Shisha Pangma summit debrief and pics: Edurne Pasaban ultimate 8000er

Posted: May 18, 2010 06:00 pm EDT

(ExWeb/Madrid) I just cant assume the fact that I am done, Edurne Pasaban told ExplorersWeb over Sat-phone earlier today from BC. Sure, I am happy to be safely back in BC after summiting a 8000+ meter peak just like after any other climb! Im trying to get a different feeling this time, but everything looks just the same... Oh boy, I think itll take some time for the feat to settle down in my mind! Surely, once back home...

At 1:50pm Nepal Time today Edurne and the rest of Al Filo de lo Imposible team members entered Shisha Pangma BC, thus crossing the finish line of a 12 years-long project. In her fifth attempt on Shisha and precisely one month after summiting Annapurna, Spanish Edurne Pasaban (36) has become the first European and second woman in the world to complete the 14x8000ers.

Hey its not that I am not happy! I am actually elated. But, I think 14x8000ers and lots of people come to my mind. My parents, friends, climbing mates, supporters crowds to be grateful to. I am looking around and watching the expedition Doc checking the sherpas, the camera crew sending over images, my mates Theres much people involved in this yeah, I summited the peaks, but otherwise I am just a part of a large team project.

Summit day

Story updated May20th:Back in BC, Edurne checked and confirmed she had not followed Iñaki Ochoa variation route, by the Austrian 1980 itinerary.

Summit day was great everything went just smoothly Pasaban recalls. We had planned to set off at 4 am, but wind was blowing hard at the time, so we decided to wait until dawn. It worked: as sun rose, wind dropped. Then we left C3.

Mingma, Asier and I took the lead and broke trail along the traverse below the summit ridge, said Edurne. We followed Iñaki route, but not losing altitude as he was forced to do back in 2006 conditions were so good that we just traversed in a slightly ascending direction, until we reached the couloir Iñaki had used to gain the summit ridge. (Ed. Note: That's the Austrian 1980 variation route).

Conditions at the couloir were, at first, perfect: hard snow. On top we met some more fresh snow, but not for long anyway. The couloir leads to a small saddle right where the British route from the south side ends. I looked at my watch and I couldn´t believe my eyes: It was 9.00am! I had been worried because that was the first time I had set off on a summit day after dawn; then I realized we had plenty of time.

It was also great that we had chosen to climb via the variation route: the summit ridge was unclimbable: sharp, dangerous with fragile snow slabs, and extremely long! The meters we walked on the edge from the saddle to the summit and back were the scariest in the entire climb.


Descent was also fast and uneventful. Pasaban team retrieved their gear from C3 and pitched the tents again in C2 (they had no previously set higher camps) still in daylight. Today they took their time and returned in great weather conditions.

The yaks are coming tomorrow, we will return to Nyalam Thursday, and hopefully hit back KTM on Friday," Edurne said. "Were on our 75th day of expedition; its getting too long! I am fine, since my parents have come to greet me in Kathmandu and so I am looking forward to meeting them but my mates are missing their families quite a lot.

All teams back in BC

Besides Edurne, summiteers were: Pasaban mates Nacho Orviz, Asier Itaguirre, Alex Chicon (Txicon), Mingma Sherpa and Pasang Sherpa; Italians Mario Panzeri and Michele Compagnoni (Alberto eventually turned back); Spanish J, Ramon Madariaga, Isabel garcía, Roberto Rodrigo and Jaume Gibernau, plus a 69 years old Japanese climber, on O2 and together with two sherpas. It is unconfirmed whether the Italian and Madariaga teams were accompanied by sherpas as well.

Al Filo team members were first to reach BC today, according to the expedition doctor Pablo Diaz-Munio, while other teams showed up later in the day. As they arrived, I checked some climbers with health problems: One shows sympthoms of HAPE, two sustain very sore throaths, other two are seriously dehydrated and another climber feared to be frostbitten (it doesn´t seems so) nothing too serious, thanks God, Pablo stated.

A keen mountaineer since she was a child in the Spanish Basque Country, Edurne Pasaban (Tolosa, 1973) soon gained experience in the Alps and Andes ranges before her jump into the Himalayan scene: Her first 8000er was Everest, summited in 2001.

Five more huge peaks among the so-called 14 8000ers added up in the following two years: Makalu, Cho Oyu, Lhotse and the Gasherbrums.

In 2004, Edurne joined Spanish TVs Al Filo de lo Imposible (On the Edge of the Impossible) documentary series for an attempt on K2. She succeeded, but at a high toll: frostbites suffered on descent in extreme conditions cost her two toes.

Nevertheless, she also won over Nanga Parbat in 2005 and Broad Peak in 2007.

It was when she counted nine out of 14 summit under her belt, that she entirely focused on completing the "14x8000 Challenge", together with team-mates Asier Izaguirre, Alez Chicon, Ferran Latorre, and Ignacio Delgado as manager. Thus Manaslu and Dhaulagiri followed in 2008, and Kangchenjunga in 2009. This current year, Edurne jumped on a double-header bet, comprising the highly dangerous Annapurna and Shisha Pangma (which she had already attempted four times!), teaming up with the usual mates plus nacho orviz, who substituded Ferran Latorre (injured on a partial ski descent on Anna).

The gambling paid off and May17th at 11.30am Nepal Time, she became 14x8000er summiteer.

#Mountaineering #topstory #interview

Edurne and Shisha climbers approaching the Main summit after following the Austrian variation route from C3.
Image by Nacho Orviz courtesy Al Filo de lo Imposible - TVE, SOURCE
Up the couloir leading to the saddle, on Iñaki Ochoa variation route.
Image by Nacho Orviz courtesy Al Filo de lo Imposible - TVE, SOURCE

Image by Nacho Orviz courtesy Al Filo de lo Imposible - TVE, SOURCE
Video clip of Edurne at arrival on Shisha summit - laughing and crying at the same time. Check the complete summit video on Edurne website (links section).
Image by Nacho Orviz courtesy Al Filo de lo Imposible - TVE, SOURCE
SPOT tracking on Edurne's website (personalized RaceTracker software) shows the route followed by Pasaban (yellow line) to the summit and back to C2. The red line is an approximate of Iñaki route.
courtesy, SOURCE

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