Freddy was born in 1964 and has been working on Kilimanjaro since 1986 when his first job was as a porter. He became a fully trained guide on Kilimanjaro in 1988. He trained initially as a cook and has completed courses on first aid and high altitude medicine.
Freddy has climbed Kilimanjaro over 315 times and has worked with Pat since 1996. Freddy is recognised as one of the world's leading guides on Kilimanjaro.
He is married with three sons and two daughters; two of his sons, Goodliving and Emanuel, also work on the mountain with him and Pat.
Elbrus 2014 Russia : A 7-Summit Challenge
"When Teena Gates and I first spoke first about her ambition to climb mountains she was 23 stone in weight wiht a height of 4 foot 11 inches. She was overweight, unhealthy and had a dream to make a change in her life and become healthy, fit and climb mountains. She needed to lose weight and over 12 months lost nearly half her body weight - 10 stone. Teena is inspirational in her approach and we have worked together and have had amazing experiences in training and climbing together as she has made her dreams a reality to achieve her Everest in climbing mountains, from the hills in Ireland to trekking peaks in Nepal to the slopes of Mt Elbrus in Russia. Below is her blog on Mt Elbrus. Once again proving that if you want something badly enough, you can achieve it. If you plan, train and are part of a focused team you will achieve your ambitions in life. Teena explains in her blog her feelings of anxiety, frustration, fear, excitement and elation at summiting Mt Elbrus in Russia." - Pat Falvey
I looked at the icy slope leading downhill away from me and shuddered. I knew I could go no further unless I tackled my terrors right here. The snow was hard-packed, shiny and hardened into ice. I could see the imprint of the boots that had passed before me and wondered if my feet would hold as well. Smothering all thought of what lay ahead, I took a deep breath, forcing the thin air into my lungs. I reached forward and gratefully took our leader Pat Falvey’s hand, and like a child I slowly and cautiously followed him inch-by-inch down the slope. Terrified of the drop to my right and concentrating firmly on Pat’s orange down jacket, glowing like a beacon ahead, step by step, until we finally reach a makeshift platform. Pat leaves me here with a grin and, thankfully, I hug him, assuring him I can take it from here. I step forward on my own into the dark of the drop-house and breathe a sigh of relief as the smell of human waste engulfs me, finally, I can go to the loo…
I don’t know why people climb mountains. I don’t know why I do myself; and frequently when I’m climbing them, I promise I will never climb them again. Then I see clouds drift across a lofty peak or a movie with the hero stepping confidently in crampons across the rock and ice and suddenly my breath catches in my chest and I think ‘that’s me’. The reality is somewhat different. I stumble and slip in my massive insulated boots, I move awkwardly across the snow in massive down jackets, with freezing fingers squeezed into multiple pairs of gloves, trying to hold onto an axe and make it work in a way that will save your life. It’s not pretty, it’s not an average holiday, and yet we spend weeks of our lives to seek out high, frosty, deadly places to climb. Why? Perhaps in a world which is both easier and harder, the immovable presence of a mountain gives you a benchmark to pit yourself against, to measure yourself against the forces of nature and find out who you are and what you can achieve. As one of the lads said in the safety of base camp last night “If I can do what I did, and go through what I went through up there and come out smiling, what am I capable of back down below in the real world?” Perhaps it’s that simple, mountains make me feel alive.
We all spent months preparing for this trip, all in our various ways. Hiking at home, cycling, running, swimming, gym work. All trying to be fit enough to justify our place in the team. You don’t just sign up for a couple of weeks on a mountain, you sign up for a six-month campaign of attrition. My own preparation was a nightmare. I travelled to Scotland in January to practice ice skills, shot off to Norway in February to get a taste for how to dress against the bitter cold, I ran, swam, cycled, and then I fell, badly. I needed 14 stitches in my knee, two month’s rehab and then 6 weeks frantic activity to try and get my weight down and my fitness back. In doing that, I pulled a lateral Meniscus in my ‘good’ knee. I’d blown it – I was heading off to the mountain overweight and with both knees in braces. I was feeling weak and feeble as we went through our acclimatisation walks and ice-drills on Elbrus, waiting for the moment of truth.
I had massive doubts. But I knew others had concerns too; there were worries about altitude sickness from the light air, lack of energy, reaction to food, concerns over gear, how cold or warm would we be on the mountain. We all had our niggles and worries, and the team pulled together and reassured each other as best we could. Finally, summit day approached with Pat, our expedition leader, and Artem, our Russian guide, locking heads over weather patterns and forecasts for the days ahead. The weather was difficult and local knowledge vital for interpreting conditions on the mountain. But we had worked hard as a team and acclimatised well, with walks up to 5,100m, and sessions practising ice skills and ice-axe arrest techniques on the surrounding slopes. We were strong and we were ready. Despite a storm blowing with thunder and lightening just minutes apart and wind shaking our flimsy hut, we finally got the word that we’d go the following morning. Maybe.
