Mountaineer David Rodríguez came back to Malaga with another box ticked on his Malaga 7 Cumbres project. On 9 August he reached the peak of the Carstensz Pyramid, 4,884 metres high, the fifth of the seven challenges and the highest peak on any island in the world.
After travelling alone from Spain, he arrived at Kota Timika (Indonesia) and then had to wait nine days to be able to do the expedition. "People are surprised to see you there, because even they don't know the mountain," said David. There were five people taking part in the climb, plus a guide, and they had to get up before 5am every day to see whether the weather was good enough for a helicopter to take them to the mountain.
The political problem which surrounds the area because of the gold mine means they couldn't travel through the jungle around the mountