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Mountains through factory smoke: 'Left shore' to Cho Oyu and Shisha Pangma
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Feb 23, 2005 17: 24 EST
A Basque (Spanish) expedition will attempt Cho Oyu and Shisha Pangma this spring. Leaving Spain on April 3, they’ll spend 30 days climbing Cho Oyu through the normal route. Afterwards, they’ll attempt Shisha’s South Face, climbing the British route in alpine style.

Representing the "left side"

The name of the expedition is “Ezkerraldea Expedizioa,” which means “left shore expedition” in the Basque language. The team members are representing their hometown; the left shore of Bilbao Estuary.

From chimney tops to mountaintops

While some of the best climbers in Spain are Basque (Juan Oiarzabal and Alberto Iñurrategi both have 14 8000ers bagged), the industrial area of Bilbao’s left shore, with its chimneys and factories, has not inspired many mountaineers.

However, it has given Jordi Estanyol, Luis Basarrate, Iñaki Fernandez and Rodolfo Gento enough inspiration to attempt this challenging doubleheader. And they have the background to do it: The team members have previous experience climbing on G-II, Broad Peak, Lenin, Aconcagua, Alpamayo and Daulaguiri.

Whoops!

Last year, the team had a frustrating experience on Dhaulagiri. After working hard on the route, along with an Argentinean team, they were about to launch their summit bid. The plan was to set a tent in Camp 3, rest a few hours, and then go straight for the summit. But one of the climbers lost the tent’s poles on the way up.

He sat down to open his backpack and the poles fell out, sliding down the slope and into a crevasse. Unable to set the tent and without a place to rest in Camp 3, they had no choice but to turn around. Lacking time for another attempt, that was the end of the expedition.

Next time, tie them tighter

“It was like a movie, we couldn’t believe something like that was happening to us,” Rodolfo Gento said. On mountains like Everest, where there are many tents and climbers in all camps, these kinds of problems can be easily solved. But on Dhaulagiri, the Basque and Argentinean teams were alone on the peak. “What we are sure of is that we have learned the lesson, and we will always carry the tent’s poles properly fixed to the backpack.”

Image of team members on Dhaulagiri in 2004, courtesy of the expedition
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