We checked our gear and then prepared for an easy day. I slept. I ate breakfast, prepared my pack and clothes for the summit, and went back to bed. We had lunch in the communal hut and discussed the weather and the chances of going and then I went back to bed and slept again. We had our ‘last supper’ together as a team and I went back to bed, rolling into the row of mattresses that I was sharing with 7 other people, and slept again. I knew I had trained all I could, eaten all I could, hydrated all I could, doubted all I could, prepared all I could, now all I had left to do was rest all I could. In my mind, I was ‘sleeping my way to the top’.
“At 4am with temperatures of -20 and 35k winds, when the cold punches through your ‘top of the range’ down-jacket like a bullet through paper – you know just how fragile you are.”
2am had come and gone and the team thought the trip was off. But two hours later the call went up. With remarkable skill and daring, Pat and his local experts had spotted a weather window and the game was on.
Tumbling out of the heavy sleeping bag and silk liner, pulling on my extra layers, my ice-breaker vest, and favourite Columbia Teflon top and leggings, I add another precautionary Blisteze patch to my heel, before powdering my feet and double socking. Next my heavy double-boots go on, with gaiters to keep the snow out, Gortex waterproof layers, down jacket, balaclava, hat, gloves with liners under mitts, goggles, head torch, hiking poles, ice-axe. Moving heavily I tie on my 12-spike crampons and finally swing my rucksack onto my back, with food and nearly 2 litres of water. I’m ready to follow the team out into the darkness, into the weak, golden pools of light from our head torches, as we leave our camp behind.
At 5,100m the air is light and my lungs screaming for oxygen as we begin the long traverse under the East Summit of Elbrus. I wonder if my mind has been playing tricks because I’m sure someone said this was a gradual slope. Nothing felt gradual about the incline pushing up against my feet. But in the cold, against the wind, and with the effort of each step, I’m suddenly reminded of another reason I love mountains. The life giving sun begins to dawn, casting pink fingers across the waves of frozen landscape, merging with mountain and clouds and me. The incredible beauty of nature. Off in the distance across the deadly slope I’ve been trying to avoid noticing; the shadow of Elbrus is cast pyramid-like against the surrounding mountains. It’s like a scene from the movie ‘The Summit’ when the awe-inspiring and deadly K2 casts it’s shadow across into China. I thought views like that were only for the silver screen and now I’m seeing the same effect here, with my own eyes. The sweeping beauty all around embraces me and warms my soul as the team push slowly forwards against the spindrift as the 35k winds throw surface snow against our faces, driving temperatures as low as -20.
We reach the ‘saddle’ between Elbrus’ iconic twin peaks and the game changes again. The sun’s up and blasting us with her fiery UV rays as the cold winds continue to hammer us, trying to steal fingers and toes. We rest briefly, then rope up in groups of 4, before tackling the next steep incline. The hardest part of this gruelling challenge is before us. The grail lies ahead and nothing between us, save this icy slope. “It’s a hill” I tell myself, as I push my shoulders forward into the wind. Ice axe in one hand, walking pole in the other, inching forward. I ignore the cold, the wind, the sun. I’m telling myself I’m in the Galtee Mountains back in Ireland with my training buddies Tony Nation and Karen Hill. It’s my pace and we’re pushing up Temple Hill. One foot in front of the other.
I’m kicking into the snow and ice with my crampons. I’m
thinking of technique, thinking of efficiency. I feel like dragging my feet forward but know if I don’t use the spikes to connect, my foot will slide and I’ll have an energy sapping jerk, pulling at my sore knee and forcing me to take the step again. So it’s slow, steady, and precise. The familiar mountaineer’s step. One clear stride, resting on your straight leg before kicking forward again with the alternate foot. One of our guides, Sasha, had been talking to me about pressure breathing. Forcing air into your lungs at altitude, without shallow breathing or hyperventilating. So again I concentrated. One step, one breath. Although I felt I was double-timing. Breathing two deep breaths per step. But I wasn’t stopping. I was still moving forward and that was the key. You eat these mountains bite by bite and step by step. I was up front in a line of 4, and occasionally, I’d shout back down the line “lads we have this, lads this is ours , we’re not going back now” and the shouts of encouragement coming back up the line gave me new energy to push harder.
Finally the slope evens out to one last platform before the final summit up ahead. So close I feel I can reach out and touch it. The rest of the team are already there, spread out in bunches of four. Either back in the dip or just dropping down from the summit. There’s breathless congratulations and high fives and reassurances that the summit is just 10 minutes away. The ropes are off, rucksacks abandoned, and we four are on our own again for one last pull. I’m last, but I don’t care, I’m exhausted but I don’t care, I’m sore but I don’t care. I’m having this. I’m taking this. There is no way I’m not going to reach out and grasp this now. Crampons in, 12 points in, push and breath, breath and push. Step after step, lungs screaming, legs screaming, soul soaring. I’m steps away from the summit and I hear some of the team shouting encouragement across the wind. I find new energy and double-time my steps as I pull myself up to stand at the top of Europe. Against clear blue skies, in bright sunlight, I turn around 360 degrees to take in the view, and with a catch in my throat, I slowly realise that TeamElbrus have made it. I’ve made it. 5,642m (18,510ft) the summit of Mount Elbrus.
