Butler firefighter Kevin Farebrother the first West Aussie to summit Mt Everest three times


Kevin Farebrother on Mt Everest.
Butler firefighter Kevin Farebrother the first West Aussie to summit Mt Everest three times
Kevin Farebrother on Mt Everest.

BUTLER firefighter Kevin Farebrother is the first West Australian to reach the summit of Mt Everest three times.

The Hillarys resident returned from a 54-day expedition this week, having climbed with first-time summiteer Jason Snell of Mullaloo.

At 6.45am on May 15, the triple-threat reached the summit on what he said was his most difficult climb to date.

“This climb was the toughest yet due to weather conditions, high winds, severe cold plus deep snow,” he said.

There have been four recorded deaths on Mt Everest this year, including one Australian.

“Unfortunately death is part of Everest and the mountains and I’ve seen a lot of it over the years,” Mr Farebrother said.

“We had already summited before the first deaths on the mountain though there had been two in base camp.”

No one had reached the summit for three years due to the 2014 avalanche killing 16 Sherpa guides and the 2015 avalanche killing 19 climbers at Base Camp.

Having first reached the summit in 2011 and again in 2013, Mr Farebrother first attempted his third summit in 2014 but was turned back after the avalanche.

“Looking back to my first summit in 2011, I realise how good the weather was even though it was -23C and the route through the icefall was a lot easier than upcoming years,” he said.

The mountaineer said there had been some anxiety during the climb on the Nepalese side but overall people were positive.

“There was a little bit of anxiety this year going through the ice wall,” he said.

“We hear avalanches quite frequently through the night.”

Going from one extreme fighting fires to the freezing cold Himalayas, Mr Farebrother said his job with Butler Fire and Rescue helped in terms of fitness and adapting to using oxygen masks.

He said training in Perth was tricky, though he kept his fitness up through running and other exercise.

“I’ve climbed Everest three times climbing Jacob’s Ladder – just run up and down,” he said.

“It’s quite monotonous.”

Mr Farebrother described reaching the summit of the world’s highest mountain as phenomenal.

“It’s just out of this world,” he said.

“There are other 8000m mountains that are next to it that just look small.

“The first time I was there for sunrise – there was this golden band coming across Tibet.”

Mr Farebrother already has a fourth summit attempt on his mind.

“I will be running an expedition on Everest next year, I enjoy the challenge and if I can help someone realise their lifelong dream then even better,” he said.