and the costs would be “substantial.”

https://www.gofundme.com/f/seamus-lawless