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UL graduate talks about his experience reaching the peak of Mount Everest

University of Limerick staff and students were today given a fascinating talk by UL Law & Accounting graduate Robert Mortell, who last year become the youngest Irish person to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Robert spoke about his intense preparation for the climb, the importance of teamwork, and his struggle with staying alert mentally in such extreme conditions.

Robert reached the summit of Everest on the morning of 23rd May 2016 after climbing through the night with only a small headlamp lighting his way. The final push from 8,300 metres to summit at 8,848 metres took 12 hours of constant climbing, and Robert suffered extreme fatigue with only 50 metres to go. At this point, he allowed himself one 10 minute rest to give himself time to recover before attempting to complete the climb to the top. While on the summit he learned the reason for his exhaustion was that his oxygen mask was malfunctioning, and was actually hindering his breathing.

During his talk he also spoke about combating frostbite and, at one point, surviving on only 3 Snickers bars after birds stole his food. Rob suffered from frostbite which caused a number of his fingertips to go numb and black, but he has fully recovered from this with his fingers intact.

Robert’s brother Daniel also spoke briefly about his family’s experience for the three months tracking Robert’s progress with only occasional GPS pings.

Now a qualified Accountant & Tax Consultant, Robert said he has no plans to make a return trip to Everest.

The talk was organised by the School of Law at UL.

Photos from Robert’s climb can be found at

Robert’s sponsor for his climb was KPMG.

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