The Leeside Legends series: No limits to Pat Falvey's adventures around the globe

The Leeside Legends series: No limits to Pat Falvey's adventures around the globe

ICEMAN COMETH: Pat Falvey traversing
Greenland in August 2007 on the first Irish unsupported traverse team.

PAT FALVEY was a full-time adventurer who has set records beyond belief since his inception into the sport in 1986.

Reared in Baker’s Road the story of Falvey is quite inspiring because it shows what determination can do for any person. He left school at the age of 15 and got involved in his father’s construction company.

At the age of 23, he had made his fortune, but six years later he was broke and depressed. By his own admission, Pat is a changed man now from the construction millionaire of the 1980s.

That change started in 1985 when he got involved in too many ventures and lost his fortune.

“What happened is probably the best thing that ever happened to me, even though I didn’t see it that way at the time. I still have the old aspirations I had as a businessman, but I have taken them into a new arena,” said Pat.

The road to recovery began when Pat did a mountain walk with Val Deane at Mangerton in Kerry and on his way down he remarked that he would like to walk Carrauntoohil.

“Val laughed but he decided that he would walk with me a week later and once again I was getting more and more confident enjoying every step I made and after that venture, my ambition was that one day, I would walk Everest.”

Pat Falvey in the Antarctic.
Pat Falvey in the Antarctic.

Falvey joined the Kerry Mountain Rescue team in 1987 and with the encouragement of his grandmother Mary B O’Callaghan he was determined to be a top climber.

In 1991 under expedition leader Con Moriarty he climbed the Himalayas which was a great achievement given that Pat’s short time involved in the sport.

The year of 1992 will forever be etched in his mind, as it was his first climb of Everest and one of his fellow climbers died on the expedition. Mark Miller, a Scotsman aged 29, died suddenly and that experience was quite shattering for Falvey.

“Mark was a smashing guy and we had to bury him in the snow which affected the whole team.”

Climbing Everest is known as man’s greatest challenge against altitude and it was sad that they failed to reach the summit after they were beaten back by the horrific weather conditions on that occasion.

Never lacking ambition Pat set himself a goal of eventually climbing Everest and he reached the summit in 1995 and again in 1997.

Falvey has the distinction of joining a group of no less than 40 people worldwide who have climbed the highest summit on each of the world’s continents. It is known as the Seven Summits challenge.

Falvey reached the summit of Everest via the South-Southeast Ridge and led the expedition that saw the first Irish woman, Dr Clare O’Leary, reach the top of Everest.

Falvey and O’Leary completed the Seven Summits on December 16, 2005, when Pat became the first person to complete the Seven Summits twice by climbing Mount Everest from the Tibetan and Nepalese sides.

Pat began with Everest, then went on to climb Mount McKinley in North America, Elbrus in Russia, Kilimanjaro in Africa, Aconcagua in South America, Mount Vision in Antarctica and Cartensz Pyramid in Australasia.

He is the first person from the Republic of Ireland to stand on the sacred plot of ground which is known to the Tibetans as “Chomolungma”, Goddess mother of the Earth. At 29,028 feet it is six miles high.

The Corkman has led 36 successful expeditions all over the world and has spent time with people from over 40 fascinating tribes while investigating their way of life.

Cork mountaineer and adventurer Pat Falvey.
Cork mountaineer and adventurer Pat Falvey.

He has also taken a special interest in the various tribes, traditions, cultures and their belief systems as he experienced their way of life.

Outside of his adventure skills, Pat is a motivational speaker sharing his philosophy and beliefs on how best to find success and fulfillment in everyday life.

Pat’s life is a story of successes and failure, disappointments and triumphs, and how to turn adversity to advantage. It is a sketch of the wonderful effects of living life with an optimistic outlook and of how to turn negatives into positives.

Pat has a saying: “Life isn’t a rehearsal, it’s a performance.”

And perhaps nothing sums up one of the world’s greatest adventurers better than that.

Adventurer Pat Falvey, Feature
Adventurer Pat Falvey, Feature

FACTFILE: 

  • Falvey left school at 15 and become a millionaire by the age of 23 and in financial ruin at 29.
  • He first reached the summit of Everest in 1995.
  • He is the only Irishman to climb on the seven highest mountains on the seven continents.
  • Falvey has a Mountain Lodge near the gap of Dunloe in Killarney where people from all walks of life spend the weekend walking and relaxing.
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