BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS – MT EVEREST.

Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes…
I have done it ive reached the TOP OF THE WORLD with in one hand proudly holding the Donegal flag & the other the Irish flag and my emotions are in free fall as i share that hallowed ground with the giants in this sport of adventure and expedition Edmund Hillary, Tenzing Norgay, Mallory and Irvine.
The very mention of there names in my shared sentence gives me a real sense pride personally and for my family, friends and county.
So let me share with you with journey to the top of the world at 29.028 ft to summit the might of Mt Everest.
It all started after spending a month and half climbing up  and acclimatising to advance base camp located at 21.000ft on the edge of the Rombu glacier. After careful planning and many discussions with the weather station based in Switzerland, we looked at the jet stream movement the winds speeds
and directions the temps expected on the summit at 29.028 ft. So Nima and myself set our summit date based on the information we had for the 19th may.
Preparations now were in full swing everything from our technical high altitude down clothing and boots to my high altitude food from the Irish army which proved a huge success on the summit small high alt gas cookers to heat and boil the snow ice, tents and sleeping kit.
So on the 17th may heavily loaded with equipment and with a real sense of – this is it, I’m on my way to the summit of the world. We set off and I knew it was going to be the toughest physical, mental and emotional battle I was ever about to endure, the fear that there was absolutely no rescue and no room for error as margins are so small.
Climbing that day was tough with sometimes a vertical climb to the north col and camp one. From there looking up the north ridge with Mt Everest summit sitting high in the stratosphere we settled down for the night at 23.300ft, my food this night was made up from high alt ration packs of chicken casserole and it was tasty. Nima always reinforcing the fact you must alway eat even though your body dosnt feel like it.
Early morning start after a short sleep we head up the north ridge which was fully loaded with snow and a fierce wind coming in on my left ear, a wind that would just cut you in half. The objective today was to reach the next high camp location of 25.250ft camp two.
It was an exhausting climb with the difficult conditions taking us seven hours beating against the high winds. By now we were in super high altitude territory and the air was so thin making its very hard to catch your breath even while stationary, from here we moved to the use of assisted oxygen, so on with the masks as we were carrying the oxygen in our rucksacks. Breathing became less difficult with the assistance of O2 but nothing like breathing naturally at sea level.
We quickly got set up for the night, melting snow for fluids for the body and getting some food on to fuel this tired body, melting and boiling even a couple of cups of tea would take any thing up to 1 hour to do . Falling into bed the ferocious storm continued with the tent taking the most fearsome beating with winds gusting 100mph and I was freezing both from that and with the cold coming up from the rocks I was laying on. I Found it hard to sleep with the oxygen mask on while trying to sleep, the sound of the oxygen hissing and this abnormal implant attached to my mouth, with your head not thinking straight at all at this altitude it was becoming impossible to tolerate.
So with no sleep we rose up early next morning boiled up some hot black tea and quick bit of food by now I don’t feel very much like eating, body’s rejecting everything.
Stepping out of my tent I could see the damage the winds have left in there wake, ripped torn and some totally destroyed.
Suited up in my down expedition jumpsuit and with the kit equipment packed up in our rucksacks, which now felt like I was carrying a small car on my back, mainly due to the conditions and environments effects on the body.
So now we were just about to enter the most dangerous level for the body at 8000mts the death zone where the body is in dying mode so with oxygen set on level 2  in the death zone at 26.250ft where the colour of the rock surface changes to a strong yellow colour known to the mountain as the yellow band. So our destastanation today is  27.250ft camp three, by now the conditions are so bleek with all the snow removed by the jet stream leaving only a Mixture of rock and ice making it hard work wearing 12 pointed crampons. Every step felt so painful trying to balance my pace with the available amount of oxygen that I could suck into these two huge lungs to power me up this mountain, each step required so much concentration having to work the body so hard which was already struggling from dehydration and the thinking of extra haemoglobin in the blood.
At times what took my  mind of things was athe views over my shoulder are just breath taking and eery at times as we rise above the clouds.
The winds still blow hard making it really difficult to catch your breath, but I knew I wanted to push myself right to the limit but a safe limit at least in my head.
We get into high camp three at 4pm exhausted as each step feels like hell to achieve
Nima informs me were not staying here for long, just long enough to catch some some food “not that I can eat ” and four hours later at 8pm pitch black and really cold temps we head on for the final summit push,  with a mixed feeling of excitement and fear we set off, extra gloves balaclava and energy food, oxygen etc.
Leaving the tent pitched and some food and the gas stove burners as our fall back plan incase things turn nasty up ahead.
My head torch now firmly fixed on the bare route ahead Nima forcing me to lead the way, not knowing times to push hard or plodd along, my lungs simply answered that question, “plodding” working within my lungs reduced capacity.
On we plodded and the higher we went the harder it was to breath and man it’s tough to climb as. The energy levels are so low with the exhaustion , my body’s screaming at me as its in huge distress, now it’s taking all the Mental Stamina I can gather up to keep me going putting one foot infront of the other. Step after step the fears grew stronger knowing that there was absolutely no rescue off this mountain from this altitude a sick sense of suffocation came over me where my breathing went hair wire and I was sucking what ever little amount of oxygen was available but with a feeling that still not enough to satisify the body’s demands, thinking is this it is it all going to end here looking around desperately for any glimmer of hope or scantuary. “Pull it together Jason ,I kept saying to myself” and finally slowly filling my diafram in stead of being the spectator I took control of my body again.
