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Inurrategi, Vallejo and Zabalza: "We climbed to the very limit of our strength"

Posted: Jul 28, 2014 04:18 pm EDT

(By Correne Coetzer) An exhausted Alberto Inurrategi, Juan Vallejo and Mikel Zabalza arrived back at Base Camp today at noon, after opening a route on the South Wall (6050m) of Paiju Peak. Vallejo has been dragging his backpack with a sore right arm, which may have a “hairline fracture” after a rock the size of a medium microwave oven fell on him, their home team reported to ExWeb.  


The men spent 10 days BC to BC. Every day they were active for 10-12 hours with the highly technical and “frightening" climb up the 1000m vertical rock wall. Here go their report (Google translated from Spanish):


Zabalza: ”Technically the route has been very hard and we found difficulties in artificial climbing up 3, free to 6b and m5 mixed up. This tower has the distinction of having a downhill component, for access, for his final and continuing dangers of falling ice and sometimes stones. So I say that the way that I've opened, this has been the hardest by far, difficult and the Alpine component: to reach the summit of the tower, which is very alpine too, there is a very long alpine ridge to commit to."


One of those moments of danger surprised the team on Saturday [26th], when they reached the top of the pillar, a block of granite came down and hit Juan Vallejo's left shoulder. Feared the worst, but the victory is "like granite," said Zabala and painkillers and anti-inflammatory from the emergency medicine kit were in the hammock camp and helped a little. Vallejo were not able to last the long climb to the top of the tower with the snow and extremely vertical and fine edge. 


Beyond this summit, Zabalza and Iñurrategi realized that sometimes reality can be very different from what you imagine. After a difficult ridge were a barrier of seracs, falling chunks of ice continuously prevent access to the summit (6,610) of Paiju Peak from that side. Zabalza sum it up in these words, "It would have been suicide" and absurd from the point of view of a mountaineer. 


"The feeling with which we have been has been very pleasant because the truth is that the climb took a lot out of us in every way, physically and psychologically. We climbed to the very limit, the limit of our strength. We have rested almost nothing during the entire expedition and have come to BC with our last breath,” said Alberto Iñurrategi. 


They are at Base Camp, at 3,400 m with the cameraman David Maeztu, who has gone up and down countless times on the 1,800 meters vertical drop of infernal quarry for recording equipment, charging batteries, helping them portage equipment and had breakfast with them this morning at Camp1, tortilla chips, before lowering the entire load to BC. Tomorrow we will send video images, which, he says, are spectacular. END


No further details of the route.


Watch their video reports here.



WOPeak Expedition, with Basque/Spanish mountaineers, Alberto Iñurrategi, Juan Vallejo and Mikel Zabalza, is on a mission to climb three peaks consecutively, Paiju Peak (BC at 3,400 m, South Wall and summit at 6,610 m), the Jannu and Cho Oyu in the Karakoram and the Himalayas; climbing new routes or routes almost never repeated. 


David Maeztu is the cameraman on the 2014 WOPeak Expedition.


Since 2009, when Alberto Iñurrategi, Juan Vallejo and Mikel Zabalza ascended Makalu in alpine style, the trio is inseparable. Among their expeditions: Everest Hornbein, Broad Peak, Greenland (kite-ski), Antarctica (kite-ski crossing) and Nuptse.





Inurrategi, Vallejo and Zabalza opened South Tower on Paiju Peak


Paiju Peak: Inurrategi, Vallejo and Zabalza on technical Big Wall


Paiju Peak update: Vertical wall in poor condition - updated


K2 Summits Day 2 (Updated)


K2 SUMMITs! (Update-2)


K2 Summit bid - Time for the Ultimate Push


Broad Peak: The Summit-Bid Updates | Update-2


K2 Heads Up - Summit Push is ON


Towards Summit on Broad Peak, K2 and GII


Exweb Interview with Samuli Mansikka | "We might see many summits this year on K2, or then not. This is the magic of K2."


All Set for Summit Push on K2 and Broad Peak


Another Summit Attempt on Broad Peak, Struggle Continues on K2 (Updated)


Broad Peak: Summit Push Time


ExWeb interview with K2 summiteer, Fabrice Imparato


Summer 2014: Acclimatization and Setting up Higher Camps


K2 Base Camp, Broad Peak C1 and Political Unrest


K2 2014: Adrian Hayes talks to ExWeb from Pakistan


ACP list of 2014 Summer Karakoram climbing expeditions


An Eight-Thousander for Acclimatization, BC Trek and Change in Rules


K2's 60th Anniversary, Nanga Parbat in Solitude and 4 Gasherbrums


WOPeak Website 

WOPeak on Facebook

WOPeak Twitter

WOPeak on YouTube 

WOPeak on Vimeo

BAT Basque team on Facebook



#mountaineering #Inurrategi #Vallejo #Zabalza #paijupeak "Iñurrategi"






Zabalza climbing the last long stretch before the edge of the Wall. (click to enlarge)
courtesy WOPeak Expedition 2014, SOURCE
Zabalza technical climbing.
courtesy WOPeak Expedition 2014, SOURCE
Alberto Inurrategi on top of the Tower
courtesy WOPeak Expedition 2014, SOURCE
Vallejo and Zabalza and hammocks / campsites on the Wall.
courtesy WOPeak Expedition 2014, SOURCE
Injured Juan Vallejo dragging his gear on the glacier to C1.
courtesy WOPeak Expedition 2014 / David Maeztu , SOURCE
Alberto Inurrategi, Juan Vallejo and Mikel Zabalza after descending Paiju Peak's South Wall, at Camp 1.
courtesy WOPeak Expedition 2014 / David Maeztu , SOURCE