Nat Geo Adventure Interviews Edurne Pasaban

The National Geographic Adventure Blog has another great interview posted today, this time with Edurne Pasaban, who reached the summit of both Annapurna and Shisha Pangma this past spring to become the second woman to climb each of the fourteen 8000 meter peaks. South Korean Oh Eun-Sun was the first woman to do so, topping out on Annapurna three weeks earlier.

In the interview, Edurne, who is from the Basque region of Spain, talks about how she got started climbing (it’s a Basque tradition!), the challenges of transitioning to a professional climber, and the downside of spending nine years of your life chasing the 8000 meter peaks. She also talks about her worst experience on the mountain, which was on the descent of K2 where she actually told her team to leave her behind, as well as what it meant to her as a woman to reach her goals.

Perhaps of most interest to those who have followed her exploits is Edurne’s take on her sometimes rival Oh Eun-Sun. When Oh summitted Annapurna, and became the first woman on the 14-er list, Edurne actually issued a protest on Oh’s summit of Kangchenjunga, saying that several Sherpas that were along on the expedition say that the Korean woman didn’t go all the way to the top due to bad weather. In this interview, Edurne acknowledges that Oh was first, but says that she still needs to offer some proof of her summit to put an end to the dispute.

She goes on to say however, that climbing legend Reinhold Messner told her the most important thing is that two women have now climbed all of those 8000 meter peaks, and that they both did it within a month of one another. It truly is a great accomplishment for both of these ladies.

A very nice interview with a great climber.

Kraig Becker