It wasn’t like anything I’ve ever experienced before as like if I was beat on the bike or training or running I could just pull over get off and say that’s that, here there was nowhere turn to go look for help it was final, get it wrong on Everest and that it, it’s all over, your simply dead.
It’s now 12 midnight and the temperatures are super low -20 -30 deg and my face hurts sore with the pain of the cold winds, my nose and cheeks numb, I’m now carrying 3 tanks of oxygen in my rucksacks rack each supplying 600mins each.
About 1am I felt my body getting very weak I was sucking and sucking with a real fear of suffocation and I quickly checked my tank to find it empty, switched over it was like someone put the life back into me and on I plodded 2 – 3 – 4 o’clock each hour bringing its own pressures but in a sick way it’s where I wanted to be and it was fantastic, electric seeing how far this body that I know so well and that I’ve lived inside for 42 years, now lets see how far I can push it, the rush was pallet able.
climbing higher and higher out through the exit cracks onto the narrow north east ridge each side dropping for thousands of feet left to nepal and right to tebit. Next land mark was mushroom rock, where a good friend billy had an unplanned sleep for an hour days earlier on his ascent to the summit crazy I know but extremely nessecary as they where experiencing huge climbing difficultly. He was with Namgil who died on the decent which may help to explain there issues. From there it was on to the first step, no bother I felt and traversed along the cliff edge reaching the part of the climb which was the feared “second step” which is a substantial vertical climb with a combination of badly placed and secured or simply not, ladders and ropes. Times I knew my life depended only on a 6″ ledge to walk on with drops of over 10.000 ft directly below. The fear of god was genuinely running through my veins as climbed higher and higher, that combined with the heavy breathing which by now I have to say I was getting control off. Ill never forget that second step as it was so exposed with death written all over it, I could taste the blood in the back of my throat I was that frightened, but I knew it was the gateway to the summit and there was no avoiding it, it just had to get done.
And done it was I move on to the third step, knowing in my head that I could do it, just keep pushing Jason, I said over and over getting stronger with every step forward.
By now it was sunrise and it brought with it the most magnificent views and the most deadly reminders of where I was, as now the dead bodies were in full view preserved in there full state some newly dead and others there a while, I had to block out and not let it interfere with my progress, sounds simple but not at 28.000ft.  It was hard to avoid the thoughts of what happens if something happens me up here, I’m I next?, who, what, where, when. There was disgarded oxygen bottles scattered left and right, abandoned rucksacks, boots sticking out from behind rocks, I presume still attached!!!! Stop, stop I shout to myself and focused again on the job ahead.
Finally I see It, the summit close up ahead and the sun setting as my emotions started to run wild, “I’m here I’m finally here”, Nima reminds me it still and hour away and I knuckle down again climbing higher and higher, the final part proving very, very difficult attached to the mountain with an 8mm red rope and directly on my right side is a bottomless drop but I looked out into the valley of silence been encouraged by the faces of Ama Dablam,Nuptse, and Makalu as the sun was smiling on there faces, turning left zig zagging impatiently trying to rush it, taking more steps than normal thinking im there im there, rushing finally collapsing in a heep, slumped against the slope, mouth gasping like a fish out of water,  but the final slope was short and the rewards so high, I managed one final push six – seven – eight continuous lung wrenching steps, floundering ecstatically for the first time I could safely say I was going to make it, nothing was going to stop me now and I push and pushed not allowing my legs to out strip my lungs again.
I plodded across this great white roof driven now by euphoria  “I’m finally here” where’s everyone else at 7am I’m the only person standing on The summit of the world at 29.028ft, minutes later I see a team arriving from the south side, but for a few simple Minutes it was me and mt Everest alone and it was wonderful amazing majestic spectacular.
I sat down in awe of where I was, all my child hood dreams have come true. Then a moment of weekness as today I stand closer to my mother and brother who both passed from this world and today for a brief moment I felt so reconnected.
Proudly getting out my Donegal and Irish flags Nima snaps a few pics as a lifetime reminder of this wonderful moment in my life. What a treat what a privilege to be here feeling the same holds and touching the same rocks as Hillary, Tenzing and Mallory, all those years ago, trying to take it all in, memorize the views, the sounds, I was in heaven or as close as. So I just had to make the most of my Lonely meditation, trying to soak up the experience when Nima taps my shoulder saying we gotta get moving , taking my final look around and been so proud to be the first Donegal person standing on top of the world, a feeling ill take proudly share with all that care to listen.
Slowly we started the decent proving as difficult as it was to climb Mt Everest. By now we were climbing non stop for days and days running on adrenaline which was quickly running thin.
On my decent the reminder of where I was quickly grounded me as I counted 14 plus dead body’s they were everywhere and it was so, so sad to think that this was their
final place of rest.
Arriving back wrecked to camp 3 at 27.250ft where I fell Into the tent exhausted, my mind running wild with excitement.
I needed no rocking as I slept, not even having power to get into my sleeping bag or taking my moon boots off – I passed out.
Next morning Nima woke me “hot tea” and we need to get out out this danger zone of 26.250ft down to a safer altitude of either the north col or if the energy provides get back to advance base camp.

