Fernando Gonzalez-Rubio Broad Peak Summit report
We reached the summit of Broad Peak!! Two years ago on the same date I was on the summit of Nanga Parbat; July 20 is full of meanings to me. We are already at base camp and when we see the impressive dimension of this mountain we see it with humbleness, thankfulness and satisfaction.
Friendship acquires a new value on the mountains. The intense moments that are lived here, where life is so fragile, are enjoyed with the most intense satisfaction when you are in the company of a friend; they are instants that will remain craved in my memory.
This happy story developed among the sadness of other stories. During our ascent we met a group of Austrians whose mission was not to reach the summit but to recover the dead body of a climber named Markus. His brother Georg organized this rescue. He wanted to give his family the relief of having a funeral with the presence of the body, besides not being of the idea of leaving his brother for all the other climbers to see while they are looking for the summit of Broad Peak.
We were witnesses of this hard rescue job while we were looking for the summit of this mountain.
We left on July 18 on our second attempt. It was Carlos Soria, Sito, Rafa, Hernan and I. We reached camp 2 in one day, where we spent a calm night. Our teammate Rafa did not have a good night and he was not feeling well the next day. This lead him to take the decision of quitting his attempt and to become part of the support for our descent. The rest of us left to camp 3 on July 19. Hernan was celebrating the birthday of his daughter Valentina climbing with happiness. We reached camp 3 after a hard journey opening the trail. At 7 PM we had everything ready to leave at midnight for the summit. Besides us there were two other teams willing to open the trail; and some climbers that only walk on it when it is already open. When midnight came we left and after a while we were like a caterpillar with glowing legs looking for the Col. Daylight began to show at 4:30 in the morning and the Col was still far. We were disorganized and there was not a job of evident advance. I only listened to negative comments around me, of people who complained but did not react. We were about 30 climbers and the block was slow. I managed to organize the people around me who were together but divided among the crowd and we could advance ahead of the line, these three teams: “Al filo de lo imposible”, the Basque team and us. We could reach the Col in a short time, we hydrated and with no pause we continued over the ridge that leads to the summit. We covered sectors on the ridge that are made of rock with thousands of meters to one side and the other; we found some old lines that only lead us the way because they were not safe to use.
Between the wind and the clouds that passed by like hugging us in the middle of the way, we reached the secondary summit. We continued without stopping over a ridge that changed in size; in some parts it was narrow, in other it was wide, marking the path as if into the sky up to the main summit. Suddenly, on a rock to one side there was the body of Markus. I had forgotten about him; his story came to my mind. This trip above eight thousand meters during 45 minutes was eternal; finally, in the horizon, the highest point was seen. We got there among a lot of clouds and wind; it was cold, happiness flowed from our eyes in the form of tears. We were on the summit of Broad Peak at 8,047 meters. What a joy! I thanked life, God and my Angels.
The minutes Hernan and I had on that summit together will bind us for life in a friendship that was generated on the mountains. It is his first eight-thousand and his first attempt of an eight-thousand. We shared the moment with Carlos Soria, a living legend of mountain climbing. His example of perseverance and of being a conqueror of his own summits is admirable. With his 68 years old he is still dreaming.
I contacted Colombia, with my Cafam team and with my family, who would now make company during the descent. We were witnesses of the rescue of Markus’ body. I felt I was facing a beautiful and humane gesture; a real achievement of life. Our achievement is sportive, the achievement of those people is full of humanity. I hope my project breeds ideals full of humanity and that it can contribute to be better human beings.
We left towards camp 3. We descended to the Col, very exhausted, and we stopped to hydrate, to recover strength and then we continued descending. I felt the path was endless, the colors of disk filled me with motivation. The light was gone and luckily it was not long before we were in camp 3. We had been walking for 20 hours since we left from camp 3 for the summit and back. 20 hours of effort giving the best of us to reach the summit facing a wind of 40 kilometers per hour and some 15 degrees Celsius below zero. We spent the night drinking water. The wind was strong the next morning; we packed up our equipment, we had a little breakfast and picked up the camp. We descended loaded with all our equipment until we reached base camp, where we celebrated and we were greeted by our staff.
I am very thankful to CAFAM for making my dreams possible, to my collaborators, family and friends for all the support I had. The project “Colombia en las cimas del mundo” (“Colombia on the summits of the world”) managed to fulfill this schedule and is preparing to conquer new summits.
Cafam-Broad Peak Expedition 2007
Colombia on the summits of the world
Translated form Spanish by Jorge Rivera
Autor: Fernando Gonzalez-Rubio
Further information at: http://www.everestnews.com/pak2007/fernbp07272007.htm