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  Carlos Pauner: GOING BACK HOME 


Copyright© Billy Pierson

In the Himalayas everything changes, in occasions with the speed of vertigo.  Yesterday we had taken off to look for the glory of Gasherbrum and today we are making up the luggage to go back home.  What happened?  The worst that could happen, just that thing that has no remedy.  Death has thrown its black shroud over these snowy landscapes.  The group of Germans who were a day ahead of us suffered a terrible tragedy.  The fresh accumulated snow and the general bad weather started off the accident.  The route fell on them, in the form of thousands and thousands of tons of snow, sweeping all the members to hell and wounding some of them.  Among them, Hiro, and old acquaintance, with whom I had the fortune and honor to climb Gasherbrum I a few years ago.  Now he struggles between life and death on the way to base camp.

Those who come back from above tell of the horror they lived, the danger in the high terrain and renounce to keep climbing.  I talk with my people.  I think that experience backs me and I know when it is time to risk and when it is not time to do it.  I look at the final part of the mountain.  Hundreds of meters of unstable snow remain above, the forecast points to a week of bad weather, base camp is almost desolated.  I have no doubts.  I will not risk my life, or the lives of my people in a suicidal attack with null chances of success.  In normal conditions, GII is not a complicated eight-thousand.  In fact it is constantly climbed.  This year it is still virgin.  It is clear.  It is not a good season.  We have not lost anything, just some days after the summit of Broad Peak and we were very lucky.  We are still alive.  We go back home, to reunite with ours, to celebrate the summit of an eight-thousand, to celebrate that we can still breathe, dream and climb mountains.  I just hope that my Japanese friend saves his life, that he holds on as he has done so far and that this mountain doesn’t take away the life of this brave warrior.  There will be a pending battle here, in the Karakorum.  But, it won’t be held now.

Carlos Pauner

 

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