Gonzalez-Rubio on the Summit K2
COMING DOWN FROM 7,000 METERS
Kangchenjunga Base Camp
I greet you again from what today is my place in
my life, BC in Kanchenjunga, to tell you about my progress in the last few
As planned, on Saturday, April 29, after
breakfast, at six thirty in the morning, the Swiss and us, the two South
Americans, left from BC with the plan of getting directly to the location of
C2 at 6,800m. We knew that the journey that day would be long because of the
altitude difference of one thousand three hundred meters we had to cover. The
morning was beautiful and the trail from BC to C1 was done with no
complications; we took a lot of pictures taking advantage of the perfect light
at those hours. On the we up I visited with Veika Fustaffson from Finland,
who is also doing the 14 eight-thousands project. He has done eleven so far,
as me, and he still has to do Kanchenjunga, of course, and the two Gasherbrum
in Pakistan. When I asked about Annapurna, he immediately said, in a sigh:
I am a very lucky and happy man, after Annapurna. He had to make three
attempts, that means three expeditions before getting to the summit, and the
remembrance he always has is the fear he had because of the avalanche risk. I
was very generous when I congratulated him, the truth is that I envy him hard
knowing that he has already done that mountain.
In a matter of two hours and a half we got to C1.
We stopped to rest and hydrate.
At ten thirty in the morning, Fernando and I took
off again with our backpacks, which were very heavy at that time, we carried a
tent, a stove, two gas tanks, food (which is what weighs a lot) for three
days, sleeping bag, thermal clothing and the famous water kilo in the canteen.
The sojourn over the ice valley that is formed by
the Yalung Kang and the Kangchenjunga was unforgettable, indomitable sun, hot
like in the Sahara dessert (32 degrees in the thermometer) and backpacks to
bend any muscled back. We got to the end of the valley in two hours, sweating
like in a marathon run at noon in the middle of the world, I mean, my dear
town. I can't tell you about how much our shoulders and back suffered,
because this note would look like a Mexican soap opera with tears included.
We did a new stop, I reduced the kilo of water to
300 grams, which helped me a lot and we continued with the
objective of facing the last slope that would take us to C2.
There is a bolero cover by Luis Miguel that says:
In life there are romances that can not be forgotten, ineradicable moments
that always... I could make an arrangement and say: in life there are
slopes that can not be forgotten, ineradicable ascents that will always make
That unhappy slope that leads to C2 was endless,
it was eternal!, and with soft snow on top of it all, sometimes sinking up to
our knees and struggling to move our poor bended humanity because of the
weight of the backpack. The only thing that moved Fercho and me was to see
ahead the Swiss and the Sherpas in the same struggle and the same suffering.
Sometimes, when pain is collective, it aches a little less.
For us it was the first time we were going to get
to C2; last time we stopped four hundred meters below, and we didn't know
exactly where we should stop. From three in the afternoon we started to get
into a crisis because we didn't know when the suffering ended. So, making
some humor in the middle of this suffering, from time to time I shouted the
Sherpas when the heck they would stop climbing, that they shouldn't forget,
that they shouldn't get confused, because we were South Americans from around
the middle of the world and not Sherpas
Begging almost always is heard, and at last, at
four in the afternoon, we got to a very comfortable flat protected by large
blocks of ice at 6,800m to settle Camp 2.
We would stay three days and two nights in that
place, I didn't care about the days, but the nights... I thought it would be
like El Rey, another of the famous Mexican songs that says: To cry and
cry. To cry and cry...
The story continues.
A big hug from the comfort of my tent at BC.
Iván Vallejo Ricaurte
Translated from Spanish by Jorge Rivera
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