Later, much later. We’re eating lamb kebabs, drinking local beer and reminding ourselves of the journey we’ve made, both alone and as a team. I’m making my new buddies promise to remind me, never to do this again. So hard, so tough, so demanding and time-consuming. I’ve had it with mountains. I’m no adrenalin junkie, I know when I’ve had more than enough. I’m off trekking in Spain in October with Travel Department but that’s not about endurance, that’s a holiday. Gorgeous 10k walks in the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains before heading back to a lovely rural hotel to cool off in the pool. Now that’s civilised. I’m looking forward to walking in Spain. I’ve never done that before. Of course I’ve been walking in other hot climates so I know what to expect and what to wear. I loved hiking in Africa. I climbed Mount Elgon in Uganda before cycling a couple of hundred kilometres over to the Nile to kayak down some white-water rapids. Phyll and Joe from TeamElbrus, they love Africa too. They’ve climbed Kilimanjaro – an amazing mountain they tell me. You know, after Elbrus, and Spain in October, I’d be well fit by next year. Kilimanjaro huh? well maybe just one more mountain…
William ‘Wildfire’ Shorthall
Mick ‘The BIC’ Byrne
Brian ‘Lazarus’ Gallogly
Joe ‘The Snapper’ Byrne
‘Doc’ Phyll Blake Byrne – (My Little Star)
Paddy ‘The Hat’ Lonergan
Noel ‘The Beard’ Garrahan
John Paul ‘Glow in the Dark’ Murphy
Shane ‘I can’t breathe but I’m still coming’ O’Toole
Teena ‘Never Again, Maybe” Gates
Guide; Irish & Worldwide Adventures’ Pat Falvey
Chief Russian guide; Artem Rostovtsev
Read Teena Gates' daily blog on her experience of climbing Mt Elbrus if you wish a to gain further insight into the fears, anxieties and excitment of undertaking the challenge of climbing Mt Elbrus in Russia.
Kilimanjaro news: We are now one of the world's leading adventure company's working on Kilimanjaro with over 1250 people having reached the summit over the last 12 years. Below is another one of this year's group who had a 100% summit success.
July 2014: We laughed our way to the summit. As usual we had all of the trauma of climbing a high altitude mountain but the team weathered them all. Summit night was cold and with the wind chill was -17 degrees. Luckily, all had equipment to weather the conditions. All the team are down safely.
Also see another one of our teams success by going to 100% summit August 17th 2014.
Expedition Leaders Pat Falvey and Freddy Tarimo.
There are five different climatical zones as we make our way to the Roof of Africa.
Zone 1: The coffee and banana plantation. This area is full of life and where the locals that work on the mountain mainly live.
Zone 2: The rain forest. Popular question is - does it rain?! It is humid, beautiful with amazing plantation but has very little wildlife.
Zone 3: The moorland/alpine region. The plantation is more alpine with beautiful flowers and from our entry to this region we will be living above the clouds. Usually warm during the day and cold at night.
Zone 4: The lunar desert. This is an amazing rocky desert with little or no growth or life. The rock is brownish red and feels as if you are walking through a moon-type landscape. Warm during the day but gets cold if the wind picks up. By night the temperature really drops and at time goes below 0 degrees.
Zone 5: The depleting Arctic region. The days can be warm and we go through a vast difference in temperatures in this region. It can go from +25 degrees and down to -25 degrees depending on the season.
All the team are ready to take on this amazing challenge.
Picture: Our team at our hotel briefing. Checking out their home for the next 7 days.
Elbrus Days 6 and 7: What a few days. We did not post pre summit as we had no internet. Now updated on the above dates for those following the adventure.
Day 6: We rose at 07:30 to blue skies and high winds. Breakfast at 08:00 and then a big day's climbing. Unsure of how everyone would preform we had three milestones in place for the day; the higher we go the more acclimatized the team were. First, the bottom of Pastaov rocks at 4600 meters, second, the top of Pastov Rocks at 4800 meters and third would be 5100 meters just before the long traverse under the east summit of Elbrus.
The team were very strong and we ascended 1000 meters to 5100 meters which took six hours of hard slogging at high altitude in high winds, which added to the hardship. A number of the team were suffering from slight headache but we did ascend 1000 meters and all the team were delighted and all acclimatized well.
The team were exhausted but all were ecstatic at their achievement of having climbed over 1000 meters. This was the first time that I felt all the team were confident in their summit ambitions.
