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Everest North Side Expedition: Northern Ireland Expedition
Everest 2003


Latest News: 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.

5/31/2003 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 really good"

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 begin...

5/30/2003 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.

5/31/2003: 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.

Background and older updates

The Northern Ireland Everest Expedition in association with the TV Production company, Extreme Production Ltd, arrived April 2nd in Kathmandu. 

TEAM MEMBERS
Leader: Richard Dougan

Climbers:
Terrence Bannon
David Sharp
Jamie McGuiness

Medic: Stephen Synnott
Physio: Martin Duggan

 





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