I am up before the alarm
clock goes off, I wake up seven minutes before five in the morning. Hassan
snoozes by my side with his large humanity wrapped in the feather sleeping
bag. In the seven minutes I have left I think about Karma, in the pretty eyes
she has and in the last dance we had very close to each other to the tune of
Joe Arroyo's remix: "...otra, otra noche otra..." ("...another, another night
another...") After the party we searched for a long time, street after
street, where to have a latté until we finally found where, between sip after
sip while we dipped our Magdalena we kept strutting: "...otra, otra noche otra".
Before we fell asleep, we read poems of Benedetti and Belli.
The alarm goes off; I am not
with Karma anymore, which starts with K, but with Karakorum which also starts
with K, but at 6000 m of altitude in C2 of Nanga Parbat.
Que bonitos ojos, que bonito
baila, que linda sonrisa que tiene (such pretty eyes, how nice she dances,
such cute smile she has).
I throw the feather sleeping
bag to a side and I go for the little stove, I turn it on, I place the
aluminum pot on it and I throw four pieces of ice to melt and to prepare
breakfast. Hassan has a little headache as part of his acclimatization, and
I, thank GOD, feel like a turkey before Thanksgiving.
My teammate has tea with milk
and chapattis for breakfast, which he brought from Base Camp, and I have green
tea with anis cupcakes. When I open the zipper of the tent I see the Diamir
valley, long and precious; there in the middle, a dark serpent of ice crawls
down and in its descent it licks the gray sides of the mountain and one or
another green spot that cheers this sea of stones and glass. Above, on the
other hand, a silver thread, a sharp sierra whose sparkle comes to my
precarious balcony. Then, that other sea of big and large mountains, breaking
from below, with strength, the valley of Baltoro; over there must be K2 and
also Broad Peak, the Gasherbrum, the Chogolisa.
PIROUETTES CLOSE TO THE
The location of C2 in this
Kinshofer route of Nanga Parbat is a reduced and scarce place, so the tents
are precariously hanging from a fine ridge that has precipices on both sides.
These places take, logically, to confinement: all the tents together,
sometimes one on the other, without space to walk between them, and of course,
zero privacy. But that is the least, the main problem is that since there is
so little room, the scarce area for the tent is sometimes mixed with shit,
because the place of the restroom is not next to, but very close to the tents
with the obvious problems. But I don't complain at all, it's what we have,
it's what we have in these conditions and after practicing for a long time I
have learned to share the space, and very well, with the limitations, the
simplicity and the lack of comfort.
To prove my words, my stomach
is always on time, immediately after having breakfast enjoying the view of the
Diamir Valley, it reminds me the need to go to the restroom. I think about
it, not twice but ten times, because the designated place is 30 meters below
my tent and to get there I should put on the crampons, put on the harness and
get tethered. So much things to do and I am with a rush. My only option is
to think in the side of the mountain opposite to my tent, with the little
detail that it has 60 degrees of inclination, is covered by hard snow and if
by chance I slip, there is a slide of 1,200 m waiting for me. That way anyone
would concentrate, right?
While I put on my crampons,
my gut barks with despair and I talk to it: easy, easy, here we go.
I get to the side of the
mountain and for a moment I feel vertigo when I see the big hole that could
swallow me in a second. Standing up looking at the precipice I ask myself how
can I do it, since I am leaning on my piolet with my right hand and I am
holding the tether with the left. I stand still, I abandon the piolet and
with just one hand, making pirouettes, I pull my pants down.
Doing what I have to do, for
a moment I laugh of myself looking at me in such trance and in the conditions
for something so simple, so usual.
I don't talk about
scatological topics much, but today it looks valid to share with you the
eventual discomfort we have to go through, when we are living in a bird cage
located at 6,000 m of altitude.
At 7:10 we leave the camp,
the trail from C2 upwards is interesting: short passages of rock and snow;
then a ridge whose sharp edge breaks the light in two at 7:30, to spill on
We climb slowly because of
the job of fixing clips, fixing ropes, and recover the ones of the last year,
which can be handy now. Then we find a layer of ice of 150 m, so steep that
it breaks our calves because of the effort of climbing just by sticking the
frontal end of the crampons. But this job is like that, of strength and
patience. We finish this long passage that ends in a flat space, where we can
sit after 6 hours. There are pictures shot, of course, filming, canteens and
rest at 6,500 m.
But C3 is still at 6,800 m.
After half an hour of rest we start again, the sun burns us down to the bones.
Taking off everything I can, I remain with a t-shirt and before they win, I go
ahead of the pack to enjoy the job of opening the trail. There I go, sinking
in the wet snow, breathing, swimming at times and climbing in others. Hassan can't take it anymore and he says he is going back, I ask for
his part of the tent and I continue upward. Then Nacho and Martin also turn
around, there is only Ricardo and me left. I feel the joy of my
acclimatization after Dhaulagiri. My heart is fine, my lungs run like a
clock, and I am happy with this.
At 3:15 we get to the
location of C3, look for a platform and we leave the packs of the two tents we
brought tied to a rock. With a gesture Ricardo understands that I want to
celebrate this journey with a handshake. We take some sips of Isostar and we
go down to C2. Tomorrow at noon, when I get to Base, I will have lentils and
from Spanish by Jorge Rivera
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