Limerick man reveals an unusual side to life on Everest

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

IT IS LIFE on Everest, but not as you might imagine it to be.

IT IS LIFE on Everest, but not as you might imagine it to be.

Truly not a trek for the faint-hearted, Limerick climber Mark Quinn has revealed that he is enjoying a few treats at the base of Mount Everest as he prepares for the final leg of his journey.

Surviving mainly on a diet of soup, noodles and “anything that melts”, the Rhebogue man said he has recently enjoyed watching films on a projector at the base of Everest.

The films are projected onto a piece of cloth at night time, where he and his team enjoy a distraction from the journey ahead.

He watched ‘Kick Ass’ last week, about a teenager who sets out to become a real-life superhero, and ‘Limitless’ starring Christian Bale, another action-thriller - good material as he prepares to climb through Everest’s “death zone”.

It is one of the few creature comforts he has enjoyed since he left Limerick late last month in his quest to become the youngest person in the Republic to summit Everest.

“I’m dying to get up there now,” he told the Limerick Leader from base camp, the only location where he can make or receive calls from abroad.

It is currently in the region of 18 degrees, but temperatures will plummet to minus 30 degrees as he heads up the North Coll.

On summit day he will burn 5,000 to 6,000 calories, but his calorie intake won’t be anywhere near that.

He is hoping to make the round trip to the summit and back down to one of the base camps in an impressive 10 hours.

“We have been talking about that here, and if you’re taking longer than 10 hours you’re going to end up getting into difficulty.

“We will need three to four hours to get down to camp two or three, but we want to get down as close as we possibly can to advanced base camp,” he said.

Now due to leave the camp this coming week for the epic climb, he said the prospect of the journey ahead is exciting. He expects they will reach the summit by May 18 at the earliest, where they will need bottled oxygen as they sleep and walk.

For the past number of weeks he has been climbing and descending the various stages of the mountain to help his body adjust to the sub-zero temperatures and high altitudes.

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.

It has claimed more than 250 lives since the first ascent by Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing in 1953.

He is hoping to raise one euro for every foot conquered of the 29,000 feet climb, potentially €30,000 for the Shane Geoghegan Trust.

The Limerick based charity, which was set up after Garryowen rugby player was shot dead in a case of mistaken identity, raises funds for youth programmes in the city.

See www.highaltitudeireland.org to support Mark.