Latest climbs bring Irish Everest ascents to 19


A DUBLIN-BASED Englishman has made it to the summit of Mount Everest to raise funds for motor neurone disease research.

Coincidentally, James Haydock (48) of Rathmichael, Co Dublin, lives just two miles away from the family of Vivian Rigney (39), who also made it to the top of Everest last weekend.

And it has emerged that another Dubliner, Fergus White (37), summited last Sunday – making it 19 Irish ascents of the peak in total since Belfast architect Dawson Stelfox ascended from Tibet in 1993.

As Corkman Pat Falvey has climbed Everest twice, there are now 18 Irish Everest summiteers in total – four of them women; the first woman was Dr Clare O’Leary from Cork in 2004.

Haydock, Rigney and White were on the 8,848m-high narrow platform within hours of each other last weekend, among some 30 expeditions climbing from Nepal this season with Sherpa support.

Mr Haydock, who celebrates his 49th birthday on Sunday, has been mountaineering for about eight years and has climbed five of the world’s “seven summits”.

“He didn’t want to tell anyone before he left, and we are delighted that he has achieved this, particularly for Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association,” his wife, Bernie Haydock, said.

She and the couple’s three sons, Daniel (16), Conor (12) and Oliver (9), are looking forward to his return to Dublin at the weekend.

White has spent the last 10 years working on banking information technology projects around the world, and his previous climbing achievement was a successful ascent of the 6,300 metre Pumori last year.

Rigney, the 39-year-old executive coach originally from Stepaside, Co Dublin, has also become the fourth Irish person to ascend the seven summits – as in the highest peaks on seven continents. His climb was in aid of the Save the Children Haiti Fund.

New records for Everest this season include the youngest summiteer – 13 year-old north American Jordan Romero who climbed with his father and stepmother, from Tibet – while Apa Sherpa reached the top for the 20th time. The previous record for the youngest climber was held by Temba Tsheri of Nepal, who reached the summit aged 16, but there are reports that a Nepalese girl (15) may have succeeded too.