The grandpa mountaineer

On of the most fascinating stories that you can find in the world of the mountain climbing is Carlos Soria’s challenge. He is trying to surmount the 14 higher mountains of the world, in Spain known as the “ochomiles” (the eight-thousands). That could be a usual history from a dreamer mountain climber if you didn’t take into account his ID. Carlos Soria was born in 1939 and he is 73 years old. He has just come back from an expedition in which he has been focussed for the last month and a half: reaching the summit of Dhaulagiri, the mountain which could have been his 12 from 14 higher mountains.

But he failed. Only with 600 metres left to the summit the strong wind and the risk of avalanches make him go back to the camp base. His conscientiousness and his experience make him return in order to not put himself at risk. He felt strong and he was too close. He wouldn’t give up easily. That’s why he stayed one day at Camp 3, waiting for a coming better weather. But the weather worsened and there was not other choice to leave the mountain.

He started climbing 8.000 metres mountains when he was 51, in 1990, and since them he has get 11, being the older person to climb K2, BroadPeak, Makalu, Manaslu and Lhotse. Yet, he is the only person climbing nine of 8.000 metres high mountains at the age of 60 or more.

In fact, Carlos worked as an upholsterer, but after retirement he focused on his main hobby and his great passion: the mountains. For many years, men have had a strange and inexplicable fondness for climbing mountains. Robert Macfarlane explains it in his book “Mountains of the mind”. He states that mountains induce modesty on us, reshapes our understanding of ourselves; make us aware of our own smallness. And, of course, reignites our astonishment at the simplest transactions of the physical world. Mountains become a drug from many people It’s not easy to understand why many people dedicate themselves on climbing mountains. For some, it has no sense. It’s only a stupid way upwards so as to go downwards then. But for people like Carlos Soria this is a simple way of life.

Soria has also climbed the 7 highest mountains of the 7 continents, challenge that he finished at age 71. And he has only 3 mountains left to have reached the summit of the 8 higher mountains of the world.

Since 2011 he is sponsored by the Spanish bank BBVA (also sponsor of the NBA or the Spanish Football League), that has provide him better conditions to keep on doing what he most likes: climbing mountains. The sponsonship campaing is called “I climb with Carlos Soria”.

It’s difficult to say if he could conclude his challenge, but to try reaching 8.000 metres high mountains at the age of 73 is, without doubt, a great merit and a true inspiriting story of overcoming.