Chimborazora igotzen / Climbing up to Chimborazo ( 6268 m )

Categories Ecuador

Note: Every article is written in basque and english. Scroll down to read the english version.

EUSKERAZ ( 2016/10/06 – 2016/10/08 )

Chimborazoko refugioa 4850 metrotan aurkitzen da. Mont-Blanc-eko gailurra bezain altu. Hemen mendiak eta alturak norbera bere lekuan jartzen du. Burukominak, arnasa hartzeko zailtasunak eta gaitz guztiak etor daitezke batera. Ecuadorreko kostatik datorren jendeak oso gaizki pasatzen du, bapatean, 0 metrotatik ia 5000 metrotara igotzen baitira. Jendea goitik botaka eta ondoezakin ikustea ohikoa izaten da. Koka tea hartu, arnasa kontrolatu eta lasai egoteko momentua izaten da.

Hemen egonda, Chimborazoko gailurrera igotzen saiatuko naiz, 6300 metrotara dagoen sumendira. Sekula ez naiz honelako alturetan ibili eta nik ere sentitzen det oxigeno falta. Burukominak eta arnasa hartzeko zailtasunak ere iritisi zaizkit baina jasangarria da. Gailurrera igotzeko aklimatazio pixka bat behar da eta altura horretan bizpairu egun egotea gomendatzen dute. 5300 metrotara gidarik gabe igotzeko aukera dago, hortik aurrera ezinbestekoa da gida batekin igotzea eta gauez igo behar da, eguzki izpiak ateratzean, elurra urtzen hasten da eta elur-jauzi arriskua handia bait dago. Angelosekin 5300 metro arteko mendi ibilaldiak egiten aritu gara, gorputza ohitzen joateko. Ondo ikusten gera, bai fisikoki baita alturan aldetik ere, baina errespetu handia diogu mendiari. Azken astean izan diren mendizaleen artean bizpairuk bakarrik lortu bait dute gailurra egitea.

Iritsi da eguna, atsaldeko 5-etan afaldu eta ohera. Gaueko 10-etan jeiki, koka te bat hartu, zereal gutxi batzuk jan, mendiko ekipo guztia jantzi, frontala piztu eta hortxe abiatu gara Fabian eta biok. Bera da nere mendiko gida. Poliki-poliki abiatu gera eta 30 metrotara gelditu beharra izan det. Sekulako beroa det horrenbeste kapa gainean izanda eta arnasa hartu ezinik nabil. Kendu beharrekoak kendu eta aurrera, poliki-poliki. Bigarren aterpetxera iritsi gera eta mendizale alemaniar talde batekin egin degu topo, 12 eta 4 gida dira. Oso poliki goaz, arnasa kontrolatuz eta gau izartsua begiratuz. Lehen alemanak atzean geratzen hasten dira eta oraindik ez ditugu kranpoiak jarri. Segi ba goruntz, 5300 metrotara iritsi gera. Aldiz, oraingo honetan bezperan baino neke handiagoa sentitzen det, gaua izango ote da erruduna edota lo falta.

Kranpoiak eta pioleta ateratzeko garaia da. Nere birikak altura sentitzen hasten dira, baina aurrean dugun elurrezko paretak adrenalina igo dit eta motibatua nago. Fabian eta biok soka batez lotuak gaude, berak irekitzen du bidea. Alemanak berriz hirunakako kordadetan doaz. Lehen taldeak pasatzen hasi gera, baino denak oso poliki goaz. 5500 metro eta eskalatzeko pasadizo bat gainditu behar degu. 1000 metrotan izango bagina ez luke inongo arazorik izango pasadizo honek, hemen ordea, bi edo hiru aldiz indar gehiago behar detela sentitzen det. Goruntz goaz eta parean dudan mendizale alemanaren hankek lehen koordinazio falta erakusten dute. Honek gosaltzeko pattarra hartu ez badu, arazo bat dauka! Aldiz, ni ere ez nago  indar betean, goizeko 3 t’erdiak dira eta nere pausoa asko moteldu da. Fabiani galdera magikoa pausatu diot: “¿Falta mucho para la cumbre?” Eta haren erantzunak lurjota utzi nau. “Muchíiiiisimo, a este ritmo unas 5 horas, estamos a 5600 m”. Orduntxe argi ikusi det ez dudala gailurrik egingo. Gero eta okerrago sentitzen hasten naiz eta Fabiani bere gomendioa galdetzen diot. Berak beste 100 metro gehiago igotzeko gai ikusten nau baina nik jeitsiera det buruan eta pareko alemanaren hankak bilintxi-balantxan ikusten ditut. Fabianek aurreko gidari alemanaren egoeraren berri ematen dio, aldiz aurrera egitea erabakitzen dute.

