• 20
    , by Alex

It wasn’t meant to be. The Great Trango Tower will just have to wait.
Below is what Ekaitz, Pelut and I wrote about having to give up our attempt at the Bushido route.

“Greetings from the Great Trango Tower base camp. We’re not going to try to hide the fact that things are rough right now. Really hard. When you put all your effort, all your hopes and several months of work into a project of this scope and then you can’t see it through, it’s a major blow to the morale. And it’s worse when it isn’t even the mountain that turns you back. We climbed 20 pitches and made it to C3 at 5200 m, all in only 11 days of climbing, eight of them already on the wall. The hardest part was still to come, but we’d done the most complicated part of the Bushido route, which is what we had set out to do.

So the feeling of disappointment is pretty strong. Disappointment, not failure. A lot of variables come into play in a climb of this type, not to mention the technical difficulty of the wall, which of course was also a factor. The state of mind, motivation, health or unaccomplished expectations of any of the climbers are all part of the complicated mission of climbing a big wall like the North-East face of the Great Trango Tower. They are all factors that can (and in fact do) bring an end to an expedition like this. That is just what happened to us.

An expedition with such complicated logistics as this one – in which not only would we climb but we would also share the experience, practically in real time on social media – would not have been possible without Pelut. Neither before nor during the climb itself. This had been a fundamental part of the project since its initiation. And we all agree that without it, the project made no sense.

Climbing is not only physical activity but also (mainly) a mental state. And when your mood fails, your motivation goes down the drain. That is what happened to Pelut. No sooner had we arrived at base camp when a case of tonsillitis knocked him out for several days, and later, when we were on the wall, he never felt comfortable. The route was not what he had expected and the onset of bad weather was the last straw. Three days ago he told the two of us, his teammates, that he did not want to continue, that the expedition was over for him. He explained this perfectly in a WhatsApp message.

It was a very difficult decision for him because he was aware of the consequences. But the two of us decided to fully respect his decision. It couldn’t have been any other way. The three of us know only too well that you can’t do climb like this without motivation. And we were a three-person rope team – from the beginning to the end. So, on Monday we decided to head down and yesterday we returned to base camp. These are times for thought and to take note of the experience. We’re the kind of people who believe that you learn more from life’s disappointments than from its successes.

A warm embrace from the Great Trango Tower base camp and thank you for joining us on this incredible adventure.”.