UK climber dies while descending from top of dangerous 26,545ft Annapurna mountain
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A renowned Northern Irish climber has died in Nepal after climbing one of the world's most dangerous mountains.
Noel Hanna, 56, died on Monday (17 April) on his way down from Annapurna’s 8.091m summit, according to the Nepal-based commercial adventure operator, Seven Summit Treks.
Thaneswar Guragai, the general manager at Seven Summit Treks, said Hanna had been carried down the mountain and flown to the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu.
His cause of death has not been confirmed, however his friend Pat Falvy told Ireland's RTE it is believed Hanna died at base camp after descending from the summit.
Falvy told the broadcaster: “I got a text in from my people in Kathmandu, which said that Noel had passed away.”
Hanna lived in Dromore in Co Down, a small town located about 12 miles southwest of Belfast, with his wife Lynne, who is also a climber. The couple climbed Everest together in 2016. Everest’s summit-to-death rate is said to be just 3.29 percent.
However, Hanna had summited Everest 10 times and climbed the highest point on all seven continents. In 2006, he climbed Everest and cycled from the route’s base camp towards the sea in eastern India. He reached the Bay of Bengal after a marathon bike ride which lasted two weeks.
Along with three Sherpas, he became one of the first humans to ascend the Burke Khang peak on the Nepal-Tibet border.
He was also known for being the first person from Ireland to successfully climb and descend K2, the world’s second-highest mountain.
Only a few hundred people have been able to climb up the notoriously dangerous K2 and make it down alive.
Annapurna, the mountain where Hanna died, had a summit-to-death rate of 27.2 percent up to 2018, according to mountainiq.com. This figure makes it the world’s most treacherous mountain over 8,000m.
Tributes were paid to Hanna after news of his death was announced this week. Mourne Mountain Adventure and guided hiking company Mountain Adventures said it was ‘very saddened’ to hear about Hanna’s death and condolences were sent to his family and wife.
“There is some peace in that he spent his last moments doing what he loved best, such a great man and one of Northern Ireland's finest mountaineers,” the company said in a statement.
DUP MLA for Antrim Paul Frew posted a tribute on Twitter, writing: "So sorry to hear of the death of Noel Hanna from Northern Ireland who had just become the 1st Irish climber to summit Annapurna.
"Noel was an absolute legend climbing K2, Manaslu, and Everest 10 times! My thoughts & prayers are with his family at this sad time."
Meanwhile, Hanna’s Instagram followers shared tributes in his last post, which he uploaded on 10 March.
“Condolences to Noel's family and friends,” one follower said.
Another commenter wrote: “shocked and sad about the news I still remember you setting off from mount Vinson to ski out to the sea - we were all in awe watching you leave from basecamp into the Antarctic glacier wilderness - true adventurer Rest in Peace Noel.”
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence, contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677
Featured Image Credit: Noel Hanna/Facebook/YouTube