"It is false and serves to destroy mountaineering": the alleged lies of the 14 eight thousand

Magazine ‘8000ers.com‘ has turned everything upside down. According to said publication, only three climbers would have completed the 14 eight thousand: Ed Viesturs, Veikka Gustafsson and Nirmal Purja, although the latter with the help of oxygen. The investigation is based, fundamentally, on some photographs in which, according to what they affirm, the rest would not have reached the same peak. In fact, they even confirm the exact distance they stayed from Annapurna, in the Himalayas: 65 meters to the west and between 80 and 190 meters to the east.

If the information published by the magazine were true, there would be no Spaniard who had completed the 14 eight thousand. Great climbers like Juanito Oiarzabal and Alberto Iñurrategui would be left out. Among the nationals, whose achievements would be affected by this investigation, is Ferrán Latorre, who attends El Confidencial to talk about what happened.

Photo: Edurne Pasaban, in a file image.  (EFE/Ramón Gabriel)

“Many have been wrong without knowing it and without wanting it. What happens with this investigation, which is not an accusation, is that they have many nearby peaks and no one has looked via satellite which is the highest“, confesses Latorre, who trusts the sincerity of the athletes and colleagues.

The investigation has turned everything upside down. (Reuters/Ilya Naymushin)

Some statistics based on sincerity

The point is that mountaineering has always relied on the honesty of the athlete to confirm the data. The journalist and mountaineer Sebas Álvaro emphasizes this in a conversation with this newspaper: “In mountaineering, most of the statistics are collected after interviewing the protagonists. I’ll give you a very clear example: it’s as if to know the penalties awarded to Atlético de Madrid you had to ask the shooter”.

“There is honesty in mountaineering, but it depends on each one. As in any facet of life, there are honest people and others who are not”, emphasizes Latorre. The unintentional error of mountaineers and the technological scarcity of yesteryear come into the picture to address this issue. “There have been seven or eight climbers throughout history who have lied. However, there are others who, not having had the means available now, may have made the wrong summit”https://www.elconfidencial.com/deportes/alpinismo/2022-08-07/falso-destruir -mountaineering-supposed-lies-miles_3470450/.”8000ers.com’ is a publication with recognized experience in terms of statistics, although Álvaro doubts the report. “It is not very rigorous. Statistics have a very testimonial value in mountaineering because it is a sport, unlike the rest, in which there are no judges. The rules themselves are set by the climbers”.

The mountaineer Ferrán Latorre. (EFE/Marta Perez)

The few similarities with other sports

Latorre’s childhood dream was to complete the 14 eight thousand. The first time he reached a peak was when he was 18 years old and the last time was in 2017. “It was very important in my personal and sports life,” explains Latorre. “A very long journey indeed. The information you are talking about has reached me in The Alps and I have no means to verify or contradict it. What I want to make clear is that some who have not arrived have made a mistake. Others, on the other hand, have wanted to deceive. In the 1980s, for example, there was no information about it.”

Sebas Álvaro’s explanations are entertaining and educational, in addition to the fact that he always uses examples. In this case, the simile does it with football. “In mountaineering, the way to reach the summit is rewarded more than the fact of reaching the top. That is, style is more important. Instead, in the football goals are more relevant than the way of playing. Therefore, people without professional knowledge cannot understand what is happening.”

One of the three climbers who according to the investigation would have completed the 14 eight thousand would have done it with the help of oxygen. “I rule out those who have used oxygen bottles. That is the same as making him doped”Alvaro clarifies.

Ferrán Latorre, at an event in 2016. (EFE/Marta Pérez)

Sincerity enters the scene again when comparing classic mountaineering with today’s. “Before there was honesty, even if there were some liars,” says Álvaro. The presence of sponsors, however, has changed everything. “The number of climbers cheating on sponsors has increased, mainly. They say that they have gone up without bottles and there are photos in which it is seen that they were carrying them. Some are commercial expeditions and not classic mountaineering.”

To conclude, Álvaro believes that an investigation commission could be appointed if what was published is true. “It’s a false controversy and that it serves the interest of the companies that contribute to destroying the Himalayas and classical mountaineering. They destroy it because they contaminate it and fill it with oxygen.” As for the honesty of Oiarzabal and Iñurrategui, “he takes it for granted.”

Magazine ‘8000ers.com‘ has turned everything upside down. According to said publication, only three climbers would have completed the 14 eight thousand: Ed Viesturs, Veikka Gustafsson and Nirmal Purja, although the latter with the help of oxygen. The investigation is based, fundamentally, on some photographs in which, according to what they affirm, the rest would not have reached the same peak. In fact, they even confirm the exact distance they stayed from Annapurna, in the Himalayas: 65 meters to the west and between 80 and 190 meters to the east.

Source: www.elconfidencial.com

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