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  Annapurna Dhaulagiri 2005: IVAN VALLEJO RICAURTE: From Dhaulagiri base camp


FROM BASE CAMP

Dear friends of Ecuador and the world.

Yesterday, Wednesday April 13, we arrived to the bottom of Dhaulagiri in its West face, where we installed our base camp at 4,600 m. of altitude.  We began this approach trek nine days ago in Beni, a little town to the northeast of Katmandu, located at 830 m. of altitude, with 120 porters for 19 members among climbers going to the summit of Dhaulagiri and trekkers who want to know this beautiful trail.  In nine days we have passed the most diverse weathers, vegetations and landscapes, from such a low altitude up to 4,600 m.

The first four days were of generous fertility expressed by the intense green of the vegetation: thick trees, rice terraces, abundant foliage and water everywhere.  But those colors and vegetation are only possible when humidity is thick and evolving; in this trip I have confirmed that these conditions are not what I like: everything is sticky, wet, sweating like a beast and, of course, the damn and daring mosquitoes, who when they recognize that under this skin there is Latino blood, they spread the news to their comrades and I become easy prey of the invasion of Nepalese insects.  At the end of the journey a finish with a taste of salt, smelling of sweat and scratching everywhere.

I think that the existence of mosquitoes is one of the very scarce errors of the marvelous perfection of creation.  My reflection is this: During the approach trek I march with my simple humanity of 60 kilos and 1.64 m. of height happy for my life, shooting pictures, greeting the Nepalese, laughing with the kids; you know, I go involved in my own thing of loving adventure and the outdoors, and just like that: chosen, on the crosshair; then attacked, sucked, suctioned, dispossessed of my own blood and with that my red cells that I need so much to climb these mountains.  And even worse, annoyed afterwards with this itch that doesn't last a minute, an hour or a day.  No; it lasts days and days until it leaves a track in my remembrances and my skin.  All this abuse without the approval of the victim, that is me.  So there is no right dear friends, there is no right for such damage.  I imagine many of you, if not everyone, sometime have been abusively attacked by a mosquito legion and then you will agree that the Great Architect of the perfect creation was only wrong in the matter of the abusive mosquitoes.  

Well, back to the topic of the trek...

After the fifth day, already above the 2,000 m. of altitude we changed one green for another, the green of the rhododendron trees: tall, robust and with their particular elegance.  It was cold and I was happy; mostly because of the temperature, because in these altitudes those flying bugs lack the will and courage to go up.

On the fifth and sixth day we crossed the thick bamboo forests with just a narrow trail to advance though its thickness.  The oxygen was enough for the greenness of the bamboo until there.

From the seventh day we entered a more pale landscape, painted by a kind of thin hay, but above this, emerging imposing and precious: the DHAULAGIRI.  That day was the first encounter and my first conversation with The White Mountain.

Days eight and nine, above 4,000 m. of altitude, the terrain was all mountain, with the great southwest wall of Dhaula always present and we approaching it, from the bottom of a snowy gorge, run by a yellow and milky torrent of snow and ice coming from the top of the mountain.

On Wednesday, April 13, we arrived to Base Camp at the bottom of Dhaulagiri.  We all gathered here, climbers, trekkers, helpers, assistants and cooks, to adjust the details of what will be our home for the next month.

From Base Camp at the bottom of DHAULAGIRI, an affective embrace.

IVAN VALLEJO RICAURTE

Expeditioneer

Translated from Spanish by Jorge Rivera

Dispatches

 

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.







 

 

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