Tuesday 15 October 2019

Climbers tell of desperate bid to save tragic Alan

Alan Mahon died on Mount Elbrus in Russia
Alan Mahon died on Mount Elbrus in Russia

Friends of an Irish climber who died on Europe's highest mountain desperately tried to save his life.

Father-of-three Alan Mahon (40), from Monasterevin, Co Kildare, died on Sunday during an expedition on the southern Russian peak of Mount Elbrus.

He was with a five-man Irish group attempting the north route of the peak when tragedy struck after they were caught in bad weather.

His fellow climbers, Keith McDonnell, from Meath, Des Mulvihill and Robert Forbes, both from Longford, and Oliver Greene, from Westmeath, were met by a mountain rescue group and gave medical assistance.

But despite the "best efforts" by his friends and the rescue team, Mr Mahon died during their descent.


The Herald understands that his family are waiting for information from Russia so they can make preparations to bring him home.

A friend close to the family said that, while they were too upset to comment, they appreciated the support they were receiving from friends and loved ones.

According to a statement written by Mr Mahon's climbing companions, weather conditions deteriorated rapidly while they were camping at 5,300m and they were forced to remain there for two nights. "We were joined by a Russian climbing team for the second night, led by an experienced local guide," the statement said.

"We jointly made a decision to descend on June 30 when a small weather window provided sufficient visibility despite the extreme cold.

"All the team were strong and in good spirits while descending. Alan's condition rapidly deteriorated on descent.

"Once communications could be established, ground teams were mobilised.

"This rescue team rendezvoused with the descending team and took control to aid with Alan's descent.

"The remaining team members descended to a safe location.


"To our sadness, Alan passed away on his final descent despite everyone's best efforts."

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it was aware of the case and was providing consular assistance.

Mr Mahon's death brings to three the number of Irish climbers who have died on mountains this season.

Trinity College academic Seamus Lawless (39), from Bray, Co Wicklow, died while descending Mount Everest on May 16.

And Kevin Hynes (56), from Galway, died on May 24 after he became ill on the northern side of Everest in Tibet.

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