Friday 28 April 2017

Tragic Everest climber died not knowing of his daughter's birth

Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

Pictures of the route taken by tragic climber John Delaney (inset) show the north side base camp and, right, the 'third step' on the north side of Everest. Pat FalveyJohn Delaney (third from left, purple scarf) on Mt Aconcagua, Argentina in 2005, with Pat Falvey. Pat Falvey

THE Irish climber who died near the top of Mount Everest, three days after his wife gave birth to a baby girl, had not originally set out to reach the summit.

John Delaney (41), from Kilcock, Co Kildare, made the decision to push for the top of the world's highest mountain at the last minute. And it is understood the keen adventurer did not inform anyone of his decision. He had originally planned to scale to the North Col of the mountain, a crossing carved by glaciers connecting Everest to the Changtse Mountain.

But it is understood that when he got there he felt strong enough to make it to the top.

He got into trouble and is understood to have collapsed less than 50 metres short of the summit, in what is known as the "death zone".

Mr Delaney -- who had two young sons, Caspar (3) and Alexander (2), died without knowing his wife Orla had given birth to a baby girl last Wednesday.

The climber, managing director of an online market prediction company, died on Saturday, but because his team was out of contact his death was only confirmed yesterday.

"Orla didn't want to tell him that she had the baby until he was coming back," his mother Massie said.

Orla's brother, Liam Hurley, said she was planning to call the baby Hope. "The one person who can describe him best is the one person who can't speak at the moment, and that's Orla," Mr Hurley said.

"He was a generous, loving guy -- the family came first for him. He adored his two children and he spent as much time as he could with them," he added. "It's just a shame he's not going to get to meet the third."

Mr Delaney and his wife were married five years ago. He had been mountaineering for several years and was attempting to conquer Everest after a failed bid, also five years ago.

Mr Delaney was among a team of 18, including one US and six Russian climbers, eight Sherpas and two other guides. The expedition left on April 9.

They left a camp at 8,300 metres on Friday evening in a bid to scale the final section of the notorious peak.

After he got into difficulties, Sherpas helped Mr Delaney down the mountainside, but attempts to resuscitate him failed.

His body will remain on Everest as it is too dangerous to retrieve.

"It's just heart-wrenching to find that he won't be coming back," said Irish adventurer Pat Falvey, who has been in contact with the Everest base camp in Tibet.

"It's impossible to bring John down because of the fact that he's above the third step of the mountain at 8,750m.

"John will repose and rest in peace there for eternity," he added.

Mountaineering Ireland chief officer Karl Boyle said the mountaineering community was devastated at the news of the tragedy.

"Anyone who climbs will feel this loss acutely. John would have been the 19th Irish person to summit Everest following on from the first Irishman to climb the mountain in 1993, Dawson Stelfox," he said.

"We would like to pass on our sincere sympathies to John's wife, his two sons and his new baby daughter.

"There are dangers associated with Everest, but it is always a huge shock to lose someone on the mountain. It is a sad day."

The expedition was separate from the team involving Mark Quinn (26), who became the youngest Irishman to reach the Everest summit at the weekend.

Irish Independent

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