Irish climber Noel Hanna, who had climbed Mount Everest 10 times, dies on Nepal's Annapurna

Noel Hanna, a famed Irish mountaineer who had climbed Mount Everest 10 times, has died on the descent from the challenging Annapurna mountain range.

Hanna, 56, died overnight in his camp in west Nepal after scaling Mount Annapurna, or Annapurna 1, the world's 10th tallest mountain and the tallest peak in the range at 26,545 feet, officials said.

A married former bodyguard, Hannah had scaled the summit of Annapurna last Wednesday, The Irish Times reported.

His body has been brought down and flown to Kathmandu from the Annapurna base camp, the expedition agency Seven Summit Treks told AFP, according to CBS News.


The circumstances of Hanna's death were unclear, Yubaraj Khatiwada, an official with the Nepal Department of Tourism told Reuters.

Hanna was found dead inside his tent at Camp 4, the final camp before the summit, after scaling the mountain without supplemental oxygen on Monday, officials told The New York Times.

Noel Hanna on July 10, 2008 at a press conference for the launch of the 'South Pole race' in London. The event will see Norwegian and British competitors following in the footsteps of Scott and Amundsen in a race to the South Pole.
Noel Hanna on July 10, 2008 at a press conference for the launch of the 'South Pole race' in London. The event will see Norwegian and British competitors following in the footsteps of Scott and Amundsen in a race to the South Pole.

In separate incidents on the same mountain, dozens of rescue workers were mobilized to locate two climbers who had lost radio contact with the base, Khatiwada told The Times. After a search lasting hours, record-holding Indian climber Baljeet Kaur, 28, and fellow climber Arjun Vajpai, 30, were rescued, CBS News reported.

The search continues for another 34-year-old Indian climber, who fell into a crevasse on the same mountain Monday and has not yet been found, officials said.

Noel Hanna remembered as ' best of the best' among climbers

Bonita Norris, the youngest British woman to reach the top of Everest, said on Twitter the news about Hanna left her "absolutely gutted. Noel was the best of the best."

In another post, which included a picture of Hanna, the author of "The Girl Who Climbed Everest," said, "He taught me so much, which I will always take with me into the hills. He was patient, funny and totally obsessed with his wife Lynne and their dogs. I can't believe it."

Alison Irwin, a representative from the Nepal Ireland Society, told BBC News Hanna promoted connections between the two countries. "He had a huge love of Nepal, through his mountains, and was very, very interested in all things Nepal," she said.

When she heard Hanna had reached the peak of Annapurna earlier in the week she was delighted for him, she said. "The first thought that came into my head when I saw the summit news was, 'Well, I hope he gets down safe'. And I woke up this morning to that bad news."

Robbie Marsh, a mountain guide in Northern Ireland called Hanna an inspirational figure within the climbing community. "I was always at him to write a book, but he was such a humble man," he told BBC News.

Hanna inspired Marsh to quit his corporate management job and start his own mountaineering business. "Part of his legacy is that inspiration that he has given people," Marsh said said.

Hanna made his 10th climb to the summit of Mount Everest in 2021, according to his website.  He and his wife successfully summited Mount Everest in 2009 and 2016 from both sides, The Irish Times reported.

A renowned adventurer, he scaled summits and competed in sports around the world, the outlet reported.

“Unfortunately it’s the game we play. It’s not called the death zone for nothing," Irish mountaineer Pat Falvey told The Irish Times. "By the law of averages the mountains do take a life back. He was doing what he loved and he knew this. We have lost one of the best."

Annapurna's dangers attract adventurers, climbers

Frequent avalanches add to the dangers of the Annapurna peak in west Nepal, which was first climbed by Maurice Herzog of France in the early 1950s, Reuters reported. At least 365 people have climbed Annapurna and more than 72 have died on the mountain, officials said.

Nepal is home to eight of the world's 10 highest peaks including Mount Everest, the summit of which is on the border with China. The spring climbing season, which has just begun in the region and brings warmer temperatures and calmer winds, has drawn hundreds of climbers.

Some late snow and rainfall has made descending Annapurna more challenging with slippery routes. Sherpas who help climbers make their way to and from the summits have struggled to clear routes up to the summit, The Times reported.

Three sherpa guides have been missing since last week, when they fell into a crevasse on a treacherous section of Mount Everest just above base camp on the world’s highest mountain. The crevasse is estimated to be about 160 feet deep.

Contributing: The Associated Press.

Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @mikesnider.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Climber Noel Hanna, Everest veteran, dies on Nepal's Annapurna