Carlos Soria will set off next February 25 for Nepal with the new BBVA Expedition to tackle the Annapurna (8,091 m) and the Dhaulagiri (8,167 m). The veteran climber is optimistic about this challenge: “These two mountains are quite difficult, particularly the Annapurna, but, as always, we'll try it with much enthusiasm and this year we'll succeed”. If he does, he would become the oldest person to achieve it and would be one step away from completing the 14 eight-thousanders, pending the main summit of the Shisha Pangma.
The 2016 BBVA Expedition led by Carlos Soria will attempt to reach the summit of two of the world's most dangerous mountains. First, the veteran mountaineer will attempt to conquer the Annapurna's summit. “I want to confront once again the Annapurna and see what the conditions are like, what the snow looks like. I believe that this year we will be lucky, let's hope so”, he said.
Last year, the bad weather and heavy snowfall prevented him from reaching the summit. “This year we'll set off early, at the beginning of the season, because we believe that we'll have more options”. Before arriving at the Annapurna's base camp, Carlos Soria and the rest of the team will go on an acclimatization trek in the Khumbu valley. “We'll spend 3 days in Kathmandu getting the kit ready and we'll then fly to Lukla to acclimatize for a few years. We intend to climb the Island Peak (6,189 m), which is a good way to become acclimatized”, explained Carlos Soria.
If they make it to the Annapurna's summit, the BBVA Expedition will travel to the Dhaulagiri. “If all goes well, we'll then have a go at the Dhaulagiri. They're relatively near. These are two quite difficult mountains, particularly the Annapurna, but, as always, we'll try it with much enthusiasm”.
Returning to the Himalayas after the 2015 earthquake
This expedition will have a special significance for Carlos after the earthquake that devastated Nepal in 2015. “The earthquake last year was a heavy blow for all. But we have to continue to travel to Nepal, since tourism and expeditions are a major source of income for them”, he said. Moreover, Carlos Soria will collaborate with the Ayuda Directa Himalaya association, which was set up by his companion Luis Miguel López.
Last year, Carlos Soria and Luis Miguel López organized a charity trek to raise funds for the association. “Ayuda Directa Himalaya is doing a very important job. With the donations and the funds raised we're rebuilding schools in remote areas where government aid doesn't reach".
With more than 50 expeditions under his belt, Carlos Soria is facing one of the greatest challenges in this career. He is now at the High Performance Center in Sierra Nevada training at height before setting off for Kathmandu next February 25.