Day 7: A day of technical training on gear, crampon use and ice axe arrest, as well as decision day on the summit attempt. Weather was our major problem; the forecast was for iffy weather for a summit attempt. We had marginal weather conditions, but we had done everything right and the team were ready for a hard summit attempt, acclimatized and prepared for whatever Elbrus put up to them.
Climbing, trek and go on expedition with Ireland's leading adventure company www.patfalvey.com for your next adventure. Expedition leader Pat Falvey Irish & Worldwide Adventures with Artem Rostovtsev
Day 4: We went to the glacier today for final preparation and acclimatization before we move up from Cheget Base Camp at 2000 meters tomorrow to make final assault on Elbrus to higher camps above 4000 meters. The team are now ready. This is our fourth day acclimatizing. Today on Elbrus we tested our gear to ensure all is fitting well, especially those with hired boots. This was our last chance to return to Cheget Base Camp and make final adjustments and changes before moving onto the mountain proper. The team were excited as this was their first time to ascend above the snow line and also above 4000 meters. We met the Russian Golden Circle Girls Club en route and in typical Irish style, we sang and danced with them on the glacier. Everyone was in good voice. See Joe Byrne's recording on facebook pre this article. Pat Falvey led the session with 'We're singing in the rain'.
Some of the team displayed some signs of the effects of altitude but nothing they won't get over in the next few days as we rise higher and get the bodies ready for a final summit attempt. The team now have now a pace and system in place to ensure we work as a unified moving train. All the team are focused on not alone themselves but their team members. I know how upsetting it would be for any member to run into problems in reaching the summit at this stage. The team are all confident in our ability as a unit to pull it off, but they also realize this is a BIG mountain and that many things can go wrong up here, such as altitude problems, sickness, exhaustion, injury, the weather and anyone in the team could just simply have a bad day. All of those problems have to be overcome and hopefully they will, with a positive mind, proper acclimatization, good weather and attitude, and being careful. Weather was good today with temperatures of 25 degrees. Tomorrow we move up and I might not be able to post for a few days. We have 5 days to summit if we need but we are hoping to summit Friday/Saturday. We are back in the comfort of Cheget Base Camp this evening and enjoying the comforts of our hotel as we pack for the mountain tomorrow. Keep posted and share if you know people interested.
#Elbrus Day 3: The team are acclimatizing great and working well together and are like the Musketeers - 'all for one and one for all' . Today we did a further acclimatizing trek and choose one of the most beautiful valleys in the area. I usually add a few extra days to ensure proper acclimatization for all the team. We descended down valley today from our Cheget Base Camp to Elbrus village at 1800 meters. It gave us a chance also to experience the signs of transformation of old farmsteads which are being abandoned and the development of modern farms and houses. After a brief look around we headed up a steep and spectacular gorge with a torrential river running from the Irikchat Valley which brought us up steep mixed ground which had signs of massive erosion and which we had to tread carefully. We made our way through the pine forest and out onto the high meadowlands which are used during the summer season to feed cattle and horses. We met a few sheperds on route by horse into the valley. The gorge is 20km long and brought us into the base of the east slopes of Mt Elbrus. We trekked for 4 hours uphill in good weather, stopped for lunch and relaxed for an hour to acclimatize and then we descended in 2 hours in a thunderstorm. Tonight we do a check on all gear that we require for the snow and ice on Elbrus. All gear that the team is short we will hire. My concern is that we have 5 of our team with size 12 boot size -'big lads with big feet'. Tomorrow we move up on to the ice from Cheget to acclimatize before we return to base in the afternoon with all gear tested and ready to pack. The following day we move up and will spend a further 5 days high on the mountain and then hopefully summit. Keep posted and share if you know others interested in following. Internet will be limited once on the mountain. www.patfalvey.com
Team exp leaders Pat Falvey and Artrem Rostovtsev.
Other team members: Phyll Blake Byrne, Neol Garrahan, Paddy Lonergan.
— with Mick Knockanora and 8 others. (11 photos)
#Elbrus Day 2: Today we climbed to the Terskol Observatory from Terskol Village. We moved our strategy from yesterday when we got high fast by chair lift to 3000 meters and then trekked to 3400 meters and returned to base camp at the village of Cheget at 2000 meters. Today was cardio aerobic session trek, to get the heart, lungs and blood pumping to the muscles at altitude. We trekked through the village of Terskol, then up through the pine forest and alpine region with its beautiful display of wild flowers. It was a beautiful sight to see hundreds of different wild alpine flowers. Ascent including rest and stopoff at waterfall then on to the Observatory at 3100 meters. It took 5 hours and the descent took 2 hours. Weather was stable in the morning and on returning back to Terskol we experienced a thunder storm just breaking out. Today we acclimatise by walking from base camp at 2000 meters and walk to the Observatory at 3100 meters, a total ascent of 1100 meters to one of the country's main astronomical observation telescopes and operated by the International Center for Astronomical, Medical, and Ecological Studies, Kiev, Ukraine. This is a hugely interesting place to go and see and had been equipped for research between 1970 - 1990. Our journey took us through the lower farm region to the more rugged volcanic area before the Observatory.All the team acclimatizing great. Eating and resting well and getting oxygen saturation up over the next two days before going higher for final days of assault on Elbrus.
