(Interview by Tom Sjogren, compiled by Kyle Henning) Ecuadorian Patricio ‘Pato’ Tisalema is on the North side of Everest preparing for his speed ascent from ABC to the summit without supplementary oxygen. ExplorersWeb was able to talk with him on the mountain via Skype.
ExWeb: How are you, Pato? When did you arrive at BC?
Pato: I am very well on Everest. I arrived Monday, April 22.
ExWeb: South Side is pretty busy this year. How many expeditions are there on the North Side?
Pato: I think 100 people. I do not know how many expeditions, maybe 15 or 20.
ExWeb: Wow - that's like back in the old days. Russell Brice used to be the leader on the North side and has moved over to South, as you know. We just had a major incident between the Sherpas of the commercial expeditions and free climbers. How is it on the North? Are there mostly commercial expeditions as well?
Pato: I think so: Kobler, 7Summits, Yankees, and other small expeditions. The weather has not been good, so the ropes are not yet fixed to the summit.
ExWeb: I know you are really good at acclimatization. How will you prepare for your ascent?
Pato: Sunday May 12, I will go from ABC to C2, sleep one night, and then descend on the 13th to ABC to wait for a weather window. Which days will be the best to reach only C2 to sleep one night? What does your weather forecast say for Sunday 12 Monday 13?
ExWeb: VERY high winds. From the 11th to 15th we are talking 100 km/h according to Meteo Exploration. 15th or after that I believe. According to weather right now both reports show very high winds at summit but you know how it is - C2 could still be OK. Wind will be coming straight from the North so you will be quite exposed on North Col and up.
Pato: Last year you gave me very accurate info.. I won’t have this Skype facility, so please update my brother for the summit attack window.
ExWeb: I would never recommend from back here in my chair :) Check with me in a couple of days and I'll give you the latest updates - they will probably change as we get closer.
Pato: OK. Thank you.
ExWeb: What about equipment? Light is always the standard for high altitude climbing, but for speed it's even more important. Can you tell us what you are using starting with crampons and moving up?
Pato: I’m using the lightest Grivel crampons, Millet boots, only Poles – no ice axe, three layers, plus North Face and Mountain Hardware 800 Down top and pants. I will only carry my phone, camera, and camelback on the ascent.
ExWeb: You won’t use a sleeping bag? How much food will you bring?
Pato: No. I will leave ABC around 8am. My partner, Rafael Martinez, will leave food and water ready for me at C1 and C2, and then we will meet at C3. When I arrive, he will leave for the summit. I will rest one hour, then start climbing. The goal is to reach the summit by 6am.
ExWeb: What is the present speed record? Where does it start from - BC or ABC?
Pato: I think the record is 22h35 from ABC. I cannot remember whom; I think was a French or Canadian climber. I am not attempting to break the record. My project is to ascend within 24 hours.
ExWeb: In 2006 Christian Stangl did ascend from BC to summit in 16hr42 from the North Side. Considering he was caught faking a K2 summit (staying behind a stone in BC for several days), do you think it should be accepted?
Pato: I do not like to say it is impossible, but it sounds extremely, extremely difficult. I run up on Cotopaxi and Chimborazo 6300m. Where could he get that training?
ExWeb: It seems he didn't have any verification of this except actually reaching the summit (we have a summit picture). There are also some inconsistencies with his starting point.
Finally, some personal questions. Do you have a family or children? Where are you living?
Pato: My father is veterinarian. I am single but I had a Daughter when I was 15, she is now 21. I live in Quito, but my second motherland is Japan.
ExWeb: Thanks, Pato. And good luck!
Patricio ‘Pato’ Tisalema is a climber from Ecuador. In 2006, he became the first South American to summit Everest without supplementary oxygen.
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Patricio ‘Pato’ Tisalema website
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