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Shisha Pangma British route debrief: Ivan Vallejo's perfect 10
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Nov 12, 2004 10: 32 EST
Published on Nov 11, 2004

After his successful climb on Shisha Pangma, first thing Ivan Vallejo did back in Kathmandu was to write a debrief on his climb. Now back in Ecuador, Ivan’s climbing-mate Santiago Sagaste has returned to Spain. They’ve sent over some pictures to illustrate the story of a remarkable alpine climb - number ten in Ivan’s quest for the 14, 8000ers:

Climbing meter by meter

“On Tuesday, October 12, at 1:30 am, we were relieved to reach the safety of Advanced Base Camp. We reached it after a day and a half of focused descent, climbing meter by meter, after summiting Shisha.

This was the most technically demanding climb I’ve ever accomplished in the Himalayas. And here’s why:

Pure Alpine style

We climbed in pure alpine style: not one fixed camp, not a meter of fixed rope. From October 8, when Santiago and I started the climb at 5800m, we advanced on unknown territory. Each step we took, each pitch was a discovery.

We crawled on our fours

In the entire three days we needed to get to the summit, we crawled on our fours, over snow and ice slopes between 65 and 70 degrees steep.

Because we were climbing in alpine style, we had to carry all our gear and supplies with us: tent, stove, gas, food, mattress, sleeping bag, down suit, cameras, etc. In other words, we were fucked up, overloaded - in sheer pain from the climb and the lack of a flat patch to lean on.

We moved like apes

Shisha Pangma is an 8000er and the extreme altitude made things even worse. We moved like apes, but felt like loaded camels in Pushkar.

We barely held by the iron points of our crampons and ice-axes: Above 7000m, that’s plain suffering. Not that I am complaining; it was our decision, me and Santi’s, to face the climb that way.

One of my greatest memories of Himalaya

Mix all the mentioned ingredients, and you’ll get an unforgettable cocktail. That’s why I’m now taking back with me one of my greatest memories of Himalaya. That is also why I must thank Shisha Pangma first, for her generosity to simply let us climb her.”

Ivan Vallejo (Ecuador) and Santiago Sagaste (Spain) reached the summit of Shisha Pangma Main at 13:10 pm on October 10, 2004. They climbed the British route on the south side of the mountain. Vallejo plans to climb the 14, 8000ers. Next target is Kangchenjunga in Spring 2005.

Iván Vallejo was born in Ambato, Ecuador, on December 19, 1959. His first summit was Chimborazo, the Highest peak in Ecuador, in 1978. He summited Everest in 1999, and since that moment decided he wanted to go for all the ‘Fourteen’.

Shisha Pangma’s British Route was first climbed in alpine Style by R.Baxter-Jones, A. McIntyre and Doug Scout in May 1982. Climbers descended through the SE Ridge

Images courtesy of Ivan Vallejo show Santiago and Ivan (1), on the way to the fist bivouaq (2) summit picture - sorry for the glove on the lens J(3) exhausted back in ABC – Oriol, Santi, Iván and Ramón -,safely back in BC (5)and with Ecuador’s flag with Shisha in the background(6).
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