The best ager is on the road again
If someone is a “best ager“ in mountaineering, then Carlos Soria. The Spaniard really got cracking beyond 50. At the age of 51 Carlos summited Nanga Parbat, his first eight-thousander. He is now 76 (!) years old and has scaled eleven of the world’s 14 highest mountains. This senior is simply unstoppable. If everything happens as he imagines, not later than in spring 2016 Soria could complete his collection and thus – then aged 77 – become the oldest mountaineer who stood on all 14 eight-thousanders. So far, this “record” is held by Polish climber Piotr Pustelnik, who scaled his last eight-thousander in 2010 at the age of 58. This spring, Carlos Soria set out to climb two huge mountains in Nepal: the 8091-meter-high Annapurna and, not far away, the 8167-meter-high Dhaulagiri. If he is able to summit both, only the 8027-meter-high Shishapangma in Tibet would be missing in his collection. Carlos is already in Nepal.
Go to see Simone and Tamara?
He wants to take enough time to acclimatize, first in Khumbu, the area around Mount Everest. Then Soria will also visit the village Samagaon, where he has been supporting a school project for years. Actually, he could do a short trip to nearby Manaslu base camp at 4,800 meters. Italian Simone Moro and the South Tyrolean Tamara Lunger arrived there to climb the eighth highest mountain on earth in winter, with the detour via the upstream Pinnacle East. “When we arrived and I saw the beauty of this mountain, I felt not that ‘in love’ like on K2, but I felt that this soul is also really friendly to us”, Tamara wrote on Facebook. Manaslu means “Mountain of the spirit”. Carlos Soria summited it at the age of 71 years. The Spaniard is holding the age record there as well as on Kanchenjunga (75 years), Lhotse (72), Gasherbrum I (70), Makalu (69), Broad Peak (68) and K 2 (65).
With or without bottled oxygen
Carlos Soria tries to scale Annapurna for the second time since 2012. “That time around the Annapurna was merciless”, Carlos said. “I am in great physical shape despite growing a year older and I’m ready to take on this amazing challenge.” If he and his team really turn to Dhaulagiri afterwards, which is about 25 km away as the crow flies, it would already be his fifth attempt there. “The Dhaula is a spectacular mountain”, Carlos said about the seventh-highest eight-thousander. Soria decides case-by-case whether to use bottled oxygen or not. He did e.g. on Kangchenjunga in 2014 and on Lhotse in 2011, and did not e.g. on Gasherbrum I in 2009 and during his solo ascent on Makalu in 2008.
Carlos has been climbing mountains since he was young. In 1975, he belonged to the first successful Spanish expedition team on an eight-thousander, when Jeronimo Lopez and Gerardo Blazquez reached the summit of Manaslu. It took Soria 15 more years to reach his first 8000-meter-peak. A late bloomer, but then all the more intense. Just a real “best ager”.
Date19. February 2015 | 10:29