"Mountaineering is a tough sport"

Cristian González

11 November, 2009

Edurne Pasaban can go down in history as the first woman to crown the fourteen peaks of more than eight thousand meters on the planet. Everest, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Lhotse, Gasherbrum I and II, K2, Nanga Parbat, Broad Peak, Dhaulgin, Manaslu and Kangchenjunga are already at their feet. Soon the Sisha Pangma will climb and then only Annapurna I. will be subtracted.

Edurne Pasaban (Tolosa, 1975), mountaineer, industrial technical engineer and successful restaurateur receive us at the facilities of the CAR of Sant Cugat, where he trains to face ascension to Sisha Pangma, the penultimate obstacle to overcome in the Your personal path to glory. He will make every effort to achieve it, although he has to go through bad times as when he climbed the K2 and lost two fingers, one from each foot.

Have you ever considered the risks involved in being a mountaineer?
And so much, I think about it, very often, but nowadays the risk exists in many other places, although it is true that we have more possibilities than other people. Just that when you do an activity that is passionate about you, all this overcomes you.

It is said that mountaineering can lead to small brain injuries that end up being chronic ...
At the moment I have not noticed anything. Perhaps it is true, but it is also true, and I have lived very close to it, that there are people who are very stressed that they have health problems because of work, and not in the mountains. That's why I do not know if the mountain affects, but I do not care about anything. I feel free, at peace with myself and with the environment and the people who accompany me. I am sure that all this is not bad for physical and mental health.

Does it make you obsessed with the fact that someone gets up in the challenge of being the first woman to make the fourteen peaks of more than eight thousand meters?
No, I'm not obsessed, because I'm doing my own career. If I want to climb the fourteen peaks it's just because it's a project of mine and I enjoy it. I think that the rivalry between Gerline, Nives and I are created by the press and circumstances. We are three of them and a Korean climber who are in the fight to reach the fourteen peaks of eight thousand meters, and I suppose it is a very media story. Everything begins to resemble that rivalry that Scott and Amudsen had for being the first to conquer the South Pole. The big difference is that we are good friends and there is no rivalry, although it is true that we would all like to be the first. At least those of us Europeans do not lose common sense to reach the record. It would be dangerous

When you have reached your challenge, will you set new goals?
I will consider other things. I do not think that anything ends, I will surely have to make another type of challenge, that there are many, in this life, and very different. I would like to continue linked to the world of adventure and film other types of documentaries. I also like the business world, I enjoy offering conferences to executives of large companies, to which I can convey experiences. I will also continue to work with the people of Nepal and Pakistan through the foundation. I am currently creating a management company to help other athletes.

Do you see in an office?
I do not think that I can never get rid of the mountain, although once the challenge of the fourteen eight thousand is over, surely interesting projects will emerge.

Do you have any project in mind?
At the moment I have nothing more in mind than to finish the challenge of the fourteen. Perhaps when it's over, if everything is going well next spring in Annapurna, I'll consider the idea of ​​returning to Everest, which was the only eight thousand I've risen with oxygen. But now I prefer not to think about it, because I am focusing on the next expedition to the Shisha Pangma, which is already released: the 7 in September.

Which of the eight thousand you have done up to now has been the one that cost you the most?
All eight thousand are difficult. Mountains of these characteristics are always tough, but perhaps the most complicated ones in my entire career have been K2, 8.612 meters, 2004 summer in Pakistan, and Kanchenjunga, from 8.586 meters, in Nepal. They are the second and third tallest mountains on the planet and in both cases the descent was difficult.

Have you experienced limit situations?
At K2 I suffered a lot from the decline, and I could say that I was at the limits of tiredness, like Kanchenjunga. Both are mountains with very complicated routes and techniques in the summit attack. In both of these I reached the peak too late, after the 16 hours, and this is dangerous because the night will pull you on during the descent and exhaustion and the cold become more intense than ever. The experiences at K2 and Kanchenjunga have made me stronger.

The last meters of ascension must be emotive and exhausting ...
Yes, but they are the prettiest ones. The last meters, when you see the summit at your fingertips or a companion that is already there, are the best moments. It is when all the work, training and enthusiasm make sense. Once upon a time, there is only time to embrace colleagues and take pictures, because there is still the most important thing on the way, the return home. In fact, it is considered that eight thousand do not belong to you until you have reached the base camp. Until then, you belong to him.

Mountaineering is a world of men?
It is true that mountaineering is a masculine world, it is a very hard sport and priori men have a more appropriate nature and genetics for the mountain, as well as certain cultural factors that are fortunately changing over the years, since each There are more women on the mountain practicing mountaineering.

Do you think that because of being a woman, the media makes a positive discrimination?
I do not think it's because of being a woman. The media make positive discrimination due to the fact that something that never before had happened could happen: the first woman who will finish the fourteen eight thousand. It is true that the fourteen eight thousand women is a record for history, as was the conquest of the South Pole for many years. Few adventure records remain to be achieved at present, at least as mediatic as this one, with four women challenging the challenge of fourteen thousand.

It is said that teamwork is fundamental in mountaineering. Because?
Because without a team we would not reach the peaks we make. A team consists of more people than one can think of. They are your companions of expedition, the Sherpas, the cooks and the carriers. All make up a team that makes it possible for some of us to reach the summit. Fortunately, I have a very strong and very united team and I think it is one of the keys to success.

With so many guys around and so many days of coexistence, there must be moments for everything ...
Yes, there are moments for everything, but these moments have to know how to scare very well. The good and the bad ones. The living conditions in a base camp are hard and the coexistence is very intense. That is why respect and friendship in the team is fundamental. If not, everything is much more difficult.

What did your family say to you when did you say that you wanted to be a mountaineer?
This does not happen in a single day, it is the work of many years and, like with the rest of the people, to the family you also have to show that you will manage to live on it.

Is it easy to live in this sport?
No. Absolutely not. It is very difficult. For many years I have paid all the expeditions, material and travel in my pocket. It's a very expensive sport and until last year, when I had done eight thousand new ones, I did not find good sponsors who trust in my project.

Can anyone mountaineering?
First you should like it, because the effort and commitment you need are very large. If there is no passion, it will be impossible, but if there is one, many hours of practice and training will be required.

What is your day to day?
In the morning I train for three hours, and after completing the office work, in the afternoon I spend two hours in training, although there are some days that I have commitments and I have to travel.

Very personal questions

A city to live in? Barcelona and San Sebastián
A place to go on a trip? Nepal
A plate The paste
A book to read? Men who did not love women, by Stieg Larsson.
A movie movie? Gladiator
A means to be informed? Press and the Internet
Sea or mountain? The two at different times
A singer or musical group? Beniton Lertxundi
What historical character would you like to know? Ghandi
A current character? Barack Obama
A sportsman who admires Pep Guardiola
What values ​​more people? Sincerity
If one day he was the president of the Government or the UN, what first decision would he take? It would try to protect children under any circumstances
Straight or Left? Left handed
What would happen to a desert island? Books.
A confessable desire? Be mother

the author

Cristian González

Graduate in Journalism (UPF), Graduate in Contemporary History (UB), Master in Business Communication Specialization in Digital Technologies (UPF).

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