I am writing this from Nepal, a country that has given me so much and to which I am now trying to give back as much as I can in return. This time I’m not here to climb any mountains, but rather to collaborate with the Edurne Pasaban Mountaineers for the Himalayas Foundation, which works to provide a better future for the children living in these mountains. But I’ll talk more about that in my next post…Patrulla de los Glaciares

Back in Spain, we have just finished shooting the first season of the series Cumbres (Summits) for TVE2. It was a wonderful experience which, as I mentioned in one of my previous posts, gave me the opportunity of sharing experiences and talking with media personalities outside their “natural habitat”. Being in the mountains helps uncover many of the secrets hidden behind these famous faces, giving us an insight in the “person” behind the “personality”. Given the success of the project so far, we are now preparing the second season of Cumbres – nine episodes in which mountains and will once again become the setting and trigger for enriching shared experiences.

And in the meantime, we continue to enjoy the beauty and grandeur of mountain landscapes. And like now, it’s not always necessary to reach the summit. During the weekend of 3-4 May, myself and two colleagues participated in the legendary Patrouille des Glaciers (PDG), an exacting ski mountaineering race in the Swiss Alps, between Zermatt and Verbier. The race covers 53 kilometres with time cut-offs at different checkpoints, and was originally a military expedition organised by the Swiss Army during the 2nd World War. It was the first time we had participated in the race and we now realise we were overly optimistic. We started out at 23.15 on Saturday night, but soon found we were unable to maintain the pace we had calculated for ourselves. As a result, we failed to reach the Arolla checkpoint in good time, and were forced to withdraw from the competition. The meteorological conditions were harsher than expected and I must also admit that we were not as well-equipped as we should have been. In one pass the temperature dropped to -20º and we were forced to take refuge in a military shelter, making it impossible for us to reach the next checkpoint in time.

Patrulla de los Glaciares

The other teams (or patrols) in the race were well-trained and well-equipped, and we have certainly learned our lesson for next time. The whole experience reminded me a little of mountaineering in the Himalayas, where every expedition gives you that little bit of extra experience and expertise that always come in useful in future ascents.  

And from the heart of this majestic mountain range, from the beautiful country of Nepal, I send my warmest wishes and regards to you all. And I promise to send photos and accounts of our activities here with the Foundation very soon.