Irish climber Jason Black (44) to attempt the world’s deadliest mountain K2: 'It shows that if you’re ever at the hands of a bully you can rise above it'
A Donegal man will be the first Irish mountaineer to climb the world’s most dangerous mountain K2 since the tragic death of Ger McDonnell in 2008.
Jason Black (44) from Letterkenny will begin the two month attempt to climb K2 next week with an experienced team of international climbers eight years after Irish climber Ger McDonnell perished after reaching the summit.
Although Mt Everest is taller, many mountaineers believe that the K2 climb is more hazardous and one in four perish on the mountain.
“Last year I decided to begin to prepare for K2. It is estimated that it will take 76 days to complete the expedition,” said Jason.
“One in four people don’t survive the expedition on K2 so there’s a strong chance that one of us won’t be coming home.”
“I’m apprehensive about the climb but not nervous.”
Jason, who has already reached the summit of Mt. Everest revealed that his love of nature and his passion for climbing grew from his time in school where he was the victim of a vicious bully. The death of Jason’s mum when he was 17 also drove him deeper into his hobby as a means of escape and comfort.
“All my life I’ve been involved in sport. In Donegal I was a scout and it was always a huge part of my life,” said Jason
“In secondary school I was the victim of a bully, who destroyed my education for me. Every day was so traumatic. I just didn’t want to go to school.”
“Sport and climbing became a huge safety net for me and it offered me the opportunity to get away from it.”
“Unfortunately when I was 17 I lost my mum to cancer and I was in a very deep and dark hole. Climbing became my only comfort.”
“I started to focus completely on sport and developed into a good climber and as the years went on."
The climber, who is father to Laura (16), Kate (15), Billy (11), Ella (10) and a husband to Sharon, revealed that his dream to summit K2 is selfish but one he feels he needs to complete.
“I’ve always said I’m a hugely selfish man. I am married with four kids. It is very much a personal ambition but it’s difficult.”
“In most sports if you want to stop. You can do just that and get into your car and drive away but not K2.”
Jason revealed that a chance meeting with the first Irishman to ever reach the summit of K2 inspired his ambitions to climb the world’s deadliest mountains.
“When I was 23 I met Dawson Stelfox who was the first man to reach the summit of K2 and I was captivated by his story.
“I was privileged to meet him in person but he also sent me a letter and in it he wrote ‘Jason, always follow your dreams in life’."
“It was then I began to start thinking about climbing Mt. Everest and I gave myself five years to train without telling anyone of my plans."
“On May 19 2013, I reached the summit of Mt. Everest and last year I crossed the Arctic Circle and found it to be a humbling journey."
The mountaineer revealed that his achievements and ambitions have given him the opportunity to inspire young boys in schools who might be coping with bullying and thinking of ending their life.
“The expeditions have given me a lot of opportunities to tell my stories in schools and I’m blessed to have that chance.”
“It’s a great thing to be able to encourage young boys who think their life isn’t worth living like I did that they have a future.
“It shows that if you’re ever at the hands of a bully you can rise above it.”
“For me, people who are coping with depression of dealing with the loss of a loved one through suicide that is like Mt. Everest every day.”