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Carlos Soria's Makalu expedition aborted before it started
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Apr 21, 2005 14: 52 EST
“This is frustrating,” vents Spaniard Carlos Soria, currently at home in Madrid. He should be in Makalu’s BC by now. Days before leaving, he was rock climbing at sunny Penon de Ifach, by the Mediterranean Sea. He knew the route so well, he never thought he could fall.

Slipped disk

“The fall itself was not so serious. It was an overhanging section, so I cleanly fell about eight meters and hanged from the rope without hitting the wall. Problems came later: I suffered from a slipped disk. Every time I start walking, I’ve got this pain all over my hip and leg!”

“I’ve been to several doctors and physiotherapists. I even underwent acupuncture sessions, but I haven’t recovered yet. Docs tell me to be patient, but that’s precisely what I don’t want to be.”

This was supposed to be my year

“This was my best year: I was fit, well trained and had plenty of time! Now my dream of climbing Makalu is gone and I am not sure if I will be able to go on expeditions this summer.”

His climbing-mate Tente Lagunilla is already on the mountain, climbing via the normal route along with a good friend from his home town, and two Basque climbers. The irony is that Carlos was the expedition leader, and the one who first proposed Makalu and encouraged the rest of the team to follow him.

Ready to face the Maoists

Carlos had been one of the few climbers taking advantage of Makalu’s reduced fees this year. When Nepal’s political situation worsened, causing some teams to cancel their plans, he was the first to raise his voice and declare that no guerrilla or political situation was going to prevent him from climbing.

“I'm going anyway,” he told ExplorersWeb back then. “I know things are far from great in Nepal, but I don’t consider the situation dangerous to foreigners. We are flying to Kathmandu on April 2 and we will follow our plans unless they prove impossible. As for Makalu, we know that we are crossing Maoist territories, but I'm not afraid. We'll talk to them and pay their ‘particular fee’.”

Broad Peak and GI, back permitting

Just in case, Carlos has made some juicy plans for the Karakorum season:

”If I recover in time, I will climb Broad Peak and Gasherbrum I.” I can organize the expedition in two days, so I am still on time. My concern is not recovering for months. That would be a real mess for me.”

Well, the mountains aren't going anywhere… But time flies for the veteran climber.

“Next year I’ll be one year older… that’s 66! I don’t know when I’m going to loose the motivation to climb in the Himalaya. However I don’t want to think much about it. Let’s see how my back heals, and what the next doctor has to say.”

Despite the pain, Carlos doesn’t just sit around and wait to get better. He keeps on training everyday. “I go for a bicycle ride every day, it is the only exercise I can do without pain, so I am using the bike as my only way right now to keep fit.”

Veteran Spanish climber, 65 years old, Carlos summited K2 last summer, through the Abruzzi Spur, becoming the eldest summiteer of K2. He was going to attempt Makalu this spring without supplementary O2.

Carlos Soria told Explorersweb that he will keep climbing as long as his legs will carry him.

Image of Carlos on K2 last year, courtesy of Carlos Soria




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