Stefi Troguet on K2 and Broad Peak Without O2

Behind her red lipstick smile, Stefi Troguet of Andorra has a clear, pragmatic mind and a sensible approach to her next objectives: Broad Peak and K2 without supplementary O2. She keeps her expectations low and her physical and technical training high. Some bittersweet lessons have made her wary of over-enthusiastic dreams.

As the only climber going without O2 on a large commercial team, Troguet will need to solve some tactical issues. “I am aware that I will keep a different pace and will need more rotations than everyone else. We are going to Broad Peak first, so I will get well-acclimatized before moving to K2,” she told ExplorersWeb.

Stefi Troguet ready to go.

Pay not to be left behind

“Otherwise, I assume that I am a member of a commercial expedition, with all that that implies: I will have the expedition’s Sherpas support, the camps, and the ropes. I will climb under the same conditions as the rest of the team and I will have a personal Sherpa with me.”

Troguet bluntly explains that at this stage, she prefers to climb with a hired Sherpa companion.

“Look, last year on Dhaulagiri, I tried to fit into a smaller team and climb self-sufficiently. I really wanted to feel part of a well-coordinated team with all members at the same level. It didn’t work out. So right now, I have chosen to join a commercial expedition and to have a Sherpa supporting me. It is sad to say this, but if you pay, you get a good, reliable climbing partner who is not going to leave you behind.”

Troguet and Lakpa Dendi, with whom she climbed Manaslu in 2019.

 

Troguet had attempted Dhaulagiri in spring 2021 with Jonatan Garcia. He had hoped for a fast, light ascent ahead of the rope-fixing team and was reportedly horrified at the highly commercial environment he saw on the mountain. Eventually, they joined forces with Carla Perez and Topo Mena, but the Ecuadorians soon launched an attempt of their own.

Troguet fell sick with COVID and was airlifted out without reaching higher than Camp 2. The sickness ravaged Base Camp, all attempts were canceled and no one summited the mountain that season. While always polite and discreet, both Troguet and Garcia confirmed that they didn’t work well as a team. Neither came back with good memories of that expedition.

“Comradeship in the mountains has faded these days,” Troguet said. “I hope someday¬† I’ll find the right climbing partners for Himalayan expeditions, but honestly, my best choice right now is this.”

Reconnecting with Sajid Sadpara

It is not yet known who Troguet’s Sherpa companion will be, but she is part of the Elite Exped team. “I’ve known Nims [Nirmal Purja] and Mingma [Mingma David Sherpa] since Ama Dablam 2018, even before Project Possible, and climbed Manaslu with them. I know and trust the way they work.” Also, Troguet is sponsored by Purja personally, through his Nimsdai Foundation.

“Otherwise, I don’t know anyone on the team. Which, by the way, is full of girls. I like that!¬† However, I understand that my real climbing partner will be the assigned Sherpa,” Troguet said, “although I do know several people in Base Camp.”

Sajid Sadpara was waiting for Troguet at the Skardu airport yesterday. When she climbed Nanga Parbat, Sajid’s father, Ali Sadpara, was there to greet her.

 

On landing in Islamabad, Troguet found out that Sajid Sadpara is also going to join Elite Exped team. “As far as I know, he’ll be with us at least on Broad Peak,” she said.

The only no-O2 climber on the team

Troguet understands that commercial expeditions revolve around O2-supported teams. “For instance, there will be no C4 on Broad Peak,” she said. “I guess if I was with an all-no-O2 team, we might set up a C4 or a higher C3.”

Although she will have to adjust, she had to do the same on Manaslu. “We all did a first rotation together, and while the rest of the group needed no more, I went with Lakpa Dendi [also on Elite Exped’s team this season] for a second rotation before tackling the summit.”

During the Manaslu expedition, fall 2019.

O2 not an option

“Climbing without O2 on normal routes is not easy, but I am 100% positive that I’ll do it without O2 or not do it [at all], just as I have done on all my previous Himalayan expeditions.”

“I’ve had this conversation with some people around here, who say they are going to “try without” but if they cannot go on, they’ll turn to it,” Troguet said, “That is not my game. I am not going to carry emergency bottles.”

Troguet back home.

 

“Yes, there is a chance that I get severely sick and have to be rescued and given O2. But that would be a rescue, and only to get down alive, not up to the summit. Going up with O2 is not an option for me.”

Three Stefis

The first challenge for Troguet is how long it’s been since she was last at altitude. She also feels that she’s a different person now than when she first began.

“The Stefi who went to Nanga Parbat had no clue about what was going to happen but was willing to discover the high mountains and ready to be content just to reach Camp 1. But then I summited and I was like, wow!

“On Manaslu, I was more confident, and I also admit that Manaslu makes things very easy. All the route is well-packed down and fixed, I acclimatized very well and felt good.

Stefi Troguet lives in the Pyrenees.

 

“The Stefi who went to Dhaulagiri was broken inside, shattered after the sad losses on Winter K2 [she was good friends with Ali Sadpara and Sergi Mingote, who died on K2, and with Cala Cimenti, killed in an avalanche shortly after]. I was doubtful, insecure, not sure I really should go. But I went. And everything went wrong. There was COVID, the team didn’t work out, the atmosphere in BC was really weird, I didn’t acclimatize properly… a mess.

“This time, I am uncertain about how I am going to be emotionally, but I feel very strong after training intensively all winter by rock and ice climbing, and long skimo routes. And just like the first time,¬† I am eager to live the experience and discover how my body and mind perform.

“My project was born of a dream fed by people like Sergi and Ali, and the way they lived in the mountains. They will give me strength wherever they are.”

Troguet and Ali Sadpara.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides is a college-graduated journalist specializing in high-altitude mountaineer and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.