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  Climbers Huisa and Lopez crown McKinley and add another summit to their "Seven Summit" project 


 

The Andalucia-America 2005 Expedition, which is sponsored by the Junta (of the City of Andalucia), achieves their first challenge of the year and wait for the next ascent to Aconcagua

 

Climbers Juan Antonio Huisa and Pedro Lopez added the fifth summit to the Andalucian "Seven Summits" project after crowning Mount McKinley (6,194m) in Alaska.  The ascent to this summit was done during the Andalucia-America 2005 Expedition, which is sponsored by Consejería de Turismo, Comercio y Deporte and that also includes the ascent to Aconcagua (6,962 meters) this year, in Argentina.

 

The two Sevillan climbers in their new adventure on the North American continent have reached to the summit on their second attempt at 10:30, Spain time, after having been 10 days above 5,000 meters and withstanding seven consecutive days of storm.  According to what they said from the summit, "it has been very hard, we are exhausted but happy to go back with our work done".

 

Besides the extreme weather, with temperatures between -35º and -40º Celsius, one of the main difficulties of McKinley - also known as Delani ("the biggest") by the Eskimo natives - is that this is the mountain with the largest altitude difference in the world (4,000 meters).  Another inconvenience the climbers had was the weight of their loads, between 50-60 kilos.

 

Huisa and López ascended with other 150 climbers from Spain and other countries, although they were the only ones that could withstand all the days of the storm in a high altitude camp.  "Our presence was very notable.  We were told that in inferior camps they said that there were two Sevillans that had been high on the mountain for a long time.  We were the only ones who could withstand the seven days", they explained.

 

Consejería de Turismo, Comercio y Deporte is the main sponsor in this expedition, supporting with 50,000 euros which, added to the support that has been given in previous occasions, sum 119,000 euros in three years.  Along with Consejería, other sponsors are the City of Sevilla, municipal companies, Andalucia's Radio and Television (RTVA) and Merkamueble, among others.

 

The fifth summit

 

The Andalucian climbers reached the summit of Kilimanjaro in December 2002 and then Mount Kosciusko and Elbrus; while last year they crossed the equator of the Andalucian Seven Summits project crowning Mount Vinson in Antarctica.  After the Andalucia-America 2005 Expedition, which includes McKinley, -the fifth crowned summit- and Aconcagua, their last challenge will be ascending Everest.

 

The Seven Summits project is based on crowning the highest peak of each continent - dividing America in two - and is made by Everest (Nepal, Asia), Aconcagua (Argentina, South America), McKinley (Alaska, North America), Mount Kosciusko / Cartenz Pyramid (Australia / Indonesia, Oceania); Mount Vinson (Antarctica), Elbrus (Russia, Europe) and Kilimanjaro (Tanzania, Africa).

 

The first climbers who could finish the Seven Summit projects were Dick Bass and Frank Wells, from North America, who finished their seventh summit climbing Everest in 1985.  So far, four Spanish climbers have been able to complete the project with success, but this would be the firsts time that it is done by a team of Andalucian climbers.

 

18/06/2005

 

Translated from Spanish by Jorge Rivera

 

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