Camp 1. Three in the morning.
I suppose I
slept so well that I didn't hear the alarm clock at two and a half. Besides
me there is Hassan, my Pakistani teammate (high altitude porter) with his
large humanity of 1.85m still sleeping. With a pat on his shoulder I wake him
green tea and anise cupcakes for breakfast. I put a big tent for three people
in my backpack, which will be used to mount C2, the canteen full of Isostar, a
bag with more anise cupcakes, three small packs of fresh cheese and ten
candies. In my jacket pockets I put my snacks, three cookies, six candies and
a chocolate rice bar.
At four in
the morning we leave the tent, outside the stars shine with the force of their
union, to compete with the purple of the dawn. The day starts and we start
climbing. The mountain slope receives Martin, a fireman from Zaragoza, Hassan
and me. At those hours the snow is just right to sink the spikes of the
crampons. Only when there is more light I can turn my frontal light off, and
I realize the true dimension of the slope of snow: it is enormous, and we are
very small in the middle of it!
weight of the backpack I go up happy, enjoying and having fun. From time to
time I ask Hassan how he is getting along and he answers Ok Sir. I
also talk to Martin, trying to convince him to climb the British route of
Shishapangma, which I did last year, and I think is one of the prettiest
things of the Himalayas.
At 8 in the
morning, with Nacho and Jorge, we reach the Kinshofer wall. Is a wall of
polished rock, 100 m long, which has a dozen old and rotten ropes from top to
bottom, left by other expeditions. Nacho and Jorge go ahead fixing the rope,
Martin and I go behind unreeling the rope. When my turn to ascend over the
second half of the wall comes, I have to get rid of the rope a couple of times
and I have to climb with my nails and teeth, because the crampons don't do
anything on the rock. After the wall I reach a ridge of frozen snow that is
almost on the air; from there, now that it is almost 10:30 in the morning, we
go through bland snow that swallows us down to our waist.
reach the site where C2 is located and I can't believe it: a ridge so fine
that a crow would hardly put its two claws there. Hassan and I take a break
and we start building a platform for the tent, as the rest of the colleagues
to one: the sun shines hard, the platform is partially done so that my
teammates finish it on the next trip. I tie the tent to an aluminum stake and
we start going down swimming through the snow; we reach the wall and once
again, the endless slope. Long and fastidious descent! At 3 in the afternoon
we are back again in C1, wet inside and outside. I enter my tent, hydrate,
take a little nap and at 6 in the afternoon we leave to Base. During the
descent a beautiful light illuminates all the immensity of Nanga Parbat, at my
back, virtually lighting the mountain and in front of me, the Base Camp
prairie: calm, quiet and sheltering. We arrive at 7 in the evening, we are
greeted, the girls with kisses, the boys with hugs, they congratulate us for
the job we've done. I go to my tent, change clothes, I wash my face and enter
the mess tent, to enjoy a duck stew and chocolate and nuts cake. I will take
a shower tomorrow.
from Spanish by Jorge Rivera
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