Hi – I am Paul Devaney from Irish Seven Summits. My goal is to join the less than 300 people worldwide who have climbed the highest peaks on all 7 continents known as the Seven Summits challenge. The Seven Summits is one of the toughest endurance challenges on the planet and Everest now stands between us and our final goal. In April 2014 I travelled to Nepal to take on the mighty Mt. Everest in an epic 60 day expedition which had to be abandoned after 16 Sherpa lost their lives in a massive avalanche in the Khumbu icefall. I am hoping to find a way to return in 2015 to complete the Seven Summits goal.
The Seven Summits are:
1. Kilimanjaro (Africa) – Completed 2007
2. Elbrus (Europe) – Completed 2008
3. Kosciuszko (Australia) – Completed 2010
4. McKinley (N. America) – Completed 2010
5. Aconcagua (S. America) – Completed 2011
6. Vinson Massif (Antarctica) – Completed 2014
7. Everest (Asia)
This Seven Summits quest has cost me €110,000 to date, absorbing all of my savings, investments, holidays and spare time over the past 7 years. Since 2007 every vacation has included a mountain, every purchase was mountain equipment and every thought was on how to complete all 7 summits. This project has involved significant sacrifice in almost all areas of life to make it this far and I would not change a second of it!!!
Throughout 2013 I constructed a unique training programme with University of Limerick involving the National Altitude Training Centre at UL where he lived for 9 months at simulated altitude of between 3,000m and 5,000m for up to 16 hours every day between June 2013 and March 2014 in advance of the abandoned 2014 Everest season. In advance of Everest 2015 I am back training at the UL Arena and am sleeping in an Altitude Tent to help improve my adaptation.
Everest sits at 29,035ft in an area of significantly reduced air. When your body is exposed to “thin air,” it compensates for reduced oxygen levels by increasing the bloods oxygen-carrying capacity, as well as its ability to use that oxygen. Specifically, your body reacts to the thin air at high altitude by:
(1) Increasing natural hormone erythropoietin (EPO) production, which in turn increases red blood cell mass for delivering oxygen to muscle cells and converting it into energy, boosting total blood volume to move oxygen more efficiently through your bloodstream.
(2) An increase in VO2 max (the maximum amount of oxygen the body can convert to work) giving you more stamina for the long haul.
(3) Cranking-up hematocrit levels to provide a greater percentage of cells carrying oxygen.
(4) Elevating capillary volume, creating more blood pathways to muscle cells for improved muscle oxygenation.
(5) Increasing the volume of mitochondria-the powerhouses in cells that help your body turn oxygen into energy.
(6) Increasing the lungs’ ability to exchange gases efficiently – so that with every breath you take, more oxygen gets into the bloodstream.
These changes result in greater aerobic capacity (VO2 max), anaerobic capacity (the body’s ability for explosive performance) and improved endurance – meaning faster speeds at a given exertion level. I spent 9 months prior to Everest 2014 living in simulated altitude conditions to try and improve my adaptation to all of the above so that my output on the mountain is maximised in the thin-air environment.
The goal of this crowd funding project is to raise €10,000 towards the cost of returning to Everest in 2015 and completing this unique goal of standing on the highest points of all seven continents. My bid to climb Everest in 2014 came to an abrupt end after 25 days due to the terrible avalanche on 18th April 2014 which claimed the lives of 16 Sherpa and became the deadliest day in Everest history. I want to return to Everest in 2015 and finish my goal and are determined to train and work hard to make that happen. I would be so grateful for any contributions and want you to join me on my seven summits journey!