The wife of a Northern Irish climber who summitted Everest 10 times has paid a moving tribute to “her Mountain Man” after he died in his sleep on a Himalayan peak. Lynne Hanna shared a picture of herself and her late husband Noel on social media revealing the 56-year-old had taken some “hot soup and feel (sic) asleep never to awaken again” at Camp IV on Mount Annapurna.
Mr Hanna, from Dromara, Co Down, died on Monday April 17 after returning from summiting the 26,545-foot peak.
Floods of messages of condolence have poured in from the climbing community to the seasoned mountaineer who, as well as scaling Everest 10 times, was also the first person from the island of Ireland to successfully climb another Himalayan peak, K2.
Posting on Facebook today (Weds) Mrs Hanna said she had arrived in Kathmandu in Nepal to bring her husband home.
She wrote: “He passed away at Camp 4 on Annapurna after a successful summit, he returned to the tent, took some hot soup and feel asleep never to awaken again.” (sic)
She added: “No drama, no big story, it was his time to go and he died in the Himalayas, what better place for my Mountain Man, sleep well Noel.”
As news of Mr Hanna’s death reached home, tributes from Northern Ireland’s climbing began to come in, Belfast Live reports.
In a Facebook post, 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 (sic) 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.”
SDLP Councillor Laura Devlin said: “This is awful news to wake to. Noel was an absolute gentleman who I first met away back during my Burrendale Gym days.
“To say he was an athlete was an understatement. 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.”
Ulster rugby coach Dan McFarland joined others paying tribute to Mr Hanna on Twitter.
He tweeted: “Very sad to hear of Noel’s passing. Noel was a great inspiration to this team. All our thoughts are with Lynne and Noel’s family. #NoelHannaRIP”
Another person, Indian climber Anurag Maloo, went missing after falling from 6,000m into a crevasse while descending from Camp IV the previous day.
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