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  Carlos Pauner GI and GII Expedition 2004

This is the result of our first serious attempt to Gasherbrum I: a nice try.  We left on the 29th by night, around 12, with more than 17Kg. each on our backs.  There was no choice, we have to carry sleeping bags, high altitude suit, mittens, food, etc.  After walking on the cold glacier and contemplating a beautiful daybreak, we got by sunrise to the location of camp 1, at 6,000 meters.  There were way more tents than before, but it is because little by little the murrain has been populated with climbers who come from every corner of the world.  There is our tent, which shelters the materials we stocked on our last trek.  We take a tent and 250 m. of rope and something else, making our backpacks weigh around 25 Kg. Too much weigh and to much to walk ahead, because our idea is to spend the night in camp 2, at 6,500 m.  In view, a flat glacier, where no one has gone before.  It is 9 in the morning, when we start our trek. A couple of Dutch join us, who look like the only ones who are really in the mood for climbing.  We open the path across the heavy snow that fell in the last days.  This flat looks endless.  How long is it?  5?, 8 Km?, I don't know.  I only know that my shoulders hurt more and the sensation of heat inside this oven of snow becomes unbearable.  Suddenly, a thundering noise rattles us.  Is a big avalanche that is falling from Gasherbrum II.  It has swept all the East face, making a big cloud of dust that goes across the whole flat glacier over which we have passed a few moments earlier.  In fact, this is not a safe place and this fact only makes us hurry a little more.  We are practically exhausted and dehydrated. 

The sun crushes us as the weigh of our backpacks.  We get to the end of the valley, but we still have to go across a cascade of ice blocks to get to the Col where the camp is located.  The snow is very bad and we are deep to our knees.  We can't continue, so accepting this as a safe place, we settle the tent and we get ready to spend the night.  We see camp 1 way down there, with all their colored tents.  I wonder what they wait to advance.  The weather hasn't been better.  Maybe they are waiting for some fool to open the path in this chaos of snow and ice.  I don't know, but I don't care.  I fall asleep. 

On the next day, July 1st , we unmount the fleeting camp and we carry all the burden again.  Shoulders still ache, but we have the hope that today's journey will be shorter than the 14 hours of the last day. 

The terrain is complex, with many crevasses and blocks of ice.  Katia and her partner, the Dutch, share with us the hard job of opening the path in this chaos.  There is a moment when I can't adventure myself by a vertical terrain with all this weigh and I decide to leave the backpack.  I'll come back for it later.  We pass a few spectacular ice bridges and little by little, we reach the hill that takes us to the Col.  It is hot and the snow is very soft.  I decide to go down to pick up the backpack, before the path ahead becomes impracticable.  I climb again, I reach my teammates and we continue opening the path, with so much effort.  Walking on the soft snow with 25 Kg on my back, under a burning sun and at 6,500 M, is a huge dose of Himalayism that you can hardly forget.  We arrive to the Col and we settle the tent.  It is a windy place, so we dig a good hole to place our shelter and we make a protection wall around.  There is no room for surprises and this tent has to remain here protecting the important materials we have brought here, not without effort, up here.  We have the tent, food for several days, enough gas, sleeping bags, sheltering materials, 250 m. of rope and climbing materials.  It has been hard, but here is the reward, we have made half the mountain and we have stocked the materials for the rest.

We rest in calm, after these 9 hours of suffering.

On the next day, we take the rope and we head towards the Japanese's corridor, a steep canal of ice and rock which is the main obstacle towards camp 3.  We only carry the rope and our backs thank us.  We advance by soft snow and suddenly it starts to snow.  The day gets worse by the minute and we decide to leave the load here.  We are tired and we won't be able to do anything else today.  Finally, we decide to go down to rest at base camp, where we get after 5 hours of descent.  The objectives have been achieved just in part, but we are happy.  We have fought bravely and we have advanced a giant's step on our way to the summit of this mountain.  Tomorrow will be another day. Carlos

Translated from Spanish by Jorge Rivera


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