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  Mt. Everest 2005: Carlos Pauner FROM BASE CAMP


Makalu, K2, Kangchenjunga Summiter Carlos Pauner returns to Everest to attempt without oxygen!

FROM BASE CAMP By José Manuel Herraiz

It is 9 and I am about to spend my first night at Everest's base camp.  We came this afternoon and the rest of the expedition will come tomorrow.  Outside the tent there is an overwhelming landscape, with the Khumbu glacier's icefall just some hundred meters away, illuminated by the moonlight, in a clear night.  It is cold.  We are at 5,350 m. and our tents sit on the moraine, on a bed of ice and rocks.  I can't help my spirit to shrink a little.  I have left behind the merry journeys in Katmandu and the seven days of acclimatization trekking, when we carelessly crossed the beautiful landscapes of Nepal.  Now the decisive part of the adventure begins and all the elements in the game are present.  The altitude, the cold temperatures and the mountain.  For a newbie like me, everything seems ready to make me feel little and inexperienced.  "Easy Josema, just 45 days left!"  Pauner is happy of having finally come to base camp.  You can tell just by looking at him.  I suppose that after living more than a year and a half in base camps in the Himalayas and the Karakorum, it's easy to see things different.  Pérez is also an experienced man and gives me advice about how should I move around the glacier.  He doesn't want to see me fall in a frozen lake in the beginning.  The Thamserku men in charge of installing the camp have made a nice job.  Among the poverty of the environment in which we will live, we will enjoy all kind of comforts: individual tents, latrine, dinner, competent cooks, communication tents...  The filming of the documentary is going along well.  We have a few hours of good material and the lines of work which we had planed are taking form.  I am very happy and ready to continue in this new phase from base.  Pauner tells me that I am living inside a picture that I have seen before.  He is partly right.  A lot of images from the documentaries about the expeditions to Makalu, Kangchen and Gasherbrum, come to mind when a cross these landscapes.  These years of work with Pauner have made me a perfect indoors Himalayan... but here things look completely different!  The sensations multiply their intensity by ten: the admiration to a porter that drags 50 kilos of cargo by impossible paths or the beauty of the sunset on the gigantic mountains of the Himalaya.  All of this to understand the difficulty and the greatness of this job of climbing mountains.  I know that I am privileged.  I am going to be witness, in front row, of a sports challenge of first category.  I see Pérez and Pauner serene and wanting to fight hard on the mountain.  Here below we will wait, Tafalla and yours truly, working to tell you with images all what happens.  A hug for everybody who follows us and a special memory for Charo, my family and my friends in Spain.  J.M.H.

Translated from Spanish by Jorge Rivera

Dispatches

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