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Copyright© Billy Pierson

Hello friends: We are already in Payu, we have arrived after an insufferable day of heat… After a quick shower in the facilities that have been installed in the middle of the camping zone (which don't help the landscape at all), we get caught by a strong rain, we cover all the barrels and packages quickly and we look for refuge in the mess tent, and we patiently wait… The trekkers ask us, what to do in these cases? Well, nothing… read, play cards, laugh and tell jokes, talk about the mountain…

It is strange for anyone who is not used to this, to see how nervous
and active we are and also how patient when there is nothing else to do.  Why do we do it? Well I suppose it is part of the final project, we know that you won't get nothing if you are not patient, we know that to climb high mountains you have to adapt to the environment, or the environment will beat you.

Between jokes we talk that when you have a "morning thing" (a climb in the morning to a mount close to home) you have time to have some cake and coffee before leaving, get dressed in the car before getting to walk and after a climb and descent of this kind, be home by the time of the paella… but here the environment is more demanding, you never know at what time your porter will show with your package (take notice: applauses and admirations to porters), you can not be certain if it is going to rain before you can install the tent, you can not know either how the weather will be on the next morning or the next day when you have 6 hours or more of trekking… but with all of this and much more, here we are, for the surprise of everybody, adapting to the environment… some with blisters in their feet because of the heat of the day, some with nasal hemorrhages because of the sun, some with burned arms and legs, some with diarrhea after drinking this water rich with mineral salts and sand… and everybody, almost everybody, with an aching back because of sleeping in the hard and cold floor… but happy. Let's not lose the good humor and happiness of every day when we contemplate the landscapes that surround us, when we see the luck we have of being here, we have made a difficult election, but now we hare happy, not everybody has the braveness that my teammates have,
who left worried families and children behind, who fight in their jobs
to get a permit or vacations to be able to come on an expedition,
using their savings to make it here.  We all have had to organize so
many things before coming here, having to convince so many people that we are not so crazy and that we only fight for a dream or a goal, that we are sports people, that we have been training for so many months, for this demanding environment, for this mountain that awaits us. I make the commitment here to don't let the bad humor or negativity show at our base camp…we are a wonderful group and we will show it every moment.  The next objective is Urdukas (4,000 m) and an hour away from where we are, we will start to walk over the Baltoro
A big hug,
Lina Quesada

Translated from Spanish by Jorge Rivera


Broad Peak is the first eight-thousand which Lina Quesada visited in
2003.  "I had a hard time then, on the day of the summit I couldn't
get beyond the Col (7,500 m.) I could not feel my feet, I was very
cold and I didn't think I could do it, I was afraid of suffering
frostbite and I turned around, I thought, 'well, the mountain will
still be there, maybe I can try it again another day'…
Now I am here again with a stupendous group, I never had a better
company, I know that I will feel part of the group and that I won't be alone.  My teammates are Alberto Zerain, from Vitoria with 5
eight-thousands on his back, and his fellows Aitor Las Hayas and Juan Carlos González; and those who were my teammates in the Gasherbrum 2 expedition during the summer of 2006, Alfredo from La Rioja, Santiago Martin from Segovia and Diego Hernandez from Badajoz. We arrived very exhausted to Skardu last night.  After two days on the road, or better said, track, curves, slopes and paths.  It is not a route I would recommend to anybody, because unsafe driving is usual around here, let's wait that we can fly for our return, because we can skip a lot of dangers in an hour and a half…
The worst comes tomorrow.  We are now in Skardu (2,300 m.) the last town where we can rest in a bed, take a shower and make a last minute shopping, but tomorrow around four in the morning we will start our tour in a jeep, which will take us over a vertiginous track, not apt for people with a weak heart, because in every curve if you look down, you see a precipice and the force that goes to the river…  Better not to think about it… Also those jeeps in which we will travel, with no tracks on their tires… one never knows in which town we have to stop to repair a tire or some other damage, a usual thing.  We will arrive to Askole (3,000 m.) around noon, a town where we will sleep in tents and start the adventure…
The landscape is wonderful, rice crops, little villages with adobe
houses, the strong Braldo river that sweeps everything on its way is
the main axis that will lead us later to the start of the Baltoro
glacier, which we will cross to get to Concordia, the central point of
the 4 eight-thousands that are on this part of the Karakorum, K2 and Broad Peak in the glacier of Goldwin Austen and Gasherbrum I and II in the west part.  The other mountains don't have to envy anything from these eight-thousands, other beautiful mountains like Masherbrum (vertiginous perfect pyramid), Gasherbrum IV, Chogolisa, all of them of an unusual beauty, majestic, which seem forgotten for not being taller than eight-thousand meters and who knows if luckily don't get any visits of almost any climber…
There will be an Spanish expedition this year also in Gasherbrum IV,
we wish luck to our friends who will have the pleasure of transit by
those wonderful slopes and we know for a fact that they will conquer its summit. Good luck friends! On our side, we will not be alone on Broad Peak, there will be an Iranian expedition, which we met in Skardu, Italians, Americans, who knows? The important thing is that once there at base camp we will share the ascent with more friends and that we won't be alone, but we will have to face those last decisive moments on the mountain, the day of the summit, the most risky and important day, each one alone with our inner side, with a strong spirit and with decision.
In our group we keep a good humor so far, we will have a lot of work
this afternoon, we have to organize the barrels, divide the loads, we
have already taken care of the generator, buy ropes, you know… we
can't stop for a moment and in these days of trekking over Baltoro we will join with more and they will make this feel like a nice group, as friends and mountain teammates which I have sometimes missed when I go alone on an expedition.  This is great help, because we know that we have each other and that we can always count with a teammate.
We will leave day after tomorrow from Askole with a group of porters
who will help us with the loads along the trekking, which we still
don't know, they will be waiting for us tomorrow with the cook.  They are usually all Baltan, strong people who are born, grow and live here, in these hard lands, of strong winds, cold winters and dry  and hot summers.  This is an unfriendly landscape which doesn't invite visitors so easily, few adventure through these lands, which offer so much beauty and so many wonderful landscapes to climbers from around the world. Every climber dreams with walls like those found here, Trango Tower, Mustag Tower, no name Tower, authentic jewels of geology and natural architecture.  All of them surround us and leave us breathless when we look at them, and the glaciers that surround them with a silvery white
in the hours of sun.
I cheer you up to visit these lands and get into their landscapes.  So
long friends, I stay here in Skardu, with heat and prepping everything
for what is still to come… a big hug.

Translated from Spanish by Jorge Rivera

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