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  Mt Everest and K2 Summiter: Ivan Vallejo Kangchenjunga 2006: The dice had rolled


The Swiss team that reached the summit on May 14.  From left to right: Thress, Norbert Joos, Markus, Chris.  Only the last three made it to the summit.

THE WRONG DATE FOR THE SECOND ATTEMPT      

 

Destiny shuffles the cards,

but we play them.

Arthur Schopenhauer

 

On the morning of Tuesday, May 16, before breakfast, I went looking for Norbert Joos, his teammates and Sherpas to congratulate them with enthusiasm for reaching of the summit of Kangchenjunga.  Especially in the case of Norbert, who finally got that coveted goal, after four consecutive years of failed attempts.  In his project of achieve the 14 eight-thousands, now he only has EVEREST left.  What envy, right?

 

After the hugs and after a toast with Appenzel liquor, the only question was: How was the weather? (of the day of the summit, I meant).  Not so good, not so bad, they said, but it was a very long day.  Twelve hours, almost thirteen, to get to the summit, they added.  Twelve, almost thirteen hours for the summit!, I thought...

 

Mikel and Ferrán came later with the same intention and the same question: How was the weather?  I think that at the end we all left with the same sour taste in our mouths, thinking that we should have moved the date a day earlier to attempt the summit together.  But anything we thought, said or wondered, there simply was no place for that, just conjectures, and the achievement of the summit was just a matter of a fact: to be on the highest point, period.  That's it.

 

Basque and South Americans started to prep for our second attempt.

 

Knowing that the three camps were totally stocked, and that we were stupendously acclimatized, the only thing we needed was a very good weather forecast to solve this.

 

The famous weather forecast and Joao's petition

 

In my personal case it is clear that one of the weakest parts, where the rope can snap in this thing of the eight-thousands, is the weather forecasts, I can say this because of personal experience; it is a matter of bad information or bad interpretation, to then zassssss...! everything crumbles down.  And sometimes there is no turning back when the crumbling is unrecoverable.

 

But back to our story.

 

On the morning of that same May 16, Fercho and I met with our friends of "Al Filo" to set a new date for the summit attempt.  I was counting on the help of a weather forecast that was sent by Kari Kobler, my Swiss friend who was with clients on Everest, by the South Face.  On the other hand, Ferrán contacted Silvio Mondinelli, a common friend who was going after the summit of Lhotse (8,516 m), a mountain that is next to Everest in the same Khumbu area, asking for the same.  I should note that, despite being Everest and Kangchenjunga separated by some 200 Km in a straight line, normally both mountains get the same weather.  Silvio told Ferrán that the forecast pointed as excellent days for the summit the 19 and 20 of May and that he personally preferred the 19 for his summit of Lhotse, having the 20 as a safety day, that should let him leave the mountain.  A totally logic conclusion, I myself have always defended the safety day.  There was no discussion with these arguments: the 19 would be the day for our summit.

 

In the afternoon, after having taken that decision, Joao visited us with two concrete petitions: to join us on this new attempt and to be part of any of the two expeditions, because his was picking up their things and leaving; having reached the summit, he had nothing to do at the bottom of Kangchenjunga.

 

The acceptance was immediate on both sides.  The only but Joao found was the date we had selected for the summit.  Since the practically had just descended from his recent attempt, he doubted that he was totally recovered to leave from Base on the next day.  Joao asked us for a little time to think.

 

A couple of hours later, Joao said that he was still not ready to recover and face a new attack.  He didn't thought prudent to use the last bullet he had left and opted for a risk, taking in account the size of the mountain: attempting to climb alone, two days later.

 

Joao's decision made us uneasy because of two reasons: the risk of going solo, and not having his support on such mountain.  In his absence we considered the idea of delaying the departure and attempt the summit on May 20.  I have to be very sincere to say that we anguished a lot thinking about the advantages and disadvantages, the pros and cons of delaying the departure for a day.  Such was our uneasiness, that we saw the need to vote so that the majority would decide.

 

The winner was the decision of not moving the date: the summit day would be, God willing, May 19.  I clearly remember that one of the arguments we had was the enormous anxiety that we would have if we stayed one more day at Base.

 

I voted for the 19 for the summit day.

 

The dice had rolled.

 

Iván Vallejo Ricaurte

EXPEDITIONEER

Translated from Spanish by Jorge Rivera

Millet One Sport Everest Boot  has made some minor changes by adding more Kevlar. USES Expeditions / High altitude / Mountaineering in extremely cold conditions / Isothermal to -75°F Gore-Tex® Top dry / Evazote Reinforcements with aramid threads. Avg. Weight: 5 lbs 13 oz Sizes: 5 - 14 DESCRIPTION Boot with semi-rigid shell and built-in Gore-Tex® gaiter reinforced by aramid threads, and removable inner slipper Automatic crampon attachment Non-compressive fastening Double zip, so easier to put on Microcellular midsole to increase insulation Removable inner slipper in aluminized alveolate Fiberglass and carbon footbed Cordura + Evazote upper Elasticated collar.

Expedition footwear for mountaineering in conditions of extreme cold.  NOTE US SIZES LISTED. See more here.

A cold weather, high altitude double boot for extreme conditions The Olympus Mons is the perfect choice for 8000-meter peaks. This super lightweight double boot has a PE thermal insulating inner boot that is coupled with a thermo-reflective outer boot with an integrated gaiter. We used a super insulating lightweight PE outsole to keep the weight down and the TPU midsole is excellent for crampon compatibility and stability on steep terrain. WEIGHT: 39.86 oz • 1130 g LAST: Olympus Mons CONSTRUCTION: Inner: Slip lasted Outer: Board Lasted OUTER BOOT: Cordura® upper lined with dual-density PE micro-cellular thermal insulating closed cell foam and thermo-reflective aluminium facing/ Insulated removable footbed/ Vibram® rubber rand See more here.

 

 

 

 

 




 

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