herald

Monday 17 December 2018

Hero's welcome for climber Jason as he returns from conquering K2

Jason and his wife Sharon, who said she was ‘delighted’ for him. Pic: Frank McGrath
Jason and his wife Sharon, who said she was ‘delighted’ for him. Pic: Frank McGrath

Climber Jason Black was given a hero's welcome at Dublin Airport last night when he returned from successfully scaling the world's second-highest mountain.

Jason (47) reached the summit of K2 in Pakistan on July 22.

Tragically, fellow Irish climber Ger McDonnell, who was the first Irishman to reach the same summit, died along with 10 other mountaineers exactly a decade ago today, when they were buried by an avalanche on their descent.

Tricolour

To honour him, Jason retrieved the Tricolour that Ger had proudly erected on the summit and brought it home to Ireland.

"I was standing there on the summit with the Donegal flag and Irish flag in my hand, knowing the Irish flag had only got there once but had never been recovered," he told the Herald last night.

Irish climber Jason Black is greeted by his wife Sharon and children Kate, Ella, Billy and Laura as he arrives back home. Pic: Frank McGrath
Irish climber Jason Black is greeted by his wife Sharon and children Kate, Ella, Billy and Laura as he arrives back home. Pic: Frank McGrath

"I felt a real sense of responsibility to take it home.

"I have it here in my hand today," he added of the Tricolour he proudly draped over himself and his family on his return.

A group of around 30 relatives and friends from his home in Letterkenny hired a bus to welcome him home after he returned from his Himalayan mountain adventure.

His wife Sharon Black (44), joked that she wished she could "tape him to the couch", but she knows she won't ever be able to stop the extreme adventurer from future mountain-climbing treks.

For the time being, she said she is just happy that he is home safe and well and able to spend time with her and their four children, Laura (19), Kate (18), Billy (14) and Ella (12).

Party

The former publican will be feted by locals in Letterkenny tonight at a homecoming party to thank his family, friends and other supporters for their encouragement as he embarked on his dream of a lifetime.

"We're absolutely delighted for him, he's worked so hard," Sharon said.

A spokeswoman for the Irish Red Cross, for which Jason is an ambassador, said the charity was delighted that he also erected its own flag at the summit as part of his ongoing support for the charity.

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