Successful Season for Spanish Alpinistas

Posted on: October 22, 2010


The Spanish Women's National Alpine Climbing Team completed a total of five first ascents in the summer of 2010 in the West Pyrenees and the Karakoram. From left to right: Maria Asuncion Yanguas Quesada, 33; Maider Fraile Arce, 33; Miriam Marco Sanchez, 29; and Maialen Ojer Tsakiridu, 39. [Photo] Patty G. Trespando de FEDME

The Spanish National Women's Alpine Climbing Team found success this summer in the West Pyrenees and the Karakoram, completing a total of five first ascents.

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The four-woman team spent a year planning and training for their expedition to the Karakoram, and came together at the beginning of July in the West Pyrenees to make final preparations. They climbed existing routes the first four days, and then on July 10 the team spent twelve hours establishing a new line up the north pillar of Balaitous (3144 m). The 400-meter, 8-pitch climb is rated 5.11a, and is named El Ultimo Alpinista (The Last Climber) in honor of Daniel Crespo, a Spanish climber who died days earlier in a Peruvian avalanche. The group left only five pitons behind to attest their route, adhering to the minimalist style they would use in Pakistan. The next day they moved to the south wall where they opened another new route, El Intelectual (The Intellectual) (250m 5.10d), using the same minimalist style.

On July 25, the team, team director and four other support members arrived in the Hushe valley of Pakistan. They spent a week in a local community acclimatizing, and then were ready for their first new climb in the Karakoram. At 1a.m on July 31, they began a technical approach, jumaring to a 330-meter wall of granite. They climbed the wall in five pitches, and named their route Ladies First (850 m 5.11b 5.10d obligatory).

The first FA the team completed in the Karakoram is named Ladies First (850 m 5.11b 5.10d obligatory), and includes five enjoyable but technical pitches and a tricky approach. [Photo] Patty G. Trespando de FEDME

Shifting their sights to a longer route, on August 2 they began a two-day ascent to a summit known locally as Baush-ul Peak (5610 m). They established their first camp at 4550 meters following a 1400-meter day, continuing another 1100 meters on a 45-degree slope the next morning. They called their route "Spanish System (very good system)" (1100m AD). The panorama from the summit included views of K2, Chogolisa, Broad Peak, and K7. Also in view was Sebas Tower, their next and most ambitious goal of the trip.

On August 13, the team, accompanied by the director and one other female climber, began their ascent of the northeast ridge of Sebas Tower (5860 m). They climbed through the dark on faceted snow, placing screws where they could. Dawn brought only thick fog, and they relied on the rock walls that bordered the ridge to navigate them towards the summit. After 19 hours of continuous climbing, they reached the coffee-tabled sized summit and dedicated their climb to Vanessa Addison, who was killed in an avalanche last winter while climbing with the Spanish Mountain Sports Federation. They named their route Cumbre Monzonica (Monsoon Summit), and rated it D+: IV 75 degrees.

The team launched their bid to the summit of Sebas Tower (5860 m) from their camp at 4900 m. The 19-hour climb primarily followed the ridge to the left of the summit. [Photo] Patty G. Trespando de FEDME

Sources: "Proyecto Karakorum. Mujer, Deporte, Integracion, agosto 2010," Report by La Federacion Espanola de Deportes de Montana y Escalada (FEDME)
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