THERE is just one week to go before history-making Limerick climber Mark Quinn departs for his latest expedition to conquer new heights thousands of miles away.
The 29 year-old Rhebogue man, who in 2011 became the youngest person born in the Republic to conquer Everest, the highest mountain in the world,now has two new targets in mind.
As he leaves Shannon Airport for Islamabad next week, Mark’s thoughts will be on the 50-day journey that lies ahead as he attempts to become the first Irishman to climb K4 and K5, the 11th and 13th highest mountains in the world, in one single expedition. The peaks stand at 8,080 and 8,035 metres above sea level, but no Irishman has successfully completed climbing one of these mountains in the Himalayas.
But he admits that this is no deterrent to “taking the road less travelled” as many look to the “iconic Everest” over these equally difficult mountain climbs.
“I am mad to get off and get on the road now. We run the risk of not having a weather window to climb, and if we do the major danger is an avalanche,” he said, adding that safety has been a major focus of his preparations in the last two years since his learning curve on Everest.
To make it an even greater challenge Mark is also hoping to complete the journey without oxygen, and will only carry a supply to use in case of an emergency.
This Saturday, June 15, he will hold a ‘goodbye party’ and a fundraising night in Bentley’s bar from 8pm. A special cocktail is being created with proceeds from its sales going to charity.
Over €1,200 has been raised to date for two of his designated charities from the climb, but he hopes to raise a lot more. After raising funds for the Shane Geoghegan Trust from his last expedition, he has chosen Limerick based Headstrong, which supports young people’s mental health, and Medicins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), the world’s leading medical humanitarian organisation.
To prepare for the challenge he took part in the Connemarathon, climbed some of the notorious routes in Ben Nevis, the highest mountain range in Britain, and ran the marathon in the Great Limerick Run.
He will leave Shannon Airport on Thursday next, June 20, where he will later joined with a predominantly Belgian expedition, led by Dutch guide Arnold Coster who led his team on Everest.
Mark said the support of his sponsors - Tayto, River Deep Mountain High, North Face, Ovio Studios, Altitude Gym, the Jelly Bean factory - will allow for all the money raised to go directly to charity.