On 3 September 2013, Italian mountaineer, Danilo Callegari, began his ascent of Shisha Pangma without supplemental oxygen, fixed ropes, or high altitude porters. At 8,013 meters, it is the 14th-highest mountain in the world, the lowest of the 8,000-meter peaks. It lies entirely within Tibet.
Callegari attempted the Ochoa Route on the north face, first climbed in 2006 by Spanish mountaineer Iñaki Ochoa. He made five separate ascents to establish Deposit Camp at approximately 6000m, Camp 1 at 6380m, and Camp 2 at 6950m for acclimatization. He made two summit attempts, but decided to turn around after experiencing 19 avalanches at Camp 1 in a single day, and a fall into a crevasse on his way to Camp 2 during his final summit attempt.
Unable to reach Camp 2 he abandoned his gear, including his Indian visa. He returned to Kathmandu, but was stuck for three weeks in Nepal attempting to replace the lost document while violence and disorder were breaking out in the capital ahead of divisive national elections. On 16 November, he was able to secure a visa and begin the next phase of his adventure – cycling 4,500km to Kanyakumari, India. The town is the southernmost tip of the Indian Subcontinent, and the converging point of the Bengal Sea, Arabian Sea, and Indian Ocean.
The first leg of his tour took him west through Chitwan National Park in Nepal, and into northwest India to the Thar Desert. The desert crossing required a heavy food and water load on the bicycle, bringing its weight to 60kg. Maps were unreliable, as trucks carrying engineers to service wind farm equipment had made unmarked tracks through the sand. Callegari used GPS to keep his bearings, pedaling eight hours a day for six days, covering 350km. Often pushing the bike through soft sand and enduring both extreme heat and cold, he reached the city of Jaisalmar on the Pakistan border on 18 December. He had cycled 2,000km since Kathmandu.
From there, he headed south along the west coast of India. He started suffering from fever, nausea, stomach pain, and a skin rash over the Christmas season, yet continued 800km. He reached the massive urban area of Mumbai just after New Year, and then headed through the mountainous and forested Konkan Coast.
The hot and humid southern coast reached 49°C as he tackled steep hills, but his improved health and positive attitude allowed him to push on. After reaching Goa, he took some time to enjoy the Indian Ocean and rest. He is continuing south along the coast toward Kanyakumari. With his most recent check-in he announced that he plans to return to Italy on 2 February, allowing only two weeks to finish the ride.
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