Longford’s Paul Devaney still holds Everest ambition

Patrick Conboy

Reporter:

Patrick Conboy

Paul Devaney at Everest base camp.
After abandoning his plan to climb Mount Everest after last month’s deadly earthquake in Nepal, Paul Devaney became involved in relief efforts.

After abandoning his plan to climb Mount Everest after last month’s deadly earthquake in Nepal, Paul Devaney became involved in relief efforts.

When Killoe man Paul Devaney set out for Nepal to scale Mount Everest last month, he had no idea his journey would take an unexpected course.

As previously reported in this paper, Mr Devaney abandoned plans to climb the world’s tallest mountain in the wake of the devastating earthquake which struck the country and saw him narrowly avoid a deadly avalanche at Everest’s Base Camp.

Instead, he made his way to the country’s capital city, Kathmandu, where he turned his hand to assisting in the relief efforts there.

Now back in Ireland, Mr Devaney has spoken of his experiences in the city.

“It took until May 2 to get to Kathmandu,” he explained. “We were some of the last people to leave the mountain and there was nobody else along the route. We didn’t know what to expect; we thought the city had been destroyed, but when we got there most of the city was still intact.”

Eager to assist, Mr Devaney joined an aid mission which was planning airdrops to remote areas of the Nepal.

“We organised an airdrop to Gorkha,” he explained. “We worked alongside an NGO and got supplies from the Nepalese equivalent of the Department of Social Welfare.

“These included food, medical supplies, blankets, and female hygiene products. Our airdrop was one of the first to reach Gorkha, and this was seven or eight days after the earthquake. There was an immediate sense that a lot of these areas had been forgotten about.”

Mr Devaney participated in several more relief missions before deciding the time was right to return to Ireland.

“The time came when my usefulness came to an end,” he admitted.

Despite his experience, the Irish Seven Summits mountaineer hasn’t ruled out the possibility of returning to fulfill his Everest ambition.

“I need to shake the feeling that something else will happen, though,” he said. “My next expedition right now is finding a job and a place to live. Life has been on hold for two years.”