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Dhaulagiri: Ochoa, Stangl, Vallejo third summit bid aborted
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May 12, 2005 13: 14 EST
Iñaki Ochoa de Olza, Ivan Vallejo and Christian Stangl made a third attempt on Dhaulagiri earlier this morning. After a few run-ins with covered crevasses and avalanches, the climbers decided that the summit would have to wait for another time.

The trio hoped to take advantage of what they thought was an improvement in the weather, although it didn’t last for long.

It seemed like a good idea up to Camp 1

Everything went well up to Camp 1. From that point though, snow conditions proved extremely dangerous. The avalanche risk was high and crevasses were hidden- both the old ones, and some new cracks that opened in the last few days.

Christian broke through a thin crust of hardened snow, causing an avalanche which luckily didn’t engulf him. According to Iñaki, “turning back was more dangerous that going on, and that’s what we did.”

Not such a good idea after all

However, minutes later Iñaki fell to his waist in a covered crevasse. Christian and Ivan ran to help and hauled Iñaki up. After that, they all agreed to run back down to BC. The weather quickly worsened during the descent, with heavy snow and strong winds.

Back in BC, Iñaki and his teammates are discussing their options and trying to keep their spirits up while they wait for better weather.

The climbers had delayed this summit bid for two days due to high wind. Previously, Iñaki Ochoa de Olza and Christian Stangl had aimed for a non-stop summit attempt on May 4th. Their first summit push was aborted just a few hours before.

Italians Romano Benet, Nives Meroi, Luca Vuerich, Mario Cedolin, Erri De Luca, Cesare Giuliani, and Roberto Allo; Slovenian Klemen Gricar, Austrian Christan Stangl, German Peter Guggemos, Spaniard Inaki Ochoa, and Ecuadorian Ivan Vallejo are currently climbing Dhaulagiri. Most of them will head for Annapurna immediately afterwards.

Iñaki Ochoa de Olza (born in Pamplona, Spain, 1967) is currently involved in completing the 14 8000+ m peaks, having already summited nine of them: Cho Oyu three times (1993, 2001, and 2004), K2 (2004), Makalu (2004), GI (1996), GII (1996), Lhotse (1999), Everest (2001), Nanga Parbat (2003), and Broad Peak (2003). He has also summited Shisha Pangma Central (1995).

Ivan Vallejo was born in Ambato, Ecuador, on December 19, 1959. His first summit was Chimborazo, the highest peak in Ecuador, in 1978. He soon went for higher mountains in the Himalaya. He is currently involved in the goal of summiting the ‘Fourteen’ 8000ers without supplementary oxygen. Up to now, he has summited ten of them, including Everest twice and K2.

Image of Ivan Vallejo beside a broken section of the snow surface which had caused an avalanche, courtesy of Iñaki Ochoa de Olza / Lorpen-Diario de Navarra expedition.
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