NORTHERN IRELAND EVEREST SUMMIT
TEAM SAFE AT CAMP 3: Newry climber Banjo Bannon and New Zealander Jamie
McGuinness having reached the top of the world this morning are now safely
back at Camp 3 (8300m). After resting for a couple of hours, the pair will
descend to camp 2 (7900m) and have a well earned sleep. Speaking a short time
ago by satfone, Banjo said "this has been far and away the toughest day of our
lives and we're both utterly exhausted. "
The successful summit assault
took a total of thirteen hours - nine to reach the top and four to descend.
At the summit they enjoyed the quietness of a calm day with clear visibility
stretching far into Nepal and Tibet. After taking a few photos they savoured
the moment of their achievement, yet vowed never to return. Jamie added "if
we'd known it was going to be that bloody difficult, we'd have stayed at
home. But I'm glad we did and we promise that we'll never go near the top of
Everest again !"
Expedition leader Richard
Dougan (26), who narrowly missed the summit last week when high winds forced
him to turn back just 250 metres from the top, paid tribute to his two
climbers while recovering from frostbite in Kathmandu "I am so emotional at
the moment" said Richard. "I'm so proud of these guys. we were such a small
low budget team yet against all odds we managed to put two of our members on
top - plus the weather this year has been so bad - incredible!" Richard
added "I knew it deep down that we would succeed - there's been a huge team
effort by us all. I cant wait until they return to Kathmandu on 5th June -
there sure is going to be a huge party !"
Supporters are putting up
flags in Banjo's home town of Newry Northern Ireland, where celebrations are
set to last all weekend. Jamie has received many message of congratulations
from friends all over the world, particularly his native New Zealand. The
pair were especially heartened to receive a message of goodwill from Dawson
Stelfox, the first Irishman to summit Everest exactly ten years ago.
NORTHERN IRELAND EVEREST TEAM ON
SUMMIT: Newry climber Banjo Bannon and New Zealander Jamie McGuinness have
reached the top of the world. Speaking a short time ago by satfone while
standing on the summit, Jamie said "myself and Banjo have made it. It's about
7.30 in the morning time, two to three hours after sunrise and we're feeling
Banjo then called out "Top of
the World !" before sending his love and best wishes to his family and
supporters in Newry and beyond.
They report minor frostbite
in their hands otherwise are feeling no ill effects. They summited using
oxygen and are now heading back to a lower camp. The entire expedition team,
led by Richard Dougan from Redrock Co Armagh, applaud Jamie and Banjo for
their success and are particularly pleased that they have reached the summit
so early in the day, to allow a safe descent in daylight. Let the party
IT'S ON FOR TONIGHT!
The two man Northern Ireland
Everest Team will tonight make their final push for the top of the world.
Newry climber Terence "Banjo" Bannon and New Zealander Jamie McGuinness
arrived today at Camp 3 (8300m). They are now resting in preparation for
tonight's big summit push.
Speaking by satfone a short
time ago Jamie said "we're both feeling very good, very strong. Our oxygen
supply systems are working well and everything is on target for the big climb
tonight." Banjo Bannon has recovered from the intestinal complaint which had
threatened his summit bid. "I was right as rain this morning" said Banjo "and
with the help of a good oxygen supply, Jamie and I raced up to Camp 3."
Both climbers are now
sleeping, gathering strength for the push for the top which begins at midnight
local time (1900 BST). Their first obstacle is a rock face known as the First
Step, which they will climb using head torches for guidance. Then after
several hours, they face another difficult ascent, the Second Step, after
which they should have a clear climb to the summit (8848m). They hope to
reach the top by 0900 BST to allow them to return safely to Camp 3 in
daylight. As well as Banjo and Jamie's families who are waiting expectantly
for news in Newry and New Zealand respectively.
CLIMBER BUG THREATENS EVEREST
SUMMIT BID: The two man Northern Ireland Everest summit team have now reached
Camp 2 (7800m), just 1000 vertical meters from the mountain's highest point.
Both Newry climber Banjo
Bannon and New Zealander Jamie McGuinness carried heavy loads from the North
Col and arrived just as darkness fell. Both are tired after the difficult
climb, and Banjo is suffering from a minor intestinal problem. Tomorrow
morning (Friday), they will assess Banjo's condition and decide whether to
push for the summit, or to turn back.
Should they decide to
continue, they will move tomorrow to Camp 3 (8300m) and rest for several
hours. Then at around 1.00 am on Saturday morning, they will climb through
the night, and aim to reach the summit early Saturday morning, leaving plenty
of time to return to high camp in daylight.
Spokesman David Malone said
"all of this however depends on the climbers' physical condition,
particularly Banjo's stomach complaint. If they are happy that they can reach
the summit without undue risk to their own safety, then they will go for it.
But for now, we just have to wait and see"
Jamie McGuinness has reported
that the weather is a little windy, but is confident that forecast conditions
will improve. He added that because of restrictions to their climbing permit
they will not get another attempt to summit beyond Saturday morning.
The Northern Ireland Everest Expedition in association with
the TV Production company, Extreme Production Ltd, arrived April 2nd in
Leader: Richard Dougan
Medic: Stephen Synnott
Physio: Martin Duggan