Documentary on One

The Seventh Summit

In April this year, Paul Devaney was trying to achieve a dream to reach the summit of Mount Everest and complete the Seven Summits Challenge - but nature had other plans.

The Seventh Summit

Ascending Mt. McKinley in Alaska (Photo by Niall O'Byrnes)
Ascending Mt. McKinley in Alaska (Photo by Niall O'Byrnes)

On April 18th 2014, an avalanche on Mount Everest claimed the lives of 16 Nepalese Sherpa, making it the deadliest day ever on the mountain.

On that day, Irishman Paul Devaney was making his way towards Base Camp and the notoriously dangerous Khumbu Icefall - which most climbers who are aiming for the summit have to traverse.

Paul had spent seven years preparing to climb the legendary mountain. He was taking part in the Seven Summit Challenge and had climbed the six other highest mountains on each continent, and he had only one summit remaining left to reach - Everest.

He had quit his well-paid job as an engineer in Berlin to return to Ireland and undergo the gruelling altitude training necessary to climb above the clouds. Training meant long hours in the gym and sacrificing time with his girlfriend, family and friends.

On the 18th of April, as Paul was making his way up the mountain, he was unaware of what was happening ahead of him on the mountain. When he and his team finally arrived into Base Camp - an occasion that should have been a celebratory one - they were greeted with a sombre atmostphere in the wake of a catastrophic avalanche and the missing Sherpa guides.

Despite the tragedy, Paul and the rest of the team still hoped that they would be able to achieve their own dream of reaching the summit. But a standoff ensued between the Nepalese government and the Sherpa guides over compensation and meant that everything came to a standstill on Everest. Paul was now at the mercy of other people's decisions as to whether or not he would be able to climb the seventh summit.

Paul kept an audio diary of his ascent and in this documentary we hear the firsthand story of the tragedy and of Paul's attempt to achieve a seven year dream.

Produced by Julien Clancy.

Production supervision by Nicoline Greer.

Sound supervision by Mark McGrath.

First Broadcast 30th August 2014

Paul raises money for the charity Liam's Lodge through his mountain climbing.

For more information on the Irish Seven Summits Challenge and Everest 2015, click here.

'Documentary on One is the home of Irish radio documentaries and the largest library of documentary podcasts available anywhere in the world. We tell stories in sound, mostly Irish ones, and each documentary tells its own story'


Documentary Maker: Julien Clancy

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Documentary maker: Nicoline Greer

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