Soria Returns to Dhaulagiri for One Last Try

Thirteen has proven an unlucky number for Carlos Soria. With 12 of the world’s 14 8,000m peaks already accomplished, only Dhaulagiri and Shishapangma remain to complete the set. Dhaulagiri, in particular, has stubbornly resisted the Spanish mountaineer’s advances. This week, Soria returns to Dhaulagiri (8,167m) for a staggering 10th time.

Strong winds above Camp 3 thwarted Soria’s latest attempt on Dhaulagiri last May. Photo: Carlos Soria

Like a fine wine, Soria’s alpine career has aged impeccably. The Spaniard began his march towards completing the world’s 8,000m peaks in 1990, on Nanga Parbat. He summited a further 10 of them after turning 60.

Over the years, he has embodied persistence and perseverance. His seemingly eternal fitness has lulled observers into thinking that he might continue forever. However, as he approaches 80, Soria admits that he is finally nearing the end of his run. Speaking recently to the Spanish mountaineering site Desnivel, he explained that this could be his last throw of the dice on Dhaulagiri. Ever the optimist, Soria believes he will finally top out this autumn, setting up a final attempt at Shishapangma in the spring of 2019. He concedes that “at 80 years old, the age scares me a bit…”

In 2017, Soria made it to within 100m of Dhaulagiri’s summit, where heavy snow forced him to turn back. Photo: Carlos Soria

Without a sponsor, Soria is self-financing the climb from his own savings, perhaps another factor in his decision to make this his final attempt. He aims to arrive at Base Camp on September 11 and will climb alongside Luis Miguel López Soriano, a cameraman who has joined him on all his major expeditions since 2011.