Keep following our progress.Tomorrow we continue our acclimatization marking sure our bodies are right before moving up on Elbrus. — with Brian Gallogly and 6 others.
Lar Fant, a good friend of Pat's and the team here at the Mountain Lodge, has climbed and trained at our school of mountaineering with us over the years, rang to fill us in on his recent successful summit of Mt Denali.
''I flew onto Denali on the morning of May 17th (a few days after Jerry O'Sullivan's accident)
It was my second trip to Denali having failed to summit in 2009 due to horrible weather. However, this year we got lucky with the weather and for the most part, the weather was kind to us with our attempt on the summit beginning at 8.00am on May 30th.
There were lots of teams and individuals attempting the summit that day, as the weather forecast was not good for the following few days. Progress was therefore slow but eventually, we got to the summit at c.18.30 and although cold, we had amazing views from the top.
After the photos, we headed back down and got back to camp (17,200) at 2.00am. Tired but thrilled to having made the summit of Denali at last - my 4th of the seven summits (having previously being on Kilimanjaro, Elbrus and Aconcagua with yourself Pat)
Denali was by far the hardest challenge so far but the experience of 2 years ago was invaluable and greatly added to my enjoyment of the mountain.
As we saw with Jerry's accident, there seems to be a lot of accidents on Denali this year and before we got into High Camp at 17,200 there was a serious accident with a guide and 3 clients falling on the Autobahn which resulted in the death of the guide and one of the climbers, with the remaining 2 climbers suffering serious injuries so as you can imagine our approach & descent of the Autobahn was one of caution as we had seen the 2 bodies being lifted off the mountain by helicopter before we started our summit attempt.
Only back in Ireland with a few days and already thinking of what's next, with Everest a possibility if I can arrange the time and the finance!'' Lar
We all at the Pat Falvey Mountain Lodge and Training Center want to congratulate Lar on his success and wish him the best on his future plans.
Pat recently featured on Radio Kerry's popular Saturday Supplement with Frank Lewis. The show had many of Pats friends and family on the phone as guests. Frank discusses many topics with Pat including the North Pole expedition, coming to Kerry many years ago and his active role with promoting education while running a travel and training company. Thanks to Mary in Franks office and Radio Kerry for sending on the recordings. You can also find our full databse of podcasts in our gallery page.
Below is a selection of podcasts from the show:
Frank Lewis runs a PR company and Art Gallery in Killarney. Frank also runs a weekly show with Radio Kerry.
Radio Kerry was voted ppi local station and was also awarded a ppi award for a programme featuring Pat following his South Pole expedition, titled 'Ask the Explorer'
More Podcasts see our gallery
After a year in the making, Helen Shaw and here team at Athena Media handed over their latest film series to Setanta Sports Ireland in December 2010. This three part series, which was funded by the BAI, was shot over the last 15 months here in Kerry, Cork and Dublin. Helen weaves a compelling story of Pat's personal endeavour and sacrifice through the years from childhood to the present day, with contributions from his family, friends and mountaineering colleagues. The story is full of archive footage from Pats many exciting expeditions & features amazing photos from the Pat Falvey collection.
Speaking to Pat via Satelite phone about the project, he had this to say:
'Its been an amazing journey for me personally making this documentary and also my team for filming and preparing the archive footage from my earlier life, sifting through the tens of thousands of images which I have in my collection. Even just talking to some of my old colleagues and friends has bought back so many memories to the forefront of my mind. I would like to take this oppurtunity to thank those involved including all contributors, my family, my friends and my own team in helping me on this film. A very special thanks has to go to Helen Shaw and her team who have created a great biography documentary, well done, its been a fantastic journey working with Athena Media. Even though I am in a very remote location in Canada at present, we have arranged a location to see Setanta on Sunday. Its funny as already many locals here want to see it also!!'
You can see more trailers on vimeo.com/channels/falvey
Press release from Athena media:
3 x 24min – documentary series is an Athena Media production for Setanta Sports funded through the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland Sound and Vision funding scheme. The series is due to air on 6th February 2011. It will begin with episode one on 6th February, followed by episode two on 7th February and episode three on 8th February. All episodes will be broadcasted at 10pm on Setanta Sports.
‘Some people say I’m a self publicist, some people say that I can be very arrogant, immediately I think of something, I say it. I’m going to climb Mount Everest, I’m going to become a millionaire. I’m going to be the best motivational speaker in the world. People think, how can he actually say that?. There’s no harm in dreaming and dreaming big,’ Pat Falvey.
