[January 28, 2006]


(Daily Record Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)A VETERAN Scots climber who conquered Mount Everest fell to his death on a peak he called a "molehill".

Dr Kenneth McConnell was abseiling when the rock he was tied to broke. He fell 60feet and died before rescuers could reach him.

The accident happened on Mount Wellington, near Hobart in Tasmania, where Kenneth, 54, was a senior hospital doctor.

His grieving dad Kennedy, 85, said yesterday: "The tragic irony is that he called Mount Wellington a molehill. He must have been to the Himalayas about 20 times.

"It is heartbreaking. But Ken lived an extraordinary life.

"He packed more into 54 years than most people could cram into 100. He was rated as one of the top 10 climbers in the world."

Dad-of-two Ken scaled Everest by its treacherous North Face. He also took part in a 1996 expedition to Nepal to look for the Yeti and climbed in the Karakorum mountains in Pakistan and the Andes in South America.

He emigrated to Tasmania aged 20 and was in charge of the accident and emergency department at the Royal Hospital in Hobart.

Ken was on 4170ft Mount Wellington with a 45-year-old female doctor last Saturday when he fell.

Other climbers heard the woman's screams for help and rescue teams and a helicopter were scrambled. It took nearly five hours to recover Ken's body.

Ken had only just started climbing again after recovering from a neck injury.

He is survived by sons Ian, 15, and Allan, 10. His funeral will be held in Hobart.

Widower Kennedy, of West Ferry, Dundee, lost his younger son Allan, 39, to cancer 12 years ago. He said: "I'm having great difficulty coming to terms with the loss of both my sons."

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