Paul Devaney from Longford in Ireland is attempting to do something no individual from the Irish midlands has achieved and something only a few elite climbers have ever done; climb the highest peaks on all seven continents in seven years while raising funds for charity.
Less than 300 people worldwide have ever completed the Seven Summits challenge. Paul travelled to Antarctica recently to complete a unique expedition to climb the highest point on the continent – Vinson Massif. Paul now has nine weeks to get ready for the biggest challenge yet, in taking on the mighty Everest in a 60-day expedition
lasting from April to June 2014.
The story of Irish Seven Summits dates back to 2005. While playing Gaelic Football with the Hong Kong GAA team Paul was encouraged by his colleagues to visit the base camp of Everest before returning to his company base in Europe.
Paul was so enamoured by the experience of visiting Everest Base Camp and having read about the Seven Summits and the challenges it posed that he proposed to his university friends that they attempt this feat for themselves. And so the ‘Irish Seven Summits’ team was born.
Paul has now successfully climbed six of the seven summits and along with his climbing buddies have raised €30,000 for different and worthwhile charities. To date all of the expeditions (including Antarctica) have been self funded, and 100% of all charity monies raised has gone to the respective charities.
Paul is using both Antarctica and Everest to help raise awareness and funds for “Liams Lodge” (www.liamslodge.com) – a unique and much needed respite centre for children with rare genetic diseases. Paul feels a special affinity to what Tony Heffernan, the founder of the charity, is trying to achieve in developing Liams Lodge.
Until last year, Paul had undertaken these expeditions while still maintaining a full time job with Rolls-Royce. To be able to climb the two remaining and most challenging peaks Paul has taken a leave of absence from his Business Management role with the Rolls-Royce Aerospace Division to focus full time on training and logistics.
Initially training at Trinity College Dublin Paul moved to the University of Limerick (Paul graduated from UL over a decade ago with BEng in Aeronautical Engineering) in July 2013 to live in the National Altitude Training Centre and train at the UL Sports Arena. The Altitude Centre was opened prior to the 2012 Olympic Games to assist elite athletes in their training for the games by allowing residents to live in simulated altitude conditions.
Paul is the first climber to use the altitude training facility (the first and only one of its kind in Ireland and UK) and is the centres first long-term resident. He has been given cross-campus access to everything from yoga breathing techniques, TRX core training, DEXA body composition scans and VO2max testing. He is living in a specialised house that simulates living at altitude, having resided at 3600m above sea level prior to departure to Antarctica. In September 2013 Paul announced his partnership with University of Limerick Foundation as official training sponsor for both Antarctica and Everest and is now actively seeking sponsors and supporters to help fund the upcoming Everest expedition in April 2014. All of this combined with training at the Altitude Gym in Limerick makes the expedition and training process a uniquely Irish one and something that is without a doubt a once in a lifetime event.
There is a special resonance to the fact that Paul reached the summit of the highest peak in Antarctica in 2014 – It is exactly 100 years since Ernest Shackleton, Tom Crean and Tim McCarthy embarked on their epic Endurance Expedition to attempt the first crossing of the ice continent in 1914. Paul recently met the grandchildren of both
Shackleton and Crean and was enthused by the opportunity to emulate their heroic exploits of a century before.
For more details on the Paul’s expeditions, to donate to Liams Lodge or to become an official sponsor for his upcoming Everest expedition please go to www.irishsevensummits.com or contact Paul via the details shown below.
Irish Seven Summits
National Altitude Training Centre, University of Limerick, Ireland
Phone: +353 (0)85 8719700