JUST THREE years after climbing Carrauntoohill, a Limerick man is taking on the challenge of a lifetime in seeking to become the youngest Irishman to summit Mount Everest next year.
Twenty-six year-old Mark Quinn from Rhebogue is planning to scale the highest mountain in the world next March to raise €30,000 for the Shane Geoghegan Trust. He is hoping to raise one euro for every foot conquered of the 29,000 feet climb.
"It's an honour to be able to do it," he told the Limerick Leader.
"Not everyone is in a position to fundraise or train for something like this, so I'm really excited. Even climbing Carrauntoohill, the first mountain I climbed, was inspiring."
An active fundraiser since he left school, he has already jumped from a plane at 10,000 feet and run a 26 mile marathon to raise money for charity.
Now, he is going where few have gone before - embarking on the treacherous climb, which was summited by Pat Falvey, the first Irishman to do so, 17 years ago.
To date the youngest Irish person to summit Everest is Cork woman Samantha Carroll who reached the summit in 2004, aged 28.
While physical and psychological aspects of the training is now on his mind, the purpose of the Shane Geoghegan Trust is also driving him towards his goal.
The Limerick based charity raises funds for a variety of programmes for young people in the city, who may find themselves involved in criminal behaviour and offer them an alternative path.
"Organisations like the Geoghegan Trust are not just creating a future for young people otherwise forgotten about, they are actively saving lives and changing the social structure of Limerick city," said Mr Quinn.
In preparation for the mammoth challenge, he has successfully reached the summit of Mount Aconcagua in the Argentinean Andes, which stands 6,962m above sea level.
However, Everest is 8,848m above sea level and above 8,000m climbers enter the 'death zone', where the level of oxygen drops dramatically, blood thickens, the risk of frostbite increases and brain function decreases as your body begins to shut down.
Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Maria Byrne, and Munster rugby player David Wallace, attended the launch of his announcement this week, as well as representatives of Shannon Development and the Shane Geoghegan Trust.
To support Mark's Mount Everest bid, an account has been opened in Ulster Bank, O'Connell Street, Limerick. Account number 10041826, sort code 98-60-20.
To follow his expedition, see www.highaltiireland.org.