Nik berriz, nere mugak ezagututa behera egitea erabakitzen det, jeitsiera zaila eta arriskutsua izaten da eta indarrak gorde behar ditut. Nere hankak ondo daude baina gorputza orokorrean ez. Lehena naiz atzera egiten baina erabaki egokia hartu dudalakoan nago.  Goruntz eskalatzea jeistea baina errexagoa da eta kontu handia behar da. Orain ni naiz kordadako lehena, erortzen banaiz Fabianek eutsiko bait nau. Jeitsieran, lehenago pasa ditugun mendizaleak gurutzatzen ditugu. Hauek oraindik polikiago eta sufrimendu itxurakin, baina goruntz jarraitzen dute. Ni gero eta okerrago sentitzen naiz eta 30 metroro geratu eta esertzeko beharra daukat. Birikak dira arazoa, ezin arnasik hartu! “Fabian, esto es normal?” “Puede que tengas un edema pulmonar, aunque no lo creo porque no estas tosiendo.” “La chuta, la concha su madre y la maraca culea”, hoixe besteik ez zitzaiten falta. Arnasa sakon hartu, altxa eta segi beheruntz. Hankak deskordinatzen hasten dira, botagurea sentitzen det, tripa nahastua daukat eta sekulako mozkorra harrapatu izan banu bezela sentitzen naiz. Krampoiak kendu eta teorian errexagoa izan behar zuena, zailagoa bilakatu da. Elurra hasten du eta lainotua dago. Nola egongo ote dira beste mendizaleak? Giden irrati bidezko elkarrizketak ulertzeko zailtasunak ditut baina askok atzera egin dutela ohartzen naiz. Beraien argiek bidea margotzen duten mendian behera.

Bigarren aterpetxera iritsi gera, bai, bazan garaia. 900 metro besterik ez dira geratzen ohean etzateko. 5050 metrotan gaude, 200 metro jeitsi ta lixto. Sekula ez zait kilometro bat horren luzea egin. 20 metroro eseri, arnasa kontrolatu eta segi.

Azkenean iritsi gera beheko aterpetxera, eskerrak garaiz atzera egin deten. Mendiaren indarra eta naturaren aurrean zein txikiak geran!

13 mendizaletik, 4-k egin dute gailurra. Aupa zuek!
Ez dut gailurrik egin eta jeistean gaizki pasa dudan arren, esperientzia izugarria izan da. Mendiak, gorputzak eta buruak egiten dituen jokoak ezagutu ditut, sekula ikusi dudan zeru izartsu polittena ikusi det eta zalantzik gabe, neronen burua pixkat gehiago ezagutu det.

Yupaychani  Fabian! (Eskerrik asko)

ENGLISH ( 2016/10/06 – 2016/10/08 )

The Chimborazo refuge rises 4850 meters above sea level, as high as the Mont Blanc summit. At this altitude, the presence of the mountain instils us.  All illnesses can come together: headache, breathing difficulties, stomach-ache … Ecuadorians coming from the coast tend to have a bad time at the beginning as they suddenly go up from zero to almost 5000 meters high. It’s quite common to see people throwing up and with general discomfort. In this cases, it´s time to take a Coca tea, breathe deeply and have a rest.

Once here, I will try to climb the Chimborazo’s summit, the volcano which rises up to 6300 meters high. The highest mountain in the world from the centre of the earth and therefore, the closest point from the sun. I have never been in this altitude and I can also feel the lack of oxygen. I have also had headaches and breathing difficulties, but they are bearable. In order to climb the summit is important to acclimatise properly and it is recommended to stay at this altitude at least a couple of days. It is possible to climb up to 5300 meters without a certified mountain guide, but from that point on, it is compulsory by law to hire one.  So as to avoid avalanches the ascent starts around 10 p.m. and it is highly recommendable to reach the summit before 8 a.m. At this time the sun is shining and the snow starts melting, increasing the avalanche risk.

