TOWARDS THE SUMMIT OF NANGA
PARBAT: PART 2
in my sleeping bag at 7,250 m at C4, I can't get even a second of sleep
because of the lack of oxygen and I laugh thinking about the name of the
artifact: sleeping bag. Yeah, right! I don't close my eyes, not for a
moment, and I keep fighting desperation and suffocation, looking for relief
with breathing exercises. Shouldn't it be called suffering bag?
thirty in the evening the alarm sounds. Inside such a tiny tent, all Fernando
and I have to do has to be in order and by turns. While the heat of the stove
helps us melt snow, I get my head out to see how is the scenery and I find the
moon, which is so full and is spilling and flooding the entire Nanga Parbat
with its silver flow, as well as the Diamir Valley and in fact all the
mountains of Pakistan. Fernando, nervous, seems to wait for a go sign before
a race. To ease the moment, while we have chocolate with the super proteins
cocktail and oat cookies, I strut one of Carlos Vives' songs which I like the
most: "...y ahí llego yo, y ahí vamo'a ver lo que gozá..." ("...and here I
come, and we'll see what how to have a good time...").
At one in
the morning we are outside the tent and we meet 21 members of expeditions of a
lot of places: Spanish, French, Pakistani, Italians, Swiss and two with a
yellow, blue and red flag: Fercho and yours truly.
Mondinelli (Italy) and I lead, the rest follow. How nice it is to go ahead
opening the way, negotiating with the snow, making a trail so that the rest
can use it. We cross the lowest part of the basin with fear; in the
surroundings, a week ago, an enormous avalanche fell and swept away the
The line of
fireflies that left from the camp stretches little by little, now it looks
like a luminous centipede. Only five fireflies go ahead: Silvio, Nacho, two
Pakistanis and I, the rest goes way behind.
At two and
a half in the morning we reach the foot of the slope that forms the final
trapeze towards the summit. Silvio and I, taking turns at the leading end,
get into that wall which I suppose is enormous, because neither the light or
my view are useful to know its true size. From there, with all the internal
noise I had inside (Loca de la Casa fades away), my thoughts go silent and the
images move in slow motion. I am above 7,400 m and I don't have much oxygen.
I notice the light of Silvio's lamp ahead of me and Nacho's light and steps
behind me. He climbs, I climb, we climb. He chats, I chat, we chat, quietly
Oh, the moon on my back!
It is so
pretty: round, large, moving slowly, putting on a pajama because it is bed
time. When it came out tonight it had a pretty and shiny silver dress; now it
has changed, that yellow pajama has printed lambs. That means, the moon also
counts lambs before it goes to sleep, just like Karma.
enter hat dimension in which I don't care about time and distances. Being
there is to feel a bubble of air, trying to float among a dense thickness like
glue, trying to open the trail with our will, despite the weakness. The
bubble of air is my lungs with me inside, but in this order. Only because
they exist I can exist.
from Spanish by Jorge Rivera
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