What a fantastic summit day to the top of the world and I have so many
people to thank for this experience and survival.
An experience that I wish to pass on to the youth of our county, hopefully inspiring them that no mountain is to high or no problem to big to conquer.

Today I’m safely back in basecamp after days and days of descending my focus clearly on getting home safely to my wonderful family, friends and to my county of Donegal to share my stories, good and bad and take my Mt Everest Donegal flag back to the most beautiful mountain in the world the Summit of Mt Errigal and I hope you all can join me that day.

For now
Thank you a for allowing me into your lives and I hope you have enjoyed this wonderful expedition to the top of the world, on this majestic yet ruthless mountain standing 29.028ft ..
Mt Everest.

Respect

Jason

This Post Has 63 Comments

  1. Some man for one man!!!!

    Hup Everest & hup Donegal

  2. Well done, can’t even begin to imagine the hardship and effort it takes to get there. Congratulations!

  3. Hairs standing on the back of my neck reading that… Well done Jason, some achievement!!!

  4. It has been so exciting to read your blog,there’s a best seller in the making.
    Fantastic and amazing achievement for a Donegal man,wish you all the best and would love to be in Letterkenny for your return. From a Fanad woman in Abu Dhabi

  5. Wow!such a descriptive account Jason! So strange to hear exactly what u endured as we lay with baited breath candles aglow n praying for your safe return. Tis fascinating and inspiring to read your blog. The county is so v proud of u, a grt ambassador. Well done.Huge respect.

  6. Well done Jason, delighted you followed your dream and achieved it. blogs have been fantasic reading and very real. Thanks for sharing your every emotion so honestly. Take care. Amanda Duffy.

  7. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us Jason….it has been unbelievable!! So, so proud of every step!!! Get home safe & ASAP!!!!

  8. You have my utmost respect for achieving what has to be the most exhilerating and frightning experience known to man, Fair play to you Jason

  9. Good man Jason. Congratulations!! What you’ve described in the latter stages of this epic trip truly does put things in perspective. Well done. I’m delighted for you that you’ve made your dream come true. You sound happy. There’s bound to be a decent photo or two to see? Hope you had the lens cap off! Doh!

