I spent 20 wonderful days on the Annapurna Circuit through trekking from village to village through mist-covered valleys, remote villages and sacred monasteries in the Nepalese Himalayas in 2000. That experience has given been deep appreciation of Nepal, the Sherpas and the climbers who attempt the greatest mountain of them all – Everest.
Since then, I have always been fascinated with stories of Everest’s often deadly history. So I was riveted last May when following the literal ups and downs of my podcast guest today as he attempted to climb Everest during the peak of the pandemic.
Damian Browne hails from Galway and is a former professional rugby player who has played for Leinster, Northampton, Brive and Oyonnax. Damian’s passion for travel and adventure has led him to visit more than 50 countries on 6 continents.
Damien is an adventurer in the truest sense of the word using the world’s most extreme environments to test his physical and mental capabilities. Damien has covered more ground than many of the great explorers of the early 20th century including spending 63-days rowing solo across the Atlantic. An epic trip he previously spoke to me about on my very first podcast in 2020.
Since he first climbed Elbrus (the highest mountain in Europe) in Russia in 2018 he has been obsessed with successfully climbing Everest. His original trip was called off in 2020 when the pandemic told hold and he only found out he could go to Nepal in April last year a few days after his Australian partner gave birth of his first child in Brisbane.
Epic is a word often used when talking about adventures but this attempt on Everest was truly epic. Damian’s tale is all about that famous mountain, what it is like working with Sherpas, being at basecamp, the Khumbu Icefall and much more.
You would think that after such an intense and tumultuous trip last year Damian would take a break from adventuring but as he explains on the podcast he went straight into training for his biggest challenge yet – a world record attempt to row unsupported across the north Atlantic with his best friend Fergus Farrell from New York to his hometown Galway this summer.
They hope to break the record held by Norwegian-born Americans Frank Samuelsen and George Harbo which has stood since 1896. Their row will see them take on 4,937 km across some of the wildest, most unforgiving ocean on the planet. I am looking forward to standing on the docks in Galway this summer to cheers them on with a huge crowd when they hopefully arrive in one piece and as record breakers.
Listen to the Travel Tales with Fergal Podcast of Damian’s amazing story of his Everest attempt and his planned Atlantic row check out www.traveltaleswithfergal.ie.