After two days touring the wind-swept beaches and penguin colonies of the Falkland Islands, Alex Txikon and his team sailed from Port Stanley on Tuesday aboard a sailboat 60 feet long and 4 meters wide , heading south. The ship, captained by Ezequiel Sundblad and his son Santi, sails whenever possible, about 6 knots on average, surrounded by dolphins, albatrosses and the dark ocean whose temperature is around 4ºC.
The first two days the sea and the wind were calm, something unusual in this area. The situation has changed, however, or a few hours ago when, flanking Cape Horn, they have entered the Drake Passage, the southernmost passage between the Atlantic Pacific oceans, and known to sailors around the world for Its frequent storms. This is the area of the ocean that separates that point from the South Shetland, and is also known as Passage or Sea of Sickles, in honor of its discoverer Francisco de Hoces, who discovered it seventy years before the crossing of the British corsair Sir Francis Drake The expeditionaries have barely been able to send some lines recognizing that the sea "is giving them cane" and that the dizziness begins to be noticed.
New signings for Winter Dablam Ama
Meanwhile, in Spain, Madrid's Ramón Portilla confirmed yesterday that he has decided to join Alex's team in his ascension to the winter Ama Dablam. Portilla is a reference in mountaineering and adventure sports since the seventies and one of the pioneers of the series "Al Filo de la Imposible", of which he participated as a specialist in more than 60 episodes. He was also the first Spaniard who ascended the highest summit of each continent. He has to his credit the top of four "eight-eight" and has tried three more but, above all, his eagerness is focused on finding and climbing the most beautiful mountains on the planet. Logically, he did not want to miss the opportunity to return to the impressive Ama Dablam, 23 years after his first attempt.
For his part, Alex has shown his enthusiasm for the news via satellite, from the sailboat: "I am especially excited to join us," he said. “He is a beautiful person, with whom we are going to enjoy each step, and he will teach us a lot about the mountain and life.” Txikon also commented that, when Ramón called to ask about the expedition, Alex was “ He lit the bulb ”and invited him immediately. "Besides, I didn't know that in a previous attempt he had stayed 100 meters from the summit," said the Biscay mountaineer. Portilla, meanwhile, published yesterday in social networks that he had no plans to return to Ama Dablam, which in the usual climbing season is usually crowded. "But when I learned that Alex Txikon and his team were going to go this winter to acclimatize before Everest, I could not resist and although as always is not the best time, I go with them," he wrote.
The team that will climb Ama Dablam also includes Oscar Cardo and Jonatan García (who will then try Everest with Txikon), Sergio Pérez, Francisco Miguel Fernández, Alejandro Albacete, David Javega, Jesús Morales, José Manuel Zapata and Francisco Hurtado and Nepalese Pasang Sherpa and Chhepal Sherpa, as well as Félix Criado and Íñigo Gutiérrez, who are currently on the road to the meeting point, accompanied by Iker Mediavilla and Paqui Visedo. According to his RaceTracker, which locates both groups live from Alex Txikon's website, today they planned to leave Bulgaria and enter Turkey. By one means or another, everyone will meet in Kathmandu, capital of Nepal, on January 9.
Photo: Diego Martínez.