  10. Well done Jason what an inspiration to the youth of Donegal. Enjoy your well earned rest

  11. Congratulations Jason what an amazing journey safe journey home to Donegal and your lovely family!

  12. Well Jason it’s been an amazing journey loved reading all the blogs safe journey home

  13. What a story sir !! Great reading, were delighted for you, and glad your on your way home safe.
    Martin and Lisa

  14. What a fantastic feat and a gripping read Jason, you’re an inspiration. Thank you for sharing. A Donegal woman in Frankfurt.

  15. Well done to you Jason Black amazing climb for you….!

  16. Well done Jason its been absolutely amazin readin ur blogs. Such an amazin achievement. Lookin forward 2 hearin about it all when u get back.

  17. Hi Jason. Just awesome, just awesome! Proud to know you my friend. Dave

  18. We are so delighted for u that u achieved ur dream Jason. What a proud day for u , Sharon Laura Kate billy and ella . Cant wait to see the photos. Safe home

  19. Reading this brought tears to my eyes so proud of you Jason so so proud xxxx

  20. Come home my friend your job is done
    We have lots to talk about.
    That wee restaurant on the corner were we chatted before you left opposite your shop. That day I saw the fear and excitement as you listened and questioned me.
    Remember the phone call from the random guy who was attempting Everest
    attempting you kept saying. That’s when I knew
    See you soon.

  21. cant find words to describe what we just read jason….its actually scary reading this…u deserve such respect for your achievement…god bless and safe home to your family..

  22. A great achievement, well done, a tight time of it but well worth it. Sharon and kids will b glad to have u back 🙂

  23. Reading your blog has had us enthralled. We cannot even imagine what you have endured on your amazing journey, well done to you and your supportive and loving family. Safe home now & Congratulations for achieving a life long ambition. Brian and Christine

  24. what can I say there are no words to describe this endurance test and you did it voluntary, on your own ,, this is the kind of stuff that great stories and great films are made of

  25. Well done Jason so pleased to has all worked out for you. All the hard work paid off. Safe travel home.

  26. Jesse dude what have you done with our Jason that was just breath taking felt as if I was climbing that mountain along with you even found myself fixing up my shirt neck as I felt the chill from that north ridge so proud lad to here you had reacted the top safe now get yourself home now lad and I will be in that Que to shake that hand of yours well done lad ……………. Voodoo will have to stay open 24 hours for at least a week when you get back 😉

  27. An awe-inspiring account of reaching the top of the world!

    Your passion for Donegal and the fact that you felt connected to your mother and brother on the summit of Everest make the story all the more special. The first Donegal man to reach the top of the world’s highest mountain. Congratulations Jason!

  28. Hi Jason
    Amazing jason ! A huge congrats to you on what is just an unbelievable achievement. Really would like to talk with you when you get back. It so happens the Donegal Youth Council are planning 5 big mental health/motivational roadshow events for young people in different locations in the county in Sept and October – would be an amazing opportunity for you to pass on and share your experience and message to the youth of the county as you mentioned so hopefully we can talk soon!
    Marty

  29. What a fantastic achievement. great blog. It sounds amazing!you will have to come into Billys class and tell us all about it. Well done from Linda Sweeney and all the children in 3rd class in Woodland National School 🙂

  30. Jason how amazing! this was the most riveting blog post. Many, many congratulations on your achievement. Maybe you’ll do a speaker session for us at some stage. looking forward to hearing about your amazing adventure. I was in with Sharon today, she was so proud of you. They will all be delighted to have you home.

  31. “In the end, it’s not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away” 😉

  32. the hills of donegal will sing again

  33. Just amazing cuz, so many emotions reading that blog, its just unbelievable wat u have achieved.. Super proud of u, u have done “blackmagic” so proud.. Safe journey home and look forward 2 seeing u..❤xx

  34. Well done Jason – I never met you but great credit to you on your achievement. We are so proud of you as a Donegal man. I am sure your family are delighted to have you on the way home

  35. I would just like to send you my congratulations on such a magnificent achievement Jason. I am in no doubt whatsoever that you have inspired so many people to get out there and follow their dreams as you have just done. I was just privileged to read your amazing journey from the start to the finish and I think you are marvellous. What an achievement…Safe journey home!!!

  36. my spine was tingling reading that , i cant imagine what it was like being there , some achievement, for some reason i laughed when i read the bit about drinking tea near the top of mt. everest . heard this song on the radio tonight , only one person i will ever think of when i hear it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhgfzEm3CWU

  37. congratulations and well done Jason, a great achievement

  38. Fantastic Jason well done. We have loved reading the blogs. Safe home to your lovely family. It has brought a lot of ‘Donegal people’ together We are so proud of what you have achieved.
    Xx Mike Mary & our Donegal boys

  39. Well Done Jason, Great Stuff – inspiring indeed. Really enjoyed the blogs over the past weeks. Safe journey home… Karl, Helen and the boys.

  40. You made it! An amazing achievement! Thank you for sharing your thrilling adventure with us, now, home to your fabulous wife and family! Helen & Tim xx

  41. Congratulations on such a magnificent achievement Jason and I cannot imagine what it must of been like to keep going through it all. Absolutely love reading your blogs and the emotion in them. Safe journey home and can’t wait to hear all about it and see the pictures xo

  42. Congratulations Jason x
    I’m delighted you’ve achieved your dream and done so safe and sound. You’ve made us all so proud. I’ll definitely be buying you a couple of burgers when you get back now to fatten you up again lol!

    Regards
    Marie

  43. RESPECT……I sense a Donegal person of the year award coming on…..Safe home!!!

  44. Safe home fella, top man…,G.C and family

  45. Well done dude hats off to you an amazing achivement
    and no one more deserving of it. I can only imagine that you have been through hell and come out on top.You know me, inside i always thought you were crazy but this is the cherry on the top of the cake. I cant describe how extremely proud of you we all are here.Safe trip home dude , by the way Richard Branson is looking for names for the next trip to space shall i put yours in.

  46. There once was a fellow called Black,
    Mount Everest he climbed for the craic,
    At the summit he paused,
    No sound of applause,
    So here’s a big clap on the back.

  47. Top Class Jason! Well done that is really some achievement!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  48. Justin- very inspiring for anyone who reads this and ive shared with family and colleagues here in scotland and ireland . many congratulation on a truly outstanding achievement !! (emma’s dad)

  49. well done jason,we climbed hill 16 in 1992 again in 2012 and now mount everest in 2013,theres something about our donegal hills,all the best m.keeney

  50. Congratulations Jason, safe journey home xx

  51. Well done Jason. Huge respect. Look forward to a home coming to remember on Monday
    Patrick

  52. Well done Jason. It has been fantastic reading your blogs. Amazing. Congratulations to you on achieving your dreams . I cant begin to imagine how you felt at the top as close to your mum and brother as you could possibly get, Such an emotional time for you.. Safe home to your family and enjoy all the celebrations. You so deserve it. Congrats again.

  53. Wow, so close to heaven, so incredibly brave!!! Well done & congrats Jason!! – You’re a legend!! What a tough emotional journey!! Hope you’re feelin ok & safe journey home!! Donegal looks forward to welcoming you home again!!

  54. Dear jesus I have to go back up mt errigal again lol. . dervla get the boots out again. . Jason black brother and friend county hero you done it and im so very proud see you monday big hugs waitin for you xxx

  55. I’m so happy for you Jason, I never once doubted your tenacity and courage to achieve your dream. Looking forward to having a beer and a chat about it, John x

  56. Absolutely brilliant Jason, delighted you’re safe and sound. Well done Sharon & kids, I’d say it’s been a long wait..

  57. Well done Jason hope to see you soon.

  58. Nothing matches getting to the top when I climbed kilmanjaro in 1980s I felt as if that was paradise I flew over Everest and can only imagine the euphoria u must have felt A fantastic achievement Grainne hines

  59. OMG Jason that is absolutely fab, amazing achievement, you truly are an inspiration. Hopefully meet up in the voodoo when you get back for a drink (or ten lol). I know we probably dont know each other as well as I would like but hopefully, as i also have an interest in mountaineering, this will bring us closer x

  60. great achievement Jason, congratulations!!!

  61. What a amazing experience, inspirational. Thank you for sharing with us. Delighted that you are home safe with your family.

  62. Wow!!! What can I say! What an incredible feat Jason, you really have conquered the world! What a great blog you wrote, you have encaptured a great sense of pride in all of us from your epic experience and have no doubt inspired not only a county but a proud nation to follow in your footsteps and realize that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Thank you for that Jason. God bless you.

  63. Congratulations Jason, magnificent achievement and your blog made it seem so real ( and scary ).
    What next?

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