Alex Txikon and his numerous team have settled in the Ama Dablam Base Camp and are already planning the climbing of this impressive 6,848 meters high mountain. The members of the expedition reached the Base Camp, at 4,600 meters of altitude, on the 16th, after six magnificent days of trekking, crossing with very few people, without health problems of any component of the equipment and very good weather conditions, Although this year, unlike the two occasions on which the Vizcaín mountaineer visited the Khumbu Valley in winter, this time they have trodden snow since the departure of Namche Bazaar, the capital of the Sherpas, at 3,400 meters.
In this sense, Alex points out, it is necessary to highlight the meritorious role of Jesus, José and Alejandro, the three disabled boys belonging to the Amiab association and their monitors, who are still accompanying the rest of the expedition in the Ama Dablam Base Camp, but that next day 23 expect to reach Gorak Shep, 5,100 meters high.
The presence of snow has allowed Alex to apply the lessons learned last winter in K2 and, in just four hours, build an Igloo. "You could say that we are already experts in building igloos," said Txikon, for whom last year these ice constructions were a great discovery, since they maintain a temperature much higher than that of a store, isolate the noise and allow better conciliation the dream, which then translates into facing climbing in better physical conditions. "It's not easy to lift them, but it's worth it," Alex explained. “While some of our classmates were cold at nightfall, the temperature remained constant at -2 ° C within the igloo.” Moreover, the Base Camp is perfectly installed and organized thanks to 7 Summit Treks, the Nepalese agency that is in charge of the logistics of the expedition.
As for the immediate plans of the climbers, on Monday the 20th the Puya will be carried out, or offering to the gods of the mountain, and that is the official beginning of the climbing, although this will have to wait one day because on Tuesday Waiting for a worsening of time. “Coincidentally, on the 20th, two years ago we made a summit in the Pumori,” recalls Alex. "On this occasion, we have many days ahead and the mountain is in excellent condition." Some team members have already explored the route to Camp 1 and, if Wednesday the weather conditions improve as planned, everyone will climb to sleep at Camp 1 and, from there, “up,” as they comment, without giving details of the level they expect to reach. In any case, according to the dates provided by the leader of the expedition, they should complete the escalation in the next 12 days, before the end of the month.
The experience is being especially intense for Ramón Portilla, pioneer of Spanish Himalayas, who had already tried Ama Dablam 23 years ago (he was climbing alone and stayed a hundred meters from the summit) and joined the expedition at the last moment. “Ramón did not believe me when I told him that, during the trekking, it is sometimes possible to wear a T-shirt in the middle of the Himalayan winter,” said Alex. “Now he does believe me, and he also begins to believe that, really, this time he will climb Ama Dablam. Of course, there will be all team members, to support you without hesitation. In fact, the environment of the expedition is very good. ”
The truth is that the group that will climb Ama Dablam is very numerous (Oscar Cardo and Jonatan García, who will also try Everest, Ramón Portilla, Félix Criado, Sergio Pérez, Francisco Miguel Fernández, Alejandro Albacete, David Javega, Jesús Morales, José Manuel Zapata and Francisco Hurtado, plus the Nepalese Pasang Sherpa and Chhepal Sherpa) and for the veteran Portilla it was somewhat shocking at first. “Now, however, he is delighted, especially with the Amiab kids, from whom he does not separate all day,” says Alex. "We are a very large group, but the atmosphere of harmony is as rewarding ... We hope to continue enjoying every moment as we have since we all met in Kathmandu ten days ago."
Photos: Álvaro Sanz. https://www.expedicionpolar.com/.