REPORT | Balance is useless When you have fallen for a long time
We start from the base camp on Thursday, February 2, not very early as ascending to the C2 (6350 m), has become a mere process (although very dangerous).
We enter into the waterfall of the Khumbu that makes waters on all sides; Dangerous sections increase. I thought it would be safer in winter, but every time we climb the waterfall it becomes more difficult, more expensive and more demanding.
We are at the limit; We do not have much more material and we do not have the necessary resources. This Everest is going to be very demanding from start to finish; Nothing has come to us.
In 8 hours we arrived at nonexistent C2 (6350mt). We left a base camp tent very well attached, but it flew. It is time to look for a way out and to search the spread material by the moraine.
We changed the plan. We decided to rest the Friday 3rd and get out of the way on Saturday 4th to C4. Ay Amatxu Maitia, where I’m getting myself !!
We spent Friday 3rd in silence. We Uuually laugh, we joke, but today nobody does; It is normal, because what lies ahead is going to be very hard. It is 18.00 in the afternoon and we lie down to rest in sleeping bags, again silence; And with the silence comes the beautiful song of the sparrows. In C2 we are surrounded by sparrows and crows, which are scary.
23.30 hours. The moment of truth has arrived; Norbu, Nuri, Furba, Chhepal, Pemba and me join in the tent. It shows the nervousness; The cold squeezes. I do not know, but it will be around 30-35 below zero. We get equipped and I get nothing. I’m quite nervous; This of the nocturnal ones in winter are major words; I do not want to go cold and miss the opportunity to attack the summit the next rotation.
We leave for C4 (7,950m). Nobody talks. The night is dark, but the stars shine.
As always I have not changed the batteries to my front and I do not see a damn, nor that the batteries cost millions !!. I am the one who expresses everything to the maximum. We have few means, for example I pissed a lot that when we are at the base they give us food and half of the food stays on the plate!
We are going at a very good pace. We’re going too fast. I’m hanging out thinking about my things. Ay amatxu Maitia!
We enter the section of cracks that are not dangerous, but it happens that I get caught in one; Thankfully I was stuck with the backpack as the crack had no bottom !!. Your body shrinks, nervousness tries to take over you, your heart beats much faster and you choke; That is what you feel. Pemba who came behind me threw a cloak and when I look at the hole that has made my body I break the edges and see a very dangerous crack vaulted and bottomless! I breathe and try to concentrate again and continue towards the rimaya.
3.00 in the morning. The cold squeezes much more and the wind begins to blow; We climb the rhyme one by one; Fuck, I’m frozen; I look up and see a star, more beautiful than all the others and I aim to achieve it. The night is very hard, therefore one has to kill time, get motivated, feel what you are doing.
Already on the first fixed ropes, I try to climb quickly; That the cold does not reach my fingers and I look at that star that for some reason that even I do not know protects me; On a night like this, you’re so close to the sky that it seems you can reach it! I am so silly! they are millions of light years ahead !!
It’s 5.00 and we’re in C3 (7250m). I can barely feel my toes, I’m not the only one. We all accelerate the pace and we go as fast as we can so we do not freeze. In an hour, the sky is not so dark and I stop seeing that most beautiful star above all others.
I look down the valley and I am perplexed by the dawn, probably one of the most beautiful sunrises my eyes have ever seen; The majestic wake of the Chomolugma, the views … but at the same time, the dawn punishes us, the wind blows in all directions and the cold gains in intensity.
I grind my teeth and I glance occasionally at the Valley of Silence and I enjoy the sunrise and the views; I can draw strength and determination to continue.
We took advantage of about 200 meters of old ropes distributed in 6 fractions; It becomes very vertical. I look at C2 constantly and the sun still does not hit C2. They are the hardest times, the wind punishes us.
At last the sun appears in C2; That means that it is 9.10 and we are about 7,800 meters; We have left on our right the C4 of the Lhotse, and even in the shade, they are already 8 hours in the dark and shade.
I’m going to pull resources and there is one that never fails. It is very painful but it is worth: I get on my knees on the floor and I cut the circulation of blood for a few minutes until suddenly I begin to feel a few painful gizzards; That’s the signal. Then I get up and the blood begins to flow again; Just remembering the pain I had, it brings back bad memories; My tears fell of the pain I felt, but when the pain disappears I can feel it to the sole of the foot.
It is not until 11 in the morning that the sun appears and we finally warm up; We Flanked by a strip of snow and we see the South Collado. At last!! 7950m !; I leave the 15 kg I carried between tent, gas, rope and pull down with Chhepal (dependence Blessed, invisible chain that binds me to life, and in dark moments, slap on the back and I’m more secure !!).
Concentration to 200% for descent; Abseiling to abseiling, stones begin to fall, especially the last 300 meters of fractionation in fractionation. I do not look with my eyes what I do, I just look up slope to prevent one of those stones from opening my head. Last abseiling; at last! I look up and still do not see Nurbu, Nuri and Furba. Chhepal and I crossed the glacier.
I am surprised: I am exhausted; If I close my eyes, because they hurt me (all night I went without glasses) and now if I close my eyes to relieve the pain a little, I fall asleep, even if I stand, and still I draw strength from I do not know where to recover my Second trophy in this expedition: I like old things and at home I have already three and this is the second bottle of old oxygen that I recover.
He is in a penitent about 4 meters from the ground and I make a superhuman effort to recover it; I end up defeated and I remain seated, while Chhepal looks at me in astonishment thinking what the hell will do this mad man! With all the effort put in today, I do not think it’s the only time he thinks that about me.
We get to C2 and I have it clear; I tell Chhepal that it is better to go down to Base Camp. He does not believe me because he says nothing; He says he’s going to rest. In 15 minutes after drinking something I prepare to descend since they are 25 km to base camp. And despite being exhausted, over the years you learn to measure your strength, so I knew that I could not unless the waterfall collapsed again.
Within what we can here we try to think and measure everything, although in a challenge like this, if you really want to reach it, it has to be used to the maximum. And maybe we open doors that we should not open.
I tell Chhepal and ask for the walki; I think he tries to stop me, but I tell him to be calm. I tell him that in dangerous sections we go one at a time, right? I tell him I’m doing well and that it’s Pablo’s birthday and to not worry.
It’s 14:45. Pressing can reach the reservoir at dusk and that is the goal. And I just think that the waterfall has not fallen. It would have to rise again. In addition tomorrow the hurricane wind will enter so it is best to get out of here as soon as possible.
I always set small goals and the lofts that I lack I have memorized them, like almost the whole route. Finally we are at the warehouse at night, where Aitor has come with a Coke and our dog Gatz.
After crossing the moraine in which we live, until we arrive at base camp, to the heat of the best home in the world at the moment. I sit and fall, my feet hurt; The tips of the cracked fingers of the intense cold and the work we have done; The eyes, the lips, … I am a mess… 18 hours later, but happy.
A good dinner and a great birthday cake for Pablo makes us feel for a moment almost like at home. A very special birthday that we will never forget … And today, as I write this, once again I surprise myself. I have hardly eaten anything and I have slept 5 hours; I do not feel tired and the body tells me to come, that the next time we go to summit. Soon you will have news of the attack.