Pat Falvey’s life story is the stuff of fiction. The teenage boy who left school at fifteen determined to be a millionaire and built a multi-million property business by his twenties. The serial entrepreneur who lost everything by twenty-nine and nearly took his own life in despair. But a chance encounter took him hill-walking and his first venture to Kerry’s Carrauntoohil made him vow to climb Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world. By thirty-four he stood on Everest and soon became one of Ireland’s most celebrated, and controversial adventurers. He has been to Everest four times, reached the summit from both its north and south face and is the only man in the world to have climbed the highest peaks in every continent twice. He has trekked to the South Pole and now planned one last great adventure, this time to the North Pole.
This documentary and biographical series takes us into the psychology of Pat Falvey and finds out what drives him to follow dreams bigger and bolder than anyone else. Production Company, Athena Media, with producer/director Helen Shaw, filmed Pat across a year and interviewed those close to him throughout his life, both in Cork City where he was born and reared and in Beaufort, Co Kerry where he now lives and works at the foothills of McGillycuddy Reeks.
Pat’s journey starts in north Cork where he was born the eldest son of Tim and Abina Falvey. His father Tim was a bricklayer and Pat followed his father’s trade but says his maternal grandmother, Mary B. O’Callaghan, a street trader, was a central influence on shaping him and his life. His grandmother encouraged him to think big and had him running little businesses when he was still a small boy. Her sense of confidence and will-power is what fuelled him to be a millionaire. His property business was worth in excess of €70 million in today’s value but the recession in the mid 1980s hit him hard and his empire began to crumble. By 29 he was broke, bankrupt and he even thought of killing himself. His own marriage suffered. But when a friend took him to the mountains he began to see life anew and mountains became his obsession. It was an obsession which eventually brought him to Mount Everest and to the honour of being the second Irishman to stand on the summit.
This series tracks Pat Falvey’s life and tells his story. We hear from friends like Con Moriarty and Mick Murphy who have known Pat from the early days in Co Kerry when he joined Kerry Mountain Rescue to mountaineers like Dawson Stelfox, the Belfast architect who became the first Irishman to summit Everest in May 1993. We hear from his family from his sisters Majella and Abina and his brother Barry Falvey. His son, Patrick Falvey, shares insights along with those who have journeyed with Falvey through many expeditions including Dr Clare O’Leary. Clare went to Mount Everest with Pat in 2003 and 2004 and her successful summit in 2004 made her the first Irishwoman to climb Everest and since then she has trekked with Pat to the South Pole and now joins him on what he describes as his last great adventure – the North Pole. Pat’s ambition has been to journey to the highest and most extremes points on earth, from Everest to the South and North Pole and this final expedition, in Spring 2011, will complete what he calls the ‘three Poles’.
Pat Falvey: My Private Everest is a series which promises dramatic footage as well as unique revelations including how Pat Falvey’s determination to bring the tricolour to the summit of Everest provoked debate and even animosity with some accusing him of detracting from Dawson Stelfox’s own summit. Pat’s philosophy ‘that everyone has their own private Everest’ has brought him into motivational leadership and mentoring and he now makes a living from motivational speaking both in Ireland and abroad. Contact Athena Media -01 4885851 for more details including press photographs or stills from the documentary series.
Athena Media would like to thank everyone who helped us and supported us during the production particularly the Falvey family, Niall Foley and all the crew who have worked on it in Athena Media particularly Anita Walsh, Paula Cunniffe and Niall Brew. Our cameraman Barry MacNeill has been with us throughout the shoot and we have had excellent support from Lotus Media in post production. John E. Turner did the offline edit while Scott Smith was online and Simon Flanagan did the audio mix. A special thank you to Ella McSweeney who did the voice-over on the series and to the wonderful folk in Seneca, the band who produced instrumental tracks for the documentary mix and who have been great supporters of the project.
Trip: Mt. Elbrus, Caucasus range, Russia, Highest Mountain in Europe
Altitude: 5642m a continental High Point and 7 summit challenge
Route: Adylsu Valley - Priut Hut - Summit - Terskol
Dates: June & August
Duration: 13/14 Days total
Grade:Trekking – Strenuous,
Prices: €2,250 Land Only
Flight: From €880- Ireland-Moscow-Mineral Ni Vody Central Caucasus & return.
A superb climb, and suitable for a beginner moving on from trekking the likes of Kilimanjaro into climbing and moving on snow and ice. It brings you to a volitile region of Russia, just miles from the border with Georgia, in the central Caucasus and to the peaceful region of Kabardino-Balkaria were we climb Europe’s highest mountain.
The Caucasus Mountains stretch for 550 miles (880Kms), from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea. They form the physical barrier dividing Europe and Asia, and the whole range lies entirely within the former Soviet Union. This region is home to 50 different Ethnic groups who all seek independence and recognition for their customs, beliefs and their freedom from repressive regimes.
