Limerick climber to tackle Karakoram range

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

'The next goal': Mark Quinn with Orlaith Foley of Headstrong and Deirdre Mangaoang, M�decins Sans Fronti�res and Mayor of Limerick Cllr Gerry McLoughlin at the launch of his expedition in the Savoy Hotel. Picture: Liam Burke/Press 22
LIMERICK climber Mark Quinn has had his latest expedition in mind since he stood on the summit of Mount Everest in 2011, becoming the youngest Irish person to do so.

LIMERICK climber Mark Quinn has had his latest expedition in mind since he stood on the summit of Mount Everest in 2011, becoming the youngest Irish person to do so.

Not content to rest on his laurels, the Rhebogue man will this summer tackle Gasherbrum I and II - better known as K5 and K4 respectively - in a single expedition.

In doing so Mark will become both the first Irish person to climb the mountains and also the first Irish person to climb two of the world’s highest mountains on a single journey.

Quinn, who raised funds for the Shane Geoghegan Trust and placed a badge in memory of the murdered Garryowen player at the summit of Everest, will raise funds for mental health charity Headstrong and international aid organisation Médecins Sans Frontières on his latest expedition.

He said at an event hosted by Mayor of Limerick Cllr Gerry McLoughlin in the Savoy Hotel that this was the “next goal” he had in his mind after summiting Everest.

“It was in my head when I was on Everest, it was the next goal I had to be back for,” explained the former Crescent College man.

“Descent is a very dangerous time for a lot of reasons, including the people letting go, they feel like they have accomplished their goal, so as part of my own preparation, I will always have the next goal in mind as I am coming down.”

The 50 day expedition, leaving on June 10, will be led by Dutch guide Arnold Coster, who led the Everest climb.

Quinn said the involvement of sponsors Tayto, North Face, the Altitude Gym, Ovo Studios and River Deep, would mean all money raised will go to the charities directly.

Mark admitted that climbing the 8,000-plus metre mountains would be “tough”.

“The Karakoram range does have weather that is that bit more savage, but you are not climbing on those savage days ideally, you wait for your good weather windows and go then,” he said, stressing it was “a completely different sort of challenge” to Everest.

The team will tackle K4 - the 13th highest mountain in the world - first, before moving onto K5, the 11th highest.

Asked how long it would take to complete one mountain before moving to the other, Quinn laughed: “That is an interesting question, that will be based on a lot of form, we will just see how we get on, we will be the slaves of weather as always.”

“When weather windows come up we will just have to take them, we might find we have to come down, take a few rest days and then go straight back up to the high camps on the other one.”

Quinn is back in intensive training and will run in the Great Limerick Run in May. Asked about his confidence in completing the climbs, he said: “Given the right conditions, everything has to be right, and if it is then I am confident we will be able to achieve the goals.”

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