Only the good die young, they say. Image of Iñaki Ochoa de Olza, courtesy of his website (click to enlarge).
It's over: Iñaki Ochoa lost on Annapurna

Posted: May 23, 2008 08:38 am EDT
(MountEverest.net/Madrid) In spite off all efforts, Iñaki couldnt make it. Further pulmonary complications had worsened up his state, until he passed away at 12.30 pm, local time. Ueli Steck was with the sick Spaniard, trying to reanimate him until the end. Denis Urubko, on a desperate attempt against exhaustion and loads of fresh snow, was four hours away from C4.

Since he fell suddenly ill in C4, Iñaki has never been alone. His mate Horia Colibasanu kept him alive until Swiss Ueli Steck, who had abandoned his previous plans to open a new route on Anna and jumped to the rescue instead, reached the tent and took charge of taking care of the sick climber. In addition, two further back-up rescue teams were already in place.

Rescuers whereabouts

Right now, priorities turn to those who are on the mountain. Denis is still on his way up to help and support Ueli. The Kazakh had stormed up from C2 at 2:00 am today, decided to reach Iñaki as soon as possible in spite of loads of snow on the route. Alexey Bolotov (who had refused to go back down to BC and instead started up again loaded with O2 canisters for Iñaki) and Don Bowie have retreated to C3, where they will wait for Denis and Ueli. (Story edited at 6:30 am according to later reports from the rescue coordination team in Spain, it is unclear whether Denis may be currently in C3, hoping to reach C4 tomorrow. Snow if falling heavily on the upper slopes of the mountain.)

Russian Serguey Bogomolov and Polish Doctor Robert Szymczak are wating for the four of them in C2. The third rescue team comprising Romanian Alex Gavan and Mihnea Radulescu, together with a group of Sherpas, who might had departed BC earlier this morning, shall be on their way back down or already in BC.

Conditions on the mountain are currently rather rough. In addition to excess of snow, Bogomolov noted on his latest call today that the south face of Annapurna is wrapped in a thick fog, and visibility is poor. Later reports from the rescuers speak of snow falling on the upper sections.

Lho Gyelo, Iñaki

Theres much to say about these mens behaviour, about their sense of comradeship, their sacrifice and courage. Theres also much to say about the outspoken, ingenious, smart and strong Iñaki. All that will be included in another story to be posted after the rescuers are safely back, and feelings settle down. However, on a previous dispatch posted some days ago on his website, Iñaki mentioned the Tibetan nomads, who cry at the wind each time they reach a summit or cross a mountain pass: Lho Gyelo- the Gods have won. And so it has happened. We shall miss you Iñaki.

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