How does start to plan to climb Everest:
It starts will the belief and small building blocks, I am a firm believer that Vision drives. I was sitting on a bus at 15,000ft in the Andres talking about altitude sickness and big mountains with two friends and an English girl, Polly who was on our trip. Polly suggested that she would love to climb Everest one day. I remember looking at her thinking, if she thinks she can climb maybe I can. From there the vision was conceived and from there it was research and experience that would get me to the summit of Everest.
What was the most valuable asset to you on your journey:
In one word, team. I had a friend with me all the way everyday on the journey. Graham Kinch and I were sitting on that bus in Peru and from there as a team we worked together to climb four continents in one year raising 70,000 to build a school in Uganda. Having someone who understands you and can help when needed and support each other was the most valuable asset to me.
What is the environment like up high on Everest:
80% of people have some crutch to bear on their journey. I was lucky in that I only got frost nip on one finger and ice in my eye which caused some damage. Others cracked ribs from coughing, lost fingers, toes, parts of their faces, torn muscles, snow blindness, hypoxic blindness, fluid in the lungs and brain and some ultimately died in pursuit of the summit.
What was it like on the summit of Mount Everest:
Cold and hard work to stand there. It was a great feeling to be standing there looking out for hundreds of miles and standing in a place very few people have ever been. I had a burning desire to get out of there. It was a beautiful day, a little windy but – 45. I was in a heightened state of awareness, and awareness that my life was at risk. I just wanted to get out of there and quick. The last three Irish people on Everest all nearly died so I just wanted to get out of there.
What have you been doing since Everest:
I have set up a trekking company with Over The Top Tours and running treks in Ireland. I have let a few expeditions in the Alps and I am taking a team of 15 to Kilimanjaro soon. I am editing a DVD and writing a book. I also have been doing Everest presentations in Ireland and abroad, which I really enjoy.