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Iñaki Ochoa heading for Shisha Pangma, Dhaulagiri and Annapurna this spring
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Feb 3, 2005 10: 28 EST

A triple header is up this spring for Inaki, although he said “I am not in a hurry," in a press conference two days ago, "I don’t want just to run and tick mountains from a list.” In an interview with ExWeb yesterday, Inaki explained how he can rush without hurrying.

Soloing Shisha Pangma

On February 17 the Spaniard is flying to Nepal. “That is, if the country is not shut down, having in mind the current political events there," and will immediately go to Tibet. The target is soloing Shisha Pangma. “I wish I could have gone earlier, but Tibet is closed until March 1st, due to some local festivities.”

Off-season climbs to Shisha Pangma seem to be the latest climbing trend. “It is not a sudden impulse. I applied for the permit on November, 2004” Iñaki said. “Afterwards, Simone told me he was going, and invited me to join the team, but I declined as I am not so interested in fixing ropes on the south face.”

Ochoa is going from the North side of the mountain instead. “Once there, I’ll climb the normal route or any other, depending on the snow conditions.”

About the climb, Iñaki reckons “it is not going to be easy, but I think I have enough possibilities of success to give it a try.” Except for a cook at BC, he’ll be alone on the mountain. “He does not even have crampons, so there is no choice he could help me. That’s how it is meant to be; that’s what solo climbing is about, after all.”

Winter controversy… again

During the press conference, Ochoa said that, in case of summiting, that would be the first solo winter climb to Shisha. Explorersweb series on winter climbs have proved that weather conditions improve remarkably from February 28 and therefore, we wouldn’t consider any summit past that date a ‘winter’ climb (See the Bad Chart series on the links section). Winter climbs by Simone Moro and Piotr Morawski were both accomplished in January or February.

On the other hand, Iñaki could summit before March 21which is technically within ‘calendar winter’. However, when asked on the subject by Exweb, he chose to wait until he summited:

“I am interested in this climb because it’s a solo ascent, most of all. Winter or not is not so important. In fact, I have not yet even got to Tibet. First of all, let’s see if I can get to the mountain and climb it. I could summit before or after March 21. Whatever happens, I’ll give my opinion when I am back to BC. Then I’ll say if I consider it a winter climb or not. And I don’t mind what anybody else thinks. I believe that, after summiting nine 8000ers, I am experienced enough to have a clear knowledge of the conditions.”

Joining Nives, Romano and Luca on Dhaulagiri and Annapurna

Shisha will be, in any case, just the first stage of his Himalayan tour. Afterwards he is joining a strong Italian team to attempt both Dhaulagiri and Annapurna.

His climbing mates will be Nives Meroi, Romano Benet, andñ Luca Vuerich, plus some other Italian climbers. The Italian trio accomplished a triple-header in 2003, summiting both Gasherbrums and Broad peak in the Karakorum. Last summer, they joined the huge Italian expedition to K2 and attempted the North side of the mountain, but weather conditions prevented them to launch a summit bid.

Stars gathering at Annapurna

Iñaki was planning to attempt Manaslu this year, switched to Dhaula “because it is closer to Annapurna, the next target. We will be sharing a permit with Ed Viesturs, and we will be working together on the route if we get to the mountain on time. Viesturs is climbing Cho Oyu before, and he has arranged to be airlifted from Cho Oyu BC all the way to Annapurna base on May 1.”

Another strong Italian team led by Silvio Mondinelli is attempting the same route to Annapurna as well. He has offered to join forces with Viesturs. If the American agrees, we will see an amazing group of high altitude celebrities putting siege on the evasive peak.

Bicycle and Kangchenjunga in 2006

Ochoa has concentrated all his 2005 expeditions in the pre-monsoon season. “I will need some months to prepare my next project: traveling by bicycle from home to Kangchenjunga – Eastern Nepal – and then climbing the mountain. I really look forward to covering that distance, which I miss every time I fly over in a plane on my travels to the Himalayas. Besides, I am raising funds through that trip for some humanitarian projects in Nepal. It is a way to correspond to all I have received there, and to apply the Buddist concept of ‘compassion’. There are plenty of things here that we should share.”

Iñaki Ochoa de Olza (born in Pamplona, Spain, 1967) is currently involved in completing the 14 8000+, having summited nine of then: 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).

His targeted peaks for 2005 are Shisha Pangma, Dhaulagiri and Annapurna

Image of Iñaki in summer 2004 on K2, courtesy of Navarra8000.com.

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