Angelos and I have been training in the nearby hills reaching 5300 meters and for the time being everything goes smoothly. We feel good, both physically and regarding the altitude, but we fully look up to the mountain. Among the climbers who tried to climb the summit in the last week, just a few of them reached the summit.

The day finally arrived, now it’s my turn. At 5 p.m. we have dinner and we go to bed. We get up at 10 p.m, drink a coca tea, eat a bunch of cereals, put on all the mountain equipment, switch on the torch and here we go, Fabian and me. He is my mountain guide. We start really slowly, step by step until 30 meters later I need to stop. The amount of layers on my body is suffocating and I cannot breathe. I take off the excess clothes and we keep on going, really slowly. We reach the second refuge and we meet a group of 12 german alpinists and their 4 guides. We all continue climbing up slowly, controlling the breath and observing the starry sky. Quite soon the first german alpinists fall behind and we have not put the crampons yet. Let’s go on, until we reach 5300 meters. Despite, at this altitude I feel much tired than yesterday, it might be the night or the lack of sleep. Either way, it’s time to put on the crampons and to take the ice axe. My lungs start feeling the altitude but the vertical snow wall opposite to us increases the adrenaline and it motivates me.

Fabian and me are tied by a rope and he is the one who opens the trail. The germans though, are in a three-member roped teams. In spite of our slow pace, we start passing the first groups. At 5500 meters we face up to a delicate passage we need to climb. At 1000 meters it would be like a walk in the park, here however, I have the impression that we need twice or three times more strength. We keep on going when the legs of the german alpinist ahead of me, start showing signs of incoordination.

Unless he has drunk some spirits for breakfast, he has a problem!

It’s 3:30 a.m. and I am not precisely full of energy, my pace slowed down considerably. I ask Fabian the million-dollar question: “Is the summit very far?” And his answer defeats me. “Extremely far, at this pace around 5 hours, we are at 5600 meters”. At that right moment I understand I will not reach the summit. Despite Fabian encourages me to go on 100 meters higher, I feel worse and the swinging legs of the german alpinist make me reconsider the situation, I need to save energy for the downhill. Regardless Fabian’s advice to the other group about the physical situation of the german alpinist, they decide to continue.

On the contrary, having met my limits, I decide to stop and start the descent, which is often more difficult and risky, therefore, I will need to be concentrated and energetic, as much as I can. My legs are fine but my body and my head do not react properly. I am the first giving up the ascent but with the impress of having taken the proper decision. Now I am the first of the roped team, in case I fall down, Fabian will hold me.

Climbing down the slope we cross the other alpinists we passed before. Slowly and with a suffering face, they continue climbing up alongside the ridge. My situation gets worse and I need to stop every 30 meters. The problem comes from my lungs, I can’t breathe properly!

“Fabian, is this normal?”, and he answers: “You might have a pulmonary oedema, although I don’t think as you don’t cough”. And I think: “La chuta, la concha su madre y la maraca culea ( every kind of South American swear words, basically, Holly shit), I hope this is not happening”. Let’s keep calm, breathe deeply and continue going down. My legs do not coordinate as they should, I have nausea, stomach-ache and I feel as if I were completely drunk.

Time to take off the crampons. What it should be easier, becomes more complex. It starts snowing and is very foggy. I hope the other alpinists are ok. The guides are talking to each other via walkies. Even though I can’t barely understand the conversation, I notice that many of them relinquish going to the summit. Their torches trace the downhill lights trail.

Yes, it was high time to reach the second refuge, we are at 5050 m. Less than 1 km is left to lie on the bed. Nevertheless, I have never experienced such a long kilometre, this is endless, every 20 meters I need to stop in order to recover my breathe. In the end, we arrive our refuge, I am glad for having stopped the ascent in time, the descent was worse than I could have imagined.

How tiny we are in comparison with the power of the mountain and the nature!

From 13 climbers, 4 reached the summit. Congratulations!

I have not reached the summit and the downhill was a bit of a nightmare, but the experience was worthwhile, it was amazing! I have known  the most beautiful starry night, the power of the mountain and the weakness of the body and the mind, and of course, I have known myself a bit more.

Yupaychani Fabian ( Thank you very much)

 

Isaak Elduaien
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