The Evils of Civilization
This just in from Inaki Ochoa who is climbing with Backcountry.com athlete Don Bowie as they attempt to summit Annapurna
My friends and I have spent the best part of the last 10 days getting our bodies definitely ready to cope with the altitude of Annapurna 1, 8.091 m. It is always a hard won process, different every time you come up here and never easy to deal with. I think we have won, once more, and now we are sitting down in base camp waiting for the right weather window that would allow us to climb all the way to the main top of this strikingly beautiful mountain.
We find ourselves healthy and motivated, balanced like gurus and spiritually cleansed after a month´s stay in base camp, surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery of this planet. It is our privilege, right, but we had to fight a lot for it.
There are some people who dare to say that the only reason we climb is to purge from our bodies the evils of civilization. It could be the case, why not. Some of these evils, like bureacracy, depression, all kinds of addictions, consumerism, loneliness or the political class that rules our western life, fortunately don´t even reach base camp. Others, like high cholesterol or sheer boredom, are about to collapse and die in the wake of the Annapurna climb. Maybe Himalayan climbing is not the healthiest activity in the world, but it does keep your priorities straight and your scale of values in order…
During the last week we have found and climbed a very safe route to the base of the South face of Annapurna, and then we have climbed twice on the face, up to 6.500 meters on the Kukuczka-Hajzer 1987 route and up to 6.800 on last year´s Tomaz Humar´s route, in this last one without even taking the rope out of the rucksack. Both lines are magnificent and safer than they might look. I have never felt such a pure and wild desire for just a summit.
By the way, don´t let anybody fool you; we are not climbing the East Ridge of this mountain, as some internet sites report with misguiding interest, but the immense south face, one of the highest on earth. We will only access the East Ridge at 7.500 meters of altitude (so quite high, let´s say). How do we get from the glacier, barely at 4.000m. to that same ridge at 7.500m.? Yes, you got my point, we have no wings… It is truth that we are not climbing the center of the wall just down the main summit, but we need nobody to put our climb down as if we were peak baggers just collecting another “normal route”. Hum, not our thing, at least not this time.
Everything is ready and the dance will start soon, we hope. The dream wants to be lived, and the only thing you can do for us is send energy, pray if you know how to and maybe turn off the computer and go for a nice walk, run, climb or ride, just to shake off those unfriendly evils of our modern society… I will tell you what happened, as soon as I know.
Check out Don's website to see how climb pans out.
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