Clare mountaineer John Burke, 38
A HERO’S welcome will greet the first county Clare man to reach the top of Everest when he arrives home this Monday.
Hotelier John Burke, 38, of The Armada in Spanish Point, said that during the perilous climb he could see the fear of death in climbers’ faces as they witnessed corpses of those who had tragically lost their lives on the mountain.
The mountaineer, who is due to arrive back in Shannon Airport this Monday, said that he’s still trying to take in the achievement.
A large welcoming party, to be led by his wife, actress Aoibhín Garrihy of Dancing with the Stars fame, is guaranteed, in Spanish Point, where he runs the hotel.
He also took on the challenge to raise awareness and funds for the charity, Elevate, which he and his wife established to promote well-being among young people and help them achieve their life goals.
“I’ve been ten years dreaming of following in the footsteps of some great Irish adventures, people like Pat Falvey, Ger McDonnell and so many more. Their stories have inspired me to take to the hills and test just how far my body and mind can go,” he said.
“After preparing over that time on mountains around the world, I figured it was time to attempt the big one. The final plan was 12 months in the making. I treated Everest like a work project; finding the best people to work with, breaking down the action plan into segments to enable me get to the summit of the world.
“The final night was hell on earth as I witnessed casualties of the mountain first hand, passing the first body soon after setting off. I could see the fear of death in the faces of some people close to me. It's a crazy place to be, surrounded by the most amazing and most ferocious scenery and yet to be that close to tragedy.”