A Tipperary climber's dream of becoming the first-ever Irishman to reach the summit of Mount Everest without oxygen has been dashed by bad weather.
James McManus was just a day away from completing a history-making expedition to the top of the planet's highest peak without the use of supplementary oxygen.
But strong winds left the elite adventurer with no choice but to call off his final push to the Himalayan summit on Monday.
With the climbing season on Mount Everest due to finish up this coming weekend [May 29] and with further inclement weather looming, the disappointed 39-year-old said he had no option but to abort his epic 50-day expedition just ahead of 'summit day'.
After descending from 6,400m-high Camp 2 to Base Camp on Monday, the Roscrea native tried to stay upbeat when he told his Instagram followers he had cancelled his expedition just ahead of his final push to the 8,850m summit.
He said: "Unfortunately, because of consistently high winds between now and the end of the season, we are not going to get a chance to attempt the summit, which is really disappointing.
"But these things happen, and there's nothing I can really do about it. It was always going to be one of the things that could affect my expedition, and when you try to climb Everest without oxygen you just need perfect conditions, and they're not perfect."
One of his colleagues at Earth's Edge — the Dublin-based adventure travel company he runs — added: "James made the right decision in the end. Better safe than sorry. There was no weather window for him and the mountain closes on the 29th May, so he had no other option but to turn around.
"The winds are very strong at the summit, and it would have been extremely dangerous — particularly without oxygen.
"But this is a massive achievement, and we're all extremely proud of him."
Mr McManus, from Roscrea, had been hoping to reach the summit of Everest on Tuesday — and in doing so would have become the 217th climber ever to have reached the top of Everest without the use of supplementary oxygen.
The 39-year-old had spent over 50 days in Nepal acclimatising to the conditions.
To date just 216 climbers have reached the top of the mountain without the use of supplementary oxygen.
Before the feat was first achieved in May 1978 by leading mountaineers Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler, most experts believed the human body wouldn't be able to cope with the low oxygen levels [about 30% of what they are at sea level] near to the top of the towering peak.
Mr McManus had also been aiming to raise publicity for the sherpa mountain guides, and other low-paid workers in the region who he feels are exploited.
He added: "Over a million people work in tourism in Nepal and around 54,000 of them are employed as guides, porters and cooks during the three-month climbing season each spring.
"Many of them are not being treated fairly, as there's no employment law nor minimum pay. The industry needs to be regulated, so these people are treated and paid properly."