Biography of Xabier Ormazabal (1981-2004)

Spanish Mountaineer born in Urretxu (Guipúzcoa) on March 26, 1981 and died while descending Mount Cho-Oyu (8.201 m) on October 15, 2004, that stood out as the first Spanish to get the badge of the Snow Leopard.

Ormazabal began in the world of mountaineering from an early age, and began to make their first ascents and climbing in the mountains of the Basque country, the Pyrenees and the Picos de Europa. Before his great project, the Snow Leopard, Xabier Ormazabal followed the classical steps that guide many mountaineers to the "eight-thousanders": the Alps and the Andes.

View satellite of the cordillera de los Andes.

At the age of 21, began a series of ascents in the cold lands of the former Soviet Union ended two years later, which made him the first Spanish in ascending to the five peaks of the so-called Snow Leopard: Pobeda (7.439 m), Khan Tengri (7,010 m), Lenin (7.165 m), communism (7,495 m) andFinally, the Korgenevskaya (7,134 m), where top on 5 August 2004. All of these mountains are located in the mountains of Pamir and Tien Shan, between Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

View of a branch of the Tien Shan mountain range.

After this feat he/she fixed his eyes on the legendary "eight-thousanders", in the Himalayas. He/She managed, in less than a month and with less effort than expected, reaching the Summit of Shisha Pangma (8.013 m), on September 29, 2004 in the company of Iñaki Álvarez de Zumárraga.

Mountain range of the Himalayas.

In an attempt to exploit its good acclimatization decided to move to its second 'ochomil', Cho-Oyu, cima managed to solo on 13 October.

The mount Cho Oyu.

The Guipuzcoan made the descent amid an intense storm, what caused him to lose enough energy. Somewhat disoriented and without be able to descend to the base camp, died two days later in a camp at 7,800 m altitude, where it was found by an expedition partner. He/She was 23 years old.

Throughout its short but intense career, Xabier Ormazabal made very clear their worth and their professionalism at high altitudes.