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'I've got a fever': Ex-European Cup winner's bid to climb Everest is delayed by quarantine

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Philippe Merle/AFP via Getty Images)

Former Heineken Champions Cup winner Damian Browne has been podcasting about his stalled adventure trying to climb Mount Everest. The 41-year-old, who helped Leinster conquer Europe in 2012 before his 2015 retirement from playing, has been on a mission to explore the capacities of his body by testing it in some of the world’s most extreme environments.


His challenges have been various, including the Marathon des Sables through the Moroccan Sahara, a solo row across the Atlantic and riding the iron ore train in Mauritania, and Browne is now trying to climb Everest in an attempt to replicate the 7 Summits mountaineering feat accomplished in 1985 by American Richard Bass, who scaled the highest mountain peaks on all seven continents.

Everest is the final part of the Browne climbing jigsaw as he has previously reached the summit at Carstensz Pyramid, Mount Vinson, Denali, Aconcagua, Mount Elbrus and Kilimanjaro. However, having made base camp, the Irishman was caught up in a Covid outbreak on the mountain and the ex-Connacht, Northampton, Brive and Oyonnax lock is now quarantining in a Katmandu hotel from where he sent his latest Deep Roots podcast despatch.  

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“Day 19, I missed the day,” he said in audio where his chat was interrupted by loud coughing fits. “I didn’t really have a whole amount to be talking about. I’ll give you a recap of the last couple of days, I suppose. Right now I have got a fever and have finally got some antibiotics and some more medicine for all the symptoms I have. 

“In fairness now is the time I feel like I need it because I went to the hospital tonight in Katmandu, some of the team were going to get antigen and PCR tests and then a couple of bit of other criteria that they need to get back the mountain, chest x-ray… I tipped along to see a doctor and get some medicine to get healthy because it has been a bit tidal for me, a little bit better and then a little bit worse, a little bit better and a little bit worse. 


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A post shared by Damian Browne (@auld_stock)

“It has been coming and going in waves so I’m not really getting anywhere and I thought let’s get this show on the road to recovery because time is becoming precious. I have taken my first dose… hopefully I’ll start to see some improvements over the next day or two and then I will get the tests done that I need to do to start looking at getting back up to the mountain. That would be nice… serious podcasting, listening to a guy coughing in his hotel bed.”


While Browne went on to say he has been watching The Last Dance on Netflix and been receiving food parcels to keep him ticking over, he added that Katmandu was going into lockdown for two weeks and he wasn’t sure what effect this might have on him and his climbing ambitions.   


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