This area is one of the most interesting places on earth and this expedition gives us a chance to explore the wonders of this otherwise war-torn region by visiting the peaceful region of Kabardino-Balkaria, which is situated in the Central Caucasus and is our destination for our attempt on Mt. Elbrus.
The highest and most glaciated part of the Caucasus is the central region, where Mount Elbrus stands, the highest mountain in Europe. Elbrus is a popular mountain, being a straightforward glacier climb. The main hazards are the high altitude (which we prepare for as fully as possible, with training climbs and walks in the Baksan valley), and poor weather, for which we have built in a few spare days to give more flexibility.
Climbers will need to be familiar with the use of crampons and ice axes, although ski poles will generally used. We have scheduled in to our itinerary specific acclimatisation days to allow our bodies to adjust accordingly for our summit attempt. We have designed a course, Snow and Ice Skills, specifically for those travelling to a region and landscape like that found on Mount Elbrus. We recommend you complete this prior to travelling with us.
Our expedition begins in Moscow. We only have a very brief stop off here before catching our flight to Mineral Nye Vody and then on to our base, Terskol which is situated in the Balksen valley. Before our attempt on Elbrus, we spend a few days in the spectacular valleys surrounding Elbrus, acclimatising, training, resting and looking for a break in the weather. Mount Elbrus is notorius for storms!
Undoubtedly, the best known and most alluring mountain in Russia, and the largest in Europe, Mount Elbrus is a dormant volcano, one of the 'Seven Summits'. The fact that it is the highest in Europe suffices for many to go and climb it.
Elbrus belongs to a handful of mountains with a very special and irresistible kind of beauty which lies in their shape and setting. It stands 11km north from the main range and exceeds its neighbours in height by 1200-2000m. The views from both summits are breathtaking: to the north is a rolling carpet of pastures and all other sides there is a sea of snowy peaks.
The Elbrus Region/ Prielbrusie- Located in the Central Caucasus, the highest part of the entire mountain range is an area where many valleys converge into the Baksan Valley. It's glaciers give rise to the Baksan, Kuban and Malkan Rivers. In this region we will see many famous peaks such as Mt.Shkhelda (4,320m), Mt. Chatin (4,369m), Mt. Ushba (4,710) and Mt. Elbrus itself (5,642m).
Mount Elbrus dominates the Central Caucasus and has two seperate volcano vents: the western peak, Zapadnaya 5,642m, is the higher peak and the eastern peak, Vostochnaya, at 5,621m. The eastern peak has a crater 250m in diameter. The mountain is covered in a huge sheet of ice which covers some 145 square km's and is up to 400m thick. Often horrific weather surrounds the mountain and it is notorius for storms. From the col that divides the two peaks the snow slopes descend to the many tongues of ice and crevasses lying in the valleys.
The ancients knew the mountain as Strobilus , Latin for ' pine cone', a direct loan from the ancient Greek Strobilos, meaning ' a twisted object' - a long established botanical term that describes the shape of the volcano's summit. A myth that is held here claims Zues had chained Prometheus, the Titan who had stolen fire from the Gods and given it to ancient man- likely a reference to historic volcanic activity.
By the normal route it is a long climb over a medium incline that requires good acclimatisation, but has no real technical difficulty. The simplicity of this climb is not to be under estimated, it is a dangerous route. Apart from the altitude, the highly variable weather and frequent violent storms combined with low temperatures, as low as -25 degrees, means that this ascent is a real high altitude adventure!
The average time to summit is approx. 9 hours and approx. 4 hours for descent. Crampons and ski poles are necessary for this climb and ice axes are useful for extra safety. Like all big mountains, the peaks of the Caucasus generate and attract their own weather, making conditions unpredictable and ferocious at times. To be prepared for a wide range of temperatures it is imporatant to bring everything on the recommended equipment list.
This trek is suitable to those moving on from high altitude peaks like Kilimanjaro and wishing to start progressing to mountains which require additional skills such as moving on snow and ice. A good level of fitness is required prior to departure. A good level of fitness is required for this climb and if you have not been training prior to this climb you will lower your chances of a successful summit. It is a demanding trek and includes an average of 6 hrs walking per day, with exception to summit night which is between 12 and 15hrs.This is a technical climb and is very steep in places. For many people it will be a very hard physical challenge. We strongly recommend that you seek advice on fitness from a professional instructor.
Prices & Inclusions:
Land Only €2250
All inclusive €3,130
Fully escorted with experienced guides and on site training
Accommodation while trekking
Meals on route
Tips, bar bills, laundry, room service etc.
Extra baggage costs
Personal gear - Medication
Optional Extras Moscow City Guided Tour - 1 Day - Extra night B&B - Please contact us for more details on Moscow City Tour
Day 1: Dublin- Moscow-overnight flight
Day 2: Moscow - Mineralnye Vody - Tereskol, night hotel or similiar
Day 3: Hike to Cheget, 3,600m- Night at hotel
Day 4: Hike to Observatory- Night at hotel
Day 5: Hike to Adysul Valley
Day 6: Cable car to Mir station, Hike to Barrel, Night at the Barrels.
