Basque Climbs 19th 8,000’er
Juanito Oiarzabal soloed to the top of Cho Oyu on September 23, marking his 19th 8,000-meter summit. Ang Rita Sherpa is the only other man who has climbed 19 8,000’ers; Reinhold Messner and Ed Viesturs each have climbed 18.
Like Messner, the 47-year-old Basque climber has climbed all 14 of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks, starting with Cho Oyu in 1985. Just this year, he repeated three of the mountains — Gasherbrum I and II and Cho Oyu — along with a winter attempt on Broad Peak. And he may not be finished. According to www.mounteverest.net, Oiarzabal stayed in basecamp for a possible second trip up Cho Oyu this fall. Even if he succeeds in breaking the record, Oiarzabal is not planning to hang up his crampons any time soon — his tick list for next year includes trips to Aconcagua, Ama Dablam and K2.