Gonzalez-Rubio on the Summit K2
It is 4 in the afternoon and I
am inside my tent in Base Camp waiting for this snowfall to pass. It is cold,
much more than I imagined, but I feel I am well prepared.
I came back yesterday from
installing Camp 1, located at 5,900 m. I am not sure that it is in the same
place we it was 7 years ago because there is a lot more snow now. The terrain
over which we located Advanced Base Camp in 98 was only stones and today it is
covered by more than 3 meters of snow, because the winter has just ended.
So we are waiting for
avalanches that discharge the mountain. Between Advanced Base Camp and Camp 1
I passed a glacier, like a few soccer fields long on the snow, I remember that
in 98 there were just cracks like a Bengali tiger, dry terrain and dark
colors. Of course this abundance of snow makes it more difficult to walk and
open the trail, which is surely covered by now.
Some days ago I heard some
helicopters and I imagined with illusion that it could be the Spanish team.
However, it was not so and this has me a little worried and sad because we
barely say hello with the Germans, because of the language. They are a very
organized team and they have been nice to me, but not being able to have a
conversation and have effective communication has been very hard. The Germans
also installed their camp and with them we came down to let this snow time
pass. It has snowed a lot and in my free time I try to read or visit the
Sherpas in the kitchen where we speak in English.
The weather and the little
communication have made me wait with patience between the settlement of each
camp, all this time has let me think and meditate about my strategy to attack
the mountain, to read it and decipher it in order to get my goal. I know that
the mountain doesn't send signals that let us climb to the summit and that it
is the mountain itself who warns or invites us to achieve our objectives. I
have also though a lot about my family, my country, about Lenin, with whom I
came in 98 and who I feel close now.
The wait has helped me in my
acclimatization process and I see the results of my training in Body Tech when
I read my cardiac rhythm in my AXN700 watch. I felt strong and agile when I
got to Camp 1 where I left my tent and a few stuff. I guess I'll be in Camp
2, at 6,800 m in about 4 days.
I feel proud to be here and I
hope that's the way many of my friends, family and fellow citizens feel.
Translated from Spanish by
Previous Update is below
Three years without visiting
When I got to El Dorado
airport I had to unpack my luggage of more than 35 Kg to show everything I was
carrying and try to keep the police officers from opening the hydrating
beverage packages which any way are useless today. I started my trip with a
big surprise, the base of Air France in Bogotá sent me to first class and let
me take all the excess baggage which was 60 Kg, which I thank with all my
heart because of the savings and comfort, because it will be 3 days of
In Paris I stayed one night
in a hotel close to the airport and very early in the morning I left to New
Delhi, the capital of India. The trip was as comfortable, really it wasn't as
bad because it took 18 hours by airplane. I arrived to New Delhi and I did
not have a visa to enter the country so I had to wait 13 hours in the
international exit port, waiting for the connection to Nepal via Indian
Airlines. I left at 11:30 am Nepal time. 2 hours more and finally I was in
Katmandu, a familiar place for me, it was quick and in minutes I was in the
I was in that very same hotel
a few years ago, the people in Nepal is very friendly and they quickly
remembered me from the other expeditions. They greeted me with a warm
"Namaste sr", which means: the best of me greets the best of you.
After asking about my
teammates, I went to my room to rest, it is 11 hours of difference with
Colombia and it takes a lot of time to stabilize. While everybody sleeps I
look for something to do. While I adapt to the time zone I go ahead with the
On the next day, my Sirdar
came to help me with the final preparations (Sirdar is the name given to the
local people who are in charge of organizing everything related with the
expedition). His name is Ang Nuru Sherpa, a man raised on the mountains who
dedicates to organize expeditions. I began shopping for the little details
left and in the afternoon sleep made me tumble because of the time change. I
went to rest. Early in the morning I was already awake and when the sun rose
I went jogging to the Temple of the Monkeys, which I visited with my teammates
when we climbed Everest. Nothing has changed, a little more commerce and
pollution, although the presence of the army in the streets impressed me,
because I never saw a policeman in this city, it looks like it's because of
the Maoists who spread fear in this country.
Nepal has its roads closes
right now, the trekking tourism has not been able to leave and just the
expeditions that travel by helicopter are still here with the tourists who
stay in the city, the rest of the economy is decaying in the city because of
The food varies, because of
the tourism there's everything, Thai, Korean, American, but the local food is
based in lentils called Dalbad, rice, a lot of spices, curry and powders of
every color. I am OK, already adapted to the change of time zone and my
appetite has come back, I hope to gain a few kilos more.
I leave in a flight the 8th
of the month because the helicopters are crowded, there are many
expeditioneers with sponsors and compromises to meet but patience is what is
It's been 3 years without
visiting Katmandu, but coming back is very satisfactory for me, to meet old
remembrances full of joy and sadness because in 1998, in my attempt to climb
Mount Manaslu, I lost my great friend Lenin Granados in an avalanche, the same
avalanche from which I was saved from death. I know Lenin will be present
with his aura guiding my way.
The German group with whom I
will share the permit to climb the mountain and the infrastructure came days
later. Today we are waiting for confirmation of the flight by helicopter to
be soon on the mountain. Everything is ready although I have a little problem
with the communication equipment that I hope to solve in these days before
leaving to the mountain.
Katmandu is a city full of
tourism, adventure, handcrafts with no equal, with the incredible warmness of
their people. It is full of temples where Buddhism and Hinduism are the main
protagonists. Women walk covered by their veils, because of respect for their
body, and they decorate the colorful street that fill my enthusiasm in this
I think and hope that the
respect and neatness of my strategy in the ascent will open me the gates to
that coveted summit full of mysteries and fear for me. The Manaslu. The
mountain of the Spirits waits for me, the trip by helicopter will leave me in
Sama Gom, a Sherpa town, very little, stuck in time, a very primitive town in
their customs and way of life.
The summit date is planed
from May 1 and on, the weather is stable but you can only check that on the
mountain and the mountain has to be respected.
The mountains decide and
nature is superior to us, what we can do is to prepare and be ready with an
strategy and desire to make dreams come true.
Fernando, a Colombian on the
summit of the world.
Translated from Spanish by
Fernando Gonzalez-Rubio K2 Summiter Q&A March 2005 A must read
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