Carlos Soria presents the BBVA Kanchenjunga 2013 Expedition "in better shape than ever"
• The mountaineer, a native from Ávila, will set himself the challenge of conquering the Kanchenjunga (8,586 meters) in this first attempt to reach the summit of the world’s third highest mountain
• At the age of 74, he wants to become the first elderly climber to reach the world’s 14 highest summits
• BBVA Corporate Responsibility and Reputation Director Antoni Ballabriga explains the progress made in the solidarity project that the bank is carrying out with Carlos Soria in the Nepalese town of Sama
BBVA Expedition leader Carlos Soria presented this morning in Madrid his next challenge, reaching the summit of the Kanchenjunga (8,586 meters) in his first attempt to conquer the world’s third highest mountain. The challenge is part of his project to become the oldest mountaineer ever to reach the world’s 14 highest peaks. Accompanied by Antoni Ballabriga, BBVA Corporate Responsibility and Reputation Director, he also shared the progress made in the solidarity project that BBVA and ESADE are carrying out in the town of Sama, in the foothills of Manaslu.
Carlos Soria presented in Madrid the BBVA Kanchenjunga 2013 Expedition, which is one more step in his quest to reach the world’s 14 highest summits. The Kanchenjunga (8,586 meters), together with the Dhaulagiri, the Annapurna and the main summit of the Shisha Pangma, are the four mountains remaining for Carlos Soria to complete his project. Carlos will set off on March 22 for Kathmandu accompanied by doctor Carlos Martínez, mountaineer Luis Miguel López, who will be Carlos’ main support for reaching the summit, and Daniel Salas, the camera operator who will record the expedition.
During the presentation, Carlos said that he is in better shape than ever. “I started training the day after we arrived from the Dhaulagiri. I’ve been doing cross-country skiing in the Pyrenees and ice climbing in Norway, apart from my daily routine in the mountains outside Madrid,” he said. In addition, “when training for this new challenge I had a trainer who has helped me arrive in the best possible shape for a person my age,” he added.
Kanchenjunga, the five treasures of snow
This will be Carlos Soria’s first attempt to reach the summit of the Kanchenjunga (8,586 m), the world’s third highest mountain after the Everest and the K2, which he reached in 2001 and 2004, respectively. The Spanish mountaineer is well acquainted with the area since his successful experience in the nearby Dome Kang (7,260 m), which he conquered for the first time in 2009 thanks to ten days of fair weather, which could also by key when attempting to reach the summit of the Kanchenjunga. The expedition will spend 15 days in the Khumbu valley, near the Everest, getting acclimated and will later move on to the Kanchenjunga base camp.
The mountain’s dangerous conditions have prevented the septuagenarian mountaineer from completing his last two ascents. According to Carlos, the main advantage of this expedition is the change in area: “After attempting to reach the summit of both the Annapurna and the Dhaulagiri, we decided it was best to change to a different valley. The weather in this area is somewhat milder and there is less risk of avalanches, although the terrain is just as difficult.”
The world’s third highest mountain after the Everest and the K2, the Kanchenjunga, standing at 8,586 meters, is the highest peak in India and the second highest in Nepal. Kanchenjunga is translated as "The five treasures of snow" since the mountain has five peaks, four of them rising above 8,450 meters. This Indian-Nepalese giant was considered to be the world’s highest mountain until 1952, when new measurements confirmed the Everest as the highest in the world.
“Carlos Soria’s 15th summit”
During the press conference, Carlos was accompanied by Antoni Ballabriga, BBVA Corporate Responsibility and Reputation Director. They both presented the film on “Carlos’ 15th summit”: Samagaon, a Nepalese town he has been collaborating with for some time. ‘Sama, Momentum Himalaya Project’, a documentary directed by Daniel Salas, explains the initiative through which Carlos, together with BBVA and ESADE, are developing formulas to enable the local school, which also provides accommodation for around 100 children from the area, to be funded in a sustainable way.
As explained by Antoni Ballabriga, “right now, the efforts made by Momentum Himalaya are focused on finding an initiative that will enable part of the profit made to be diverted to the school in Sama. This way it would be able to fund itself without relying on the aid and donations that until now had ensured its subsistence.” In recent years, several technicians have traveled to Sama and identified two lines of work that could help the school: expanding a shelter for mountaineers and tourists who visit the area, which is very popular for its numerous trekking routes, and setting up a cooperative to enable Sama families to sell yak wool to textile companies that make high-quality products using this material.
Until these projects take shape, BBVA has provided scholarships for the school’s students to pay for a food bank and the wages of nine teachers, two assistants, a cleaning lady, an energy system using photovoltaic panels, and school equipment and clothes for the children. In addition, through the BBVA Suma platform, donations can be made easily by accessing www.bbvasuma.com/csoria.
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