Day 7: Hike to Priut hut or higher- Night at the Barrels
Day 8: Technical Training/weather/acclimatisation day
Day 9: Technical Training/weather/acclimatisation day
Day 10: Summit Attempt- last potential summit night -Night at Priut Hut
Day 11: Descend to Terskol Night at hotel
Day 12: Tereskol - MRV- Moscow Night at Hotel
Day 13: Moscow- Dublin-Arrive home/ unless you have opted for the Moscow City Tour Extension
Day 14: Moscow free day, B&B
Day 15: Moscow - Ireland
Day 16: Arrive Ireland
Full refund applies if cancellation is received and acknowledged more than 20 weeks prior to event.
Desposits will not be refunded for cancellations received within 20 weeks.
For bookings made where flights have to be paid for in advance, the flight cost is non- refundable once paid.
Climbing Mount Elbrus is, among other things, a big personal and team achievement. Therefore, it needs to be enjoyed as much as possible, and to do it, it is necessary to bear in mind some recommendations when starting to prepare for your ascent. Your experience will depend on your training. The chances of summiting successfully are greater when you train specifically for the challenge ahead. We have designed a number of courses and walks to help you achieve your goal.
Recommended Training Program
Your daily routine must include some exercising that will contribute to achieve fitness. As nowadays most of us have many obligations, sometimes it is hard to find the time to train everyday. When you have a goal such as to summit Elbrus, the challenge is worth it and all the effort may become a pleasure, which is another goal in itself.
Although hillwalking is best and specific to the challenge, please remember any type of cardiovascular training will help you prepare for this expedition. Focus your training on building endurance by completing long, slow and low - mid intensity training session along with a few fast and short sessions to build up your anaerobic capacity. Build the distance and duration of your training sessions slowly as over training often leads to injury. Contact us for more information regarding our training courses to help you be in the best shape possible.
Meet & Greet
Our Pre-expedition meetings are designed as part of the preparation process. All team members are invited to partake; it is a good idea to have these meetings once you have made up your mind to take on an expedition. The meetings include a thorough briefing on all aspects of the trip and provide an ideal opportunity to clear up any final questions you may have. We may include this in our skills course. *A date will be confirmed for meet with your Tour Leader once you have signed up.
For your application you will need a full valid passport - please ensure your passport is valid for 6 months after we return home.
For your Visa application:
4 passport photos-signed on reverse side.
Tourist Voucher - available from us upon request.
Travel Insurance Certificate.
Applications are made by post to your nearest Russian Embassy
For more info please contact us
Light weight long underwear - Tops & Bottoms
Expedition weight long underwear - Tops & Bottoms
Briefs - For everyday wear while trekking
Short Sleeved T-Shirts/Shirts - 2 x trekking
Long Sleeved T-Shirts/Shirt - 2 x trekking
Softshell/Fleece x 2
Trekking Pants x 2/3 - one insulated pants is recommended
Parka Jacket - Down or synthetic with hood- Expedition Type and needs to fit over all insulation layers (it can get as cold as -25 degrees celsius)
Jacket - Waterproof & breatheable- storm proof mountaineering jacket
Over Trousers - Waterproof & breatheable- storm proof mountaineering pants
Foot and Hand wear:
Shoes for travel and easy walking
Lightweight Hiking Boots
Climbing Boots - Plastic double boot-available for hire
Gaitors - short simple gaitors are best
Booties - optional luxury, down/synthetic
Lightweight socks - 2/3 pairs
Warm trekking socks - 2/3 pairs
Head & Hand Wear
Windstopper fleece gloves
Sunglasses x 2 - Specific to High Altitude Mountaineering, UV & IR protection
Ice Axe - Available for hire
Crampons - Available for hire
Ski Poles - 1 pair collapsible spring bound ski poles
Harness - lightweight web waist with all leg loops opening
Carabiners- 2 x screw gates, 2 x snapgates
Backpack - at least 75 litre with ice axe haul loops and crampon attachment point
Daypack - 25 - 35 litre
Waterproof pack cover
Sleeping Bag - Expedition quality to at least -25, down preferred and must pack small
Sleeping Mat - Thermorest preferred for extra warmth
Pocket-Knife - leatherman or similar
Water Bottles - 1/ 2
Pee Bottle/Funnel for women
Large Duffel Bag
Travel clothes for days in we are in transit
Padlocks for bags while in transport
Travel Insurance Certificate
Passport, Visa and copies of all travel and insurance documents
Money in US Dollars/Euros
Sun Block - important
Towel and wash kit
Spare batteries for all electronic equipment
Medical & Personal Needs
Personal First Aid Kit
Personal Medication - seek advice from your doctor
Water Purification Tablets