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Everest Base Camp in sight for Westmeath duo

Story by Olga Aughey

Monday, 13th November, 2017 11:36am

Everest Base Camp in sight for Westmeath duo

Zach and Franky Wright trek to Everest Base Camp

A 15-year-old Westmeath schoolboy, who has already scaled Mont Blanc (15,774 ft) ) and Mount Kosciuszko (7,310 ft), Australia's highest mountain, is about to reach Everest Base Camp.

Zach Wright and his father, Franky, of Lilliput Adventure centre, left Ireland Thursday November 2 for a three week expedition to base camp and on to the Khumbu Icefall at the foot of the route upwards.

Zach is heading to Everest as part of his quest to promote positive mental health and the message ‘It's Ok Not To Be Ok’, after he became friendly with Jim Breen of Cycle Against Suicide, which awakened his interest in mental health issues.

So far the journey has been good, but though, with dad Franky posting pictures of their progress on social media. The most recent update posted on Sunday read:

"Toughest day yet. Dropped down to 1500 meters to climb back up to almost 5000meters. 8-hour day passing through the sherpa memorial to all including Scott Fischer who have lost their lives on Everest.

"Zach is doing really well and probably only one in the group who is not sick. Some of our group members are really sick at this altitude.

"Tomorrow we start at 6am for a 12 hr day hoping to summit on Kalapthar for a sunset viewing. This will be his last big day before base camp. Don't want to put the curse on him but I really am starting to believe he can do it," said Franky.

The Transition Year at Mercy School, Kilbeggan, Zach has accomplished feats that most people never achieve in a lifetime. In 2015, he became the youngest Irish person to scale Mount Kosciuszko, and two years earlier, he tackled Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. He also did the Four Peaks challenge in Ireland.

This journey will make Zach the first 15-year-old Westmeath man to reach Everest Base Camp.

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