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  CLIMBERS JUAN A. HUISA AND PEDRO LOPEZ ACHIEVE A NEW SUCCESS FOR ANDALUCIA IN THE MIDDLE OF THEIR SEVEN SUMMIT PROJECT


 

They left on December 3 and after arriving to Chile they attacked a beautiful summit, Villarica Volcano, 2,847 m., a very active volcano as they could see, because they even had difficult moments because of toxic gases.  With this summit they finished a long preparation phase which began in May with the conquest of the highest summits of Atlas in Morocco, and after that they went to Marmolada in the Italian Dolomites, and then Mont Blanc in the French Alps, and this last summer they went above 6,000 m. in Cordillera Blanca, Peru.

This long and exhausting preparation phase has been without a doubt the prelude to the success achieved by Huisa and López in Mount Vinson, 4,897 m., the roof of the Antarctic continent.  This expedition is without a doubt the more complicated they have had so far, because of the special conditions found in this mountain.

First, there is no help at all from porters, guides or infrastructure, so they had to be completely self sufficient and carry everything for 15 days, which left them exhausted sometimes.

Second, they had to face very adverse weather conditions, because they were down to -35º Celsius, and -18º inside the tent.  These cold conditions along with a weather that changed every three or four hours, made them be alert and to follow a particular ascent strategy.

24 hours of constant light also affected them, because they didn't sleep more than 4 hours a day and they had a bad circadian cycle, "we lost the notion of time, we were like automats, we ate when we were hungry and slept when we were tired, after a few days in this situation exhaustion began to be present".

With a delay of 3 days because the wind conditions did not let landings on Antarctica, we arrived to Patriot Hills base on Dec. 14; and hours after we were flying in a little

Twin Otter plane to Vinson's Base Camp at 2,200 m.  The landscape was from another planet, everything was ice and snow, and very virgin, with a lot of mountains, many of them which have not been explored, "we gave no credit, but we were in the coveted Antarctica, land of explorers and dreams".

We installed base camp, and the next day we left with 50 kg. each towards Camp I (2,850 m.), this climb is very progressive and sleds can be pulled up to facilitate carrying the materials.  There were 4 more international expeditions; and each expedition used a different strategy to climb.  We opted to carry everything at once, because we were very well acclimatized, and with the sudden changes of the weather we could not lose days carrying materials between camps.

We arrived very tired to Camp I, but we were there with all the materials at hand, rested for a day and a half and we continued with the ascent.  We decided to try to get to Camp III (3,850 m.) skipping Camp II (3,300 m.), because that camp was relatively close and above all because we were very well acclimatized, and it was better to get acclimatized at 3,850 m. during a day or two.

What happens is that the trail between Camp II and III is more vertical and complicated, and with scattered crevasses, that made us be very careful.   We left all we could discard in Camp I, but even though our backpacks weighed 30 Kg., a real dumb thing to try to get above 1000 m. of altitude difference once we got to camp III.  We were OK until 3,300 m., but beyond that the slope of the mountain was up to 65º in some points, and that with the great load we had weakened us.  There were a lot of crevasses that we had to pass with caution, and it looked like we would never get to Camp III.  Finally after nine hours and a half we arrived to the coveted Camp III, now we needed to rest.

The weather was foggy and a cold front hit the camp the next day, the temperature going down to -35º Celsius, and -18º inside the tent, so we hardly left the sleeping bag.  We had very difficult moments with our feet and hands but we could more or less be warm.

The weather improved and the sky was clear, so we decided to take only what was necessary and with very light packs we began the last climb that would take us to the summit of Vinson.  The climb, although little, was endless, going through the snow and great valleys that seamed to have no end.  Little by little we say the summit get closer, until we got to a smooth climb, a change to a great previous inclination, to get to the final edge.

We were tired but we were one step from achieving that goal we were preparing for, for more than a year, we thought in the compromise and the support of our family, friends and specially sponsors, so there was no room for doubt, we had to give what was left of our strength.  We decided to continue on the edge of great beauty and with some difficult and aerial points, with precipices on both sides, and at last we got to the dreamed summit.  We hugged and I confess some tear was shed, but I suppose it was because of the cold.  We were happy, plethoric, it was our reward, or award, and with good weather, what else can we ask for.  We shot the obligatory pictures, and enjoyed the summit for more than an hour, we even contacted some media in direct, and we could even talk directly to the President of the Council, a thing that made us proud. 

Now we had left 4 hours of an eternal descent and back again to camp III to rest, but the difficulties were the least. 

Next day the situation was bad with strong winds and blizzard, so we decided to wait but since it did not change we started to unmount and to go down.  There were some groups that have not been to the summit yet, and the situation was getting ugly.  It took us 3 hours to get to Camp I, but this descent, carrying heavy loads, with bad weather and with steep inclination was not easy; there was even one time when we fell to the floor and we had to stick our piolets to be safe, but luckily it was just a scary moment. 

Down in Camp I the situation was calm, we took the sleds and during 2 and a half hours we rode to base camp.  The winds wouldn't let the plane to pick us up, but the next day the situation improved, and we were transported to Patrio Hills base.  The stay there was comfortable but we had to wait for two days for the plane that would take us to Chile.  On the 24 at 21:30 h. Chile time, we arrived to Punta Arenas.  The first thing to do was an incredible shower and then dinner to celebrate. 

It has been a unique experience, complicated and exciting.  The only thing left to do is to thank specially to our sponsors and collaborators who have made this sports hit happen.  In first place Junta de Andalucía, though Consejería de Turismo, Comercio y Deporte as principal sponsor, the City of Sevilla, Consejería de La Presidencia, Empresas Municipales de Sevilla, Instituto Municipal de Deportes, Merkamueble and Canal Sur.  And our collaborators: Centro Comercial Nervión Plaza, Sevilla F. C., Universidad de Sevilla, SADUS, Estadio Deportivo, The North Face and Bazar Juvenil. 

Translated from Spanish by Jorge Rivera

Millet One Sport Everest Boot  has made some minor changes by adding more Kevlar. USES Expeditions / High altitude / Mountaineering in extremely cold conditions / Isothermal to -75°F Gore-Tex® Top dry / Evazote Reinforcements with aramid threads. Avg. Weight: 5 lbs 13 oz Sizes: 5 - 14 DESCRIPTION Boot with semi-rigid shell and built-in Gore-Tex® gaiter reinforced by aramid threads, and removable inner slipper Automatic crampon attachment Non-compressive fastening Double zip, so easier to put on Microcellular midsole to increase insulation Removable inner slipper in aluminized alveolate Fiberglass and carbon footbed Cordura + Evazote upper Elasticated collar.

Expedition footwear for mountaineering in conditions of extreme cold.  NOTE US SIZES LISTED. See more here.

A cold weather, high altitude double boot for extreme conditions The Olympus Mons is the perfect choice for 8000-meter peaks. This super lightweight double boot has a PE thermal insulating inner boot that is coupled with a thermo-reflective outer boot with an integrated gaiter. We used a super insulating lightweight PE outsole to keep the weight down and the TPU midsole is excellent for crampon compatibility and stability on steep terrain. WEIGHT: 39.86 oz • 1130 g LAST: Olympus Mons CONSTRUCTION: Inner: Slip lasted Outer: Board Lasted OUTER BOOT: Cordura® upper lined with dual-density PE micro-cellular thermal insulating closed cell foam and thermo-reflective aluminium facing/ Insulated removable footbed/ Vibram® rubber rand See more here.

 






 

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