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  Carlos Pauner Lhotse 2011: The Summit Attack Begins


After a month and a half at base camp, with a few trips to mount the high altitude camps, the summit attack begins. The weather forecasts point to this 21 (Saturday) as the best day for the expedition led by Carlos Pauner to reach the summit of Lhotse. There is a forecast of scarce snow and no wind for Thursday and Friday, which will let them climb and sleep in the different camps. Tonight at 23:00h (Spain time) they will leave base camp and if everything goes as planned, after seven hours they will reach camp II, at 7,100 m, they will spend the night there and they will continue climbing one camp per day. Camp IV will be mounted on the go on Friday night; they will rest there and they will recover for the nine hours that separate them from the summit. In this summit attempt, all the members of the expedition will go, Javier Pérez, Juanito Oiarzábal, Lolo, Juanjo Garra and Carlos Soria. Carlos has mentioned his good physical shape, “although we are all alone up there and we only count with what our bodies can give, a strong group of Spaniards will attempt the summit”, said the man from Aragón. “I am in good physical shape, recovered from my health problems and my mind is set for this titanic effort that waits ahead”, said Pauner. The expedition counts with the support of two high altitude Sherpas and a third for Carlos Soria. In this occasion and as an exception, Javier Pérez will have oxygen, just in case, although he did not have any problems during his recent climb to camp III.

Translated from Spanish by Jorge Rivera

5/14:  
After our particular episode at camp III, our only attention is on the weather forecasts that try to find that window of definitive good weather for the summit of Lhotse.  Our hope rose as foam when we found a good forecast for the days of 15-16.  We had only a few days of rest, but it was worth to try and finish this up.  Checking the forecasts, the thing was not clear and caution has made us stay here one more day before taking off to the top.  Good decision! Today the weather forecasts point to a general deterioration and tens of climbers that tried to reach the highest point of Everest had to turn around, hit by merciless winds in high altitudes on the mountain. It looks like there is no window for the moment and we only have to wait. We know what this is like, we have suffered it in many other mountains.  But we have to feel lucky that we did not waste ourselves in vain, taken by our enthusiasm.  We are still here, at base camp, healing our throats, looking at the sky, now covered and windy, waiting our opportunity, our slice of good weather to take off like wild animals to the conquest of our dream. Calm, for the moment, tense calm and nerves of steel.
 Carlos Pauner
 Translated from Spanish by Jorge Rivera
 
 5/11: STILL AT BASE CAMP
 As usual, Carlos has contacted us to tell us that they will stay several days at base camp, because the probable window of good weather may not be certain. Resting, thinking, eating well and healing what remains of health problems is what the members of the Spanish expedition, led by Carlos Pauner, are doing right now. Although the expedition started with several inconveniences, the men from Aragon say they are happy with the work they have done, looking at the sky once again, waiting for the fifth mountain in the world to give them a chance. 
Translated from Spanish by Jorge Rivera
 

Earlier:

Our intention of installing camp 3 at 7,100 m of altitude and spending the night there has become a reality.  From the comfort of camp 2 at 6,400 m of altitude, we arrived to the tiny location of our tents in a few hours.  For that, we climbed the part known as the Lhotse wall, a wall of ice of 50° of inclination that leads to a more flat terrain where we installed our tents.  It is a small balcony hanging in the giant wall of ice.  To our feet, the whole Valley of Silence and a nice sun that did not forecast the shaky night we had in store. 

Around 7 in the afternoon, already inside our sleeping bags, a terrible wind began to blow.  It was constant at the beginning, but little by little it transformed in violent gusts that made us fear of our own integrity.  The hurricane roared all night and we had to hold our tent all night, begging not to be suddenly swept from this slope.  Cold, snow in the interior and anguish for finding a moment of weakness from Eolo and be able to escape from this mouse hole. 

Finally, around 6 in the morning we decided to escape from this hell, rappelling the ice wall, shaken by the persistent wind.  Without a doubt, toward base camp, to rest and try to forget this bad night in high altitudes.  Luckily nothing happened, we stood up, although there are a lot of destroyed tents in camps 2 and 3.  The night took its toll. 

Now, relaxing at base camp, I try to recover under the warm sunshine.  I enjoy good food made by Juanito (of course), a have a nice cup of wine from my friends of Cariñena and taste a good coffee from home (thanks to my friends of Orús).  I dream that we will soon have that coveted window of good weather and that in a few days we could reach the 8,516 m of this great mountain called Lhotse.

Carlos Pauner 

Translated from Spanish by Jorge Rivera

 







 

 

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