Noel Hanna, a well-known adventurer from Northern Ireland, passed away on Monday night during his descent from Annapurna mountain in the Himalayas of Nepal. The 56-year-old had successfully reached the summit last Wednesday, but unfortunately died at Camp 4 shortly after his return from the 26,545-foot peak.
“His body has been brought down and flown to Kathmandu,” Mingma Sherpa of Seven Summit Treks told AFP from the mountain’s base camp.
Hanna had a remarkable climbing career, having climbed Everest 10 times and reached the highest point on each of the world’s continents. In 2018, he achieved another significant feat by becoming the first person from the Irish island to summit K2 in Pakistan, as reported by the BBC. Irene Hunter, his sister, spoke to BBC News NI’s Evening Extra and described Hanna as a “legend” who had a passion for admiring scenic views.
“Unfortunately it’s the game we play. It’s not called the death zone for nothing,” Irish mountaineer Pat Falvey told The Irish Times. “By the law of averages, the mountains do take a life back. He was doing what he loved and he knew this. We have lost one of the best.”
Annapurna, ranked as the 10th highest mountain globally, is more perilous than Everest and is recognized as one of the most technically challenging peaks due to its steep pathways. The mountain is also susceptible to avalanches and rapidly changing weather conditions. Annapurna’s first ascent was accomplished by Maurice Herzog from France in 1950.
Yubaraj Khatiwada, a representative of Nepal’s Department of Tourism, informed Irish broadcaster RTÉ that the exact circumstances surrounding Hanna’s passing remain uncertain.
On Tuesday, Indian climbers Baljeet Kaur, 28, and Arjun Vajpai, 30, were rescued on the mountain in an unrelated occurrence. However, another 34-year-old Indian climber is still unaccounted for after falling into a crevasse on Monday.
Sadly, Hanna’s demise comes after the loss of three Nepali climbers on Everest, who were carried away into a crevasse by a block of ice.