AFTER THE STORM
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Base Camp at Cho Oyu (5,680 m)
Dear friends of Ecuador and the world.
I greet you again from BC at Cho Oyu after this
long snow storm has ended, after it started last Thursday at two o’clock in the
afternoon and finally yesterday, Monday, at three in the afternoon it decided to
stop. You can’t imagine the happiness it was for all of us who are living here
in BC to see the sun and feel its caress after a long absence.
The dawn of yesterday, Monday, was dramatic
because during the night it had snowed some sixty centimeters, so most of our
tents were in risk of being buried under the snow. After breakfast, despite the
increasing wind and snow, all the climbers put on their windbreaker jackets and
It really was a long storm. Five days of low
temperatures, a lot of humidity, without seeing the sun or feeling its warmth,
you really miss it. But, well, now I can tell you that the sunset was
beautiful. Cho Oyu as the most important thing around, completely white, being
painted by the colors the sun gives when it goes to work on the other side of
the world, I mean, where you are right now.
Tomorrow, Wednesday 27, to finish the process of
acclimatization, I climb again to C1 (6,300m) to spend one more night at that
altitude. On the next day I will climb to the location of C2 at 7,000 m to
spend just one night at that altitude. On Friday 29, I will go down directly
from C2 to BC and I will finish my acclimatization process, I will return to
Katmandu and after a short stay there I will leave for my objective of this
fall. Leonardo will be with me up to C1.
This is the plan I have for the following days, I
hope, God willing, that the conditions remain good and I can do what I expect.
I thank you a lot for the mails you have sent
mentioning my two last chronicles on the summit of Kangchenjunga. I have to
tell you that the summit of that mountain has been one of the most beautiful and
important experiences of my life, I am so happy to have made it and shared it
A warm hug from BC at
Iván Vallejo Ricaurte
Translated from Spanish by Jorge Rivera
Earlier: FROM BASE CAMP
AT CHO OYU
September 22, 2006
Base Camp at
Dear friends of
Ecuador and the world:
BC at Cho Oyu, from where I am writing to you, at 5,665 m of altitude.
Cho Oyu is the
sixth highest mountain of the world with 8,201 m, with a summit which I was
able to reach in October, 2002. I am here again today for my acclimatization
process before I face, God willing, my thirteen eight-thousand meters summit,
the Dhaulagiri, 7,167 m.
You should ask
what am I doing here in Cho Oyu if my objective is Dhaulagiri, even more when
the first mountain is in Tibet and the second in Nepal, separated by some 800
Km, more or less.
I would say. This is the answer.
As you know I
was last year in Dhaulagiri reaching 7,850 m, very close to the summit, but I
had to turn back from there along with my teammates because of the great risk
of avalanche that was in a corridor that had to be crossed to get to the
summit. After this inconvenience two more attempts came and we went from bad
to worst with the weather, when in one of them, when we got to what was our
Camp 2 we could note with disappointment that it had been buried by an
I tell you this
to confirm how difficult and dangerous Dhaulagiri is.
That is why I
decided to acclimatize on a different mountain, in this case in Cho Oyu, to
diminish as much as possible the possibilities of risk because of long
exposure in the risky scene.
My plan is to
acclimatize in this mountain, which is very high but with a very low risk
percentage (one of the reasons why this is the most climbed eight-thousand),
until the end of September, then go back to Katmandu to then travel to
The program I
should carry is the following: climb three times up to 6,300m, to the site of
Camp 1. Sleep three nights there. Reach twice the 7,000 m mark, the location
of Camp 2, and sleep there once.
Only after this
plan is carried on I will be ready to face Dhaulagiri, alpine style, which is
the name of the technique of climbing a mountain of more than eight-thousand
meters without previously installing camps, but taking off from the foot of
the mountain and climbing it day by day until the summit is reached.
The site from
where I am writing is in the middle of a rocky place which is more long than
wide, sided by a gray slope of sand, gravel and huge rocks on one side, and by
a tongue of cracked and broken ice on the other side, that in its less chaotic
part has a mountain that connects Tibet with Nepal, that has been called
Nangpa La for hundreds of years. There are yak caravans every Friday coming
by this place, guided by their Tibetan yak drivers that go down to Namche
Bazar (3,800 m) for the Saturday fair, the most important in the Valley of
Khumbu (the area where the Everest National Park is located). There they
commerce, interchange, buy and sell salt, meat, rice, furs, precious and
I write from
this place to tell you that the acclimatization process is going fine, thank
God. On Monday 18, I climbed up to 6,300 m and I came back to BC. On Tuesday
19 I rested. On Wednesday 20 I climbed again up to 6,300 m (Camp 1) and I
spent my first night at that altitude. On the next day, Thursday 21, I
climbed up to 7,000 m, the altitude of Camp 2, and I went back to Camp 1 to
spend another night there. Today, Friday 22, just a few hours ago a came back
to BC to take a break until Sunday to restart the final part of my
acclimatization on Monday 25.
During all this
process, I am enjoying the pleasant company of my Ecuadorian friend Leonardo
Vivar who has decided to join me in this acclimatization plan and to be my aid
at Dhaulagiri’s Base Camp.
I send you a
big hug with my love.
Spanish by Jorge Rivera
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