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Inaki Ochoa de Olza Dies on Annapurna

Spanish mountaineer Inaki Ochoa de Olza has been killed on an attempt to climb Nepal’s Annapurna (8091m), though which route he was attempting is still uncertain. Ochoa and his partner, Romanian Horia Colibasanu turned around before summitting the peak due to dangerous conditions. On the descent, Ochoa had a seizure and collapsed near Camp 4. Apparent brain damage was complicated by pulmonary edema and Ochoa–despite both rescue attempts and medical care directed remotely by doctors at the Hospital of Navarre in Pamplona, Spain–succumbed at 6:45 a.m. GMT.

Swiss climber Ueli Steck, having abandoned his and Simon Anthamatten’s attempt on the south face of the peak last week due to threatening avalanche conditions, attempted a rescue, ascending with medications from basecamp to camp 4, where Ochoa lay incapacitated. Altitude and heavy snow conditions made a rescue impossible leaving Steck and Colibasanu to administer what medical care available at that altitude. Ochoa remained at 7400m, semi-conscious, for five nights before passing away.

Ochoa was born in Pamplona, Spain on May 29, 1967. He had his first experience on an 8000+ meter peak, Kangchenjunga, at age 22, and has since taken part in over 30 Himalayan expeditions. He worked as high altitude cameraman and guide.

Ochoa had climbed 12 of the 14 8000+ meter peaks, including a new route on Shishapangma, solo, in 2005 and is remembered for being something of a purist, saying, “If you use oxygen, you are not an alpinist, you are more of an astronaut or a scuba diver.”

Sources: Associated Press, Rueters,