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  Carlos Pauner GI and GII Expedition 2004: THE SUMMIT OF GASHERBRUM I "So long Josť."


THE SUMMIT OF GASHERBRUM I

I still can't believe it when I step on the summit of Gasherbrum I.  It is noon and we have made 10 hours of efforts to get to this singular point of Karakorum.  At the end, we have all come to an agreement and all those interested in climbing this mountain have worked as a team, opening a trench in the powder snow that covers the mountain. I make the last steps and I see what is hiding in the other side. Impressive. The truth is that it is a robust summit with a superb panoramic view. All of us who are here have won the summit with our own effort.  The effort has had no limit with respect with the altitude of this mountain.  55 days at base camp, at the end, stretching it all, had turned to success.  We have been awarded by our patience and will.

For my teammates Willi and Raquel, emotion could not have been greater.  They have crowned their first eight-thousand and here they are, the two of them hugging each other on the highest point. Willi has worked very hard, but he has been in good shape.  Raquel has suffered a lot and has given the last grain of energy to crown it.

Another teammate, Josť, has also been able to make it. We are all four here on the top with the other climbers of other expeditions; without their help we wouldn't have been able to climb.  A few pictures, hugs, tears of emotion and we start our difficult descent from this mountain.  The terrain is steep; the condition of the snow is very bad.  We face the slope very carefully.  Suddenly, Josť, our teammate from Elche who was a little ahead, slips and starts to fall. At first it looks like he stops, but he doesn't.  He gains speed and falls into the emptiness, a jump of more than 800 meters.  We freeze, because we can imagine the result.  It is not possible to survive that fall.  It is difficult to explain the feeling of rage and impotence we feel.  We didn't know each other too much, but these expedition days are more than enough to make a beautiful friendship which, suddenly and cruelly has been broken forever.  What more can we give to this mountain?  What ultimate sacrifice should we do?  I don't know, but when I get to base camp I can't feel anything.  I am empty.  I only feel sadness because of what happened, no sign of happiness can fill this sad moment.  Summit, yes, but how bitter has it been.  How difficult to call his family, to say the worse I could have imagined to say in my life.

I'll go to sleep, exhausted, sad, learning once more how cruel these mountains could be, or how cruel we make them.  I just have the happiness of having met a good person, of have been witness to the achievement of his dream and having fought along with him to get it. I just hope that time can comfort his destroyed family, that they accept that the dreams of people mark our destiny and that we live according to our beliefs.  So long Josť.

Carlos

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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