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  Joseba Sanz assault on Everest without oxygen


Everest and "fair play"

The expedition is over.  We could not make it to the summit. Of course, it was a complicated feat: only three people on this side of the mountain have reached the summit without oxygen and everybody had help of Sherpas.

My intention was to make it to the summit as I have always done: without help from Sherpas and without oxygen.  Something not impossible, but difficult.

The possibilities for success were few, but it was worth to try.  The result is bitter; we have lost the game.

However, it is important to be faithful to those principles, so next year I will be on Everest again, to try it once more, maybe this time by the Nepalese side.

The job of installing the high altitude camps took us a lot of time, leaving us with just one opportunity to attempt the summit.  On May 19th we left for the North Col, but -against the weather forecasts- we were surprised by a snow storm that made us quit on the next day.  Some of those that were higher at the moment, could make it to the summit -only three of them without oxygen-. Between May 17 and 21, some thirty people reached the top of the world by the North Face, but the storm caught most of them on the way down, making the descent dangerous and exhausting.  Some of them needed more than five days to descend to Advanced Base Camp.  Many came down with severe frostbite and 6 of them died -4 Koreans, a Japanese and a Bulgarian (20% of those who reached the summit those days).  This season has been especially tragic on the North side. 

Our permit came to an end and I approached the Chinese Base Camp to negotiate a possible extension, which was impossible.  We left with the impotence of not being able to try for a second time.  As in the recent years, the monsoon was delayed more time and the window of good weather was likely to arrive by the end of May.  He who waits finds his reward.

However, the Chinese bureaucracy frustrated our plans.  I am especially sorry for our sponsors who have given their trust on us, and for the friends that would not believe that I didn't make it.  As they say: "soccer is like that" and, although the comparison is appropriate, I keep on thinking that determination and training can beat any mountain.   

The Sherpas at Base Camp still kept saying at the end of the adventure: Why don't you buy oxygen, and in two days you could be on the summit?  They are very used to the "tourists of Everest", for those who only care for the summit, and not the "how".

I'll try again with the same philosophy and with all the carefulness in the world (this mountain is dangerous and it is even more on the North side), and next time I will make it to the summit. 

Congratulations to my friends Paco and Joan who have made it to the summit by the South face.

Joseba Sanz Basque Country Spain

Translated from Spanish by Jorge Rivera

Dispatches

 
Altitech2: Digital Altimeter, Barometer, Compass and Thermometer. Time/Date/Alarms. Chronograph with 24 hour working range. Timer with stop, repeat and up function. Rotating Bezel. Leveling bubble. Carabiner latch. E.L. 3 second backlight. Water resistant. 4" x 2-1/4" x 3/4" 2 oz. Requires 1 CR2032 battery. See more here.

 






 

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