Septuagenarian Spaniard oldest mountaineer to scale Mt Annapurna

Kathmandu, May 1

Spanish climber Carlos Soria Fontan, 77, became the oldest person to climb Mt Annapurna (8,091 m), as 30 climbers successfully scaled the world’s tenth highest peak this morning.

With 14 foreigners, along with their 16 high-altitude Sherpa workers, reaching the Mt Annapurna summit, the country witnessed its first successful summit to the mountain above 8,000m this spring season, according to the Department of Tourism under the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.

“Successful summit on Mt Annapurna sends positive vibes to the world climbers who are attempting to climb other mountains after the mountaineering sector faced back-to-back disasters in the last two years,” Gyanendra Shrestha, an official at Department of Tourism, said.

Shrestha added that Carlos Soria, born in February 1939, became the oldest climber to climb Mt Annapurna.

According to Pemba Sherpa, manager, Seven Summit Treks, after nearly 10 hours of struggle in the higher camps, the 77-year-old Spaniard and 29 other climbers reached the summit at around 10:00am.

Bulgarian zoologist and climber Boyan Petrov Petrov was the first to reach the summit, with others following a few hours later, he said, quoting the team leader Mario Vielmo from Camp III.

Two female climbers  Christine Patricia Burke (Australia) and Luo Jing (China)  also successfully scaled the mountain.

Italian climber Vielmo, Mathew Woodruff Du Puy (US), Nadav Ben Yehuda (Israel), Jost Kobusch (Germany), Guntis Ivars Miko Brands (Switzerland), David Klein (Hungary), Atanas Georgeiv Skatob (Bulgaria) and Spanish climbers Luis Miguel Lopez Soriano and Carlos Vicente Sanohez also successfully scaled the mountain, Sherpa said. All were on their way back to the base camp, he added.

According to Wanchu Sherpa, managing director at Trekking Camp Nepal, South Korean Climber Migon Kim, along with Pasang Nuru Sherpa and Sanu Sherpa, also successfully climbed Mt Annapurna.

“It is Kim’s 13th eight-thousander in the list,” he said, adding that Kim would try to climb Nanga Parbat next year. Earlier, strong wind and snowstorm deferred a couple of summit pushes on the mountain.

DoT issued climbing permits to two expeditions (15-member SST Expedition and 10-member Dream and Challenge Expedition) for Mt Annapurna by charging $1,800 from each foreign climber this season. Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki, meanwhile, is headed to Mt Annpurna in his solo attempt to climb the mountain from the difficult South West face.

77-year-old’s other feats

  • At the age of 51, Carlos Soria Fontan scaled Nanga Parbat, his first eight-thousander
  • The 2001 Mt Everest summiteer also held the age record on Mt Kanchenjunga (75 years), Mt Lhotse (72), Mt Manaslu (71), Mt Gasherbrum I (70), Mt Makalu (69), Mt Broad Peak (68) and Mt K2 (65)
  • After scaling Mt Annapurna, the 12th peak above 8,000m he has climbed, Soria is all set to leave for Mt Dhaulagiri to try and complete two eight-thousanders in the same season 
  • He has also announced to attempt to climb Mt Shisha Pangma next season to be the oldest mountaineer to complete all 14 eight-thousanders