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  ANNAPURNA 2007: Ivan Vallejo Ricaurte Base Camp


Dear friends of Ecuador and the World:

 A warm hug from our Base Camp, at the foot of Annapurna, at 4,250m of altitude.

Today, Tuesday, we have flown by helicopter directly from Katmandu to this place.  In just an hour we have abbreviated the seven days of approach trek that, even if it is one of the most beautiful trails of the Himalayas, the main objective is to reach, God willing, the summit of Annapurna, so we have left it for the return.  On the personal side, whenever possible, I prefer the approach trek to a chopper flight and to get to the foot of the mountain as soon as possible to start with the objective.  If a sports analogy can be made, an approach trek would be like going by foot to the stadium track where the competition would take place; or as if the national soccer team would march from the concentration place to the game field.  I don’t want to say that it is bad to walk. No, absolutely, but the main objective is competition, the soccer match, or in our case, climbing the mountain. 

The flight was beautiful.  Traveling through Nepal and admire it from the air is always a bliss of beauty and grandiosity.  Just after takeoff from Katmandu I saw the shadow of the helicopter that licks, jumps and caresses this tapestry of terraces and the green of the rice fields that are on both sides of the Bagmati River; then, the wave of deep canyons, tight one after another with abundant curls of pines and rhododendrons; then, above all, the great Himalayas.  The helicopter, facing those immense walls of granite and ice, is just a pinhead.  Through the window, one by one we all get surprised by this architecture; the Machapuchare shows up, 7,000m of altitude, perfectly sculpted in rock, seeming like an immense tail of a fish which is precisely what Machapuchare means.  Macha: fish, Puchare: tail.  On these abrupt walls the snow of the glaciers hangs precariously and from there a lot of waterfalls commit suicide by dropping to the void.  Death can also wait.

 With a new twist of the immense bladed bug, which carries on the air around a thousand kilos of weight, we enter the west wall of Annapurna, a huge and enormous wall, almost five thousand meters of altitude difference from the foot of the slope at 3,600 m, up to 8,091m on the summit.  What a beautiful mountain.  What a big mountain.  Then we cross a very narrow gorge that, as a kind of gate, takes us to a clear of rocks and snow where the chopper smoothly lands.  We land at 4,250m.

In the middle of the roar of the turbines and the wind whirls we unload the packages one by one, the wind hits us on the face and the cold bites our hands.  The helicopter belly is empty now, Yostakov, the pilot, lifts his thumb and flies again on the air. 

We have reached the foot of Annapurna.

 Editor: Doris Arroba

Iván Vallejo Ricaurte EXPEDITIONEER 

Translated from Spanish by Jorge Rivera

 

 
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