Noel Hanna: Tributes pour in for UK climber dead after returning from Mount Annapurna
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Tributes have poured in for an avid climber from the UK who has tragically died. Noel Hanna, who conquered Mount Everest numerous times, died in Nepal at Camp IV after he returned from the Mount Annapurna summit point on Monday (April 17).
Noel, from Dromara, County Down in Northern Ireland, had reportedly reached the summit of Everest an incredible 10 times. He was the first person from the island of Ireland to successfully climb and descend from K2, the world’s second-highest mountain.
Announcing the news on Facebook, Mourne Mountain Adventures said: "Very saddened to hear of the passing of Noel Hanna this morning, local to the Mournes Noel was the first person from Ireland to successfully climb K2, and astonishingly he climbed the summit of Everest 10 times.
"There is some peace in that he spent his last moments doing what he loved best, such a great man and one of N. Ireland’s finest Mountaineers. I had the pleasure of interviewing Noel on two occasions, he will be greatly missed by all that knew him. My condolences go out to his wife Lynne and the rest of his family, RIP Noel."
Located in the Himalayas, Mount Annapurna is one of the world’s tallest mountains. It stretches to just under five miles tall and reaches into the infamous ‘death zone’ where the oxygen becomes so thin that it cannot support human life for a sustained amount of time. The mountain also has a higher death rate than Everest and is prone to avalanches.
Tributes have since poured in for Noel, including the Duke of Edinburgh Northern Ireland. It said on Facebook: “We were devastated this morning to learn of the death of Northern Irish mountaineer Noel Hanna whilst descending the world’s 10th highest mountain, Annapurna in Nepal.
"Noel and his wife Lynne presented Gold Awards for DofE on a number of occasions and in 2012. Noel took a DofE flag to the top of Everest.Noel scaled Everest 10 times and he and Lynne were the first married couple to scale Everest from both the north and south sides. Noel’s down to earth manner and incredible expertise were an inspiration to everyone he met."
DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson described his death as "devastating news". He said: "I had the privilege of meeting Noel and hearing about his mountain climbing exploits, including his conquest of Everest. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and his fellow mountaineers at this sad time."
SDLP councillor Laura Devlin also said it was "awful news" and said Mr Hanna would be remembered as "an absolute gentleman". She said: "To say he was an athlete was an understatement.”
She added: "He was an incredible climber who climbed Everest many many times. Noel was such an interesting person with so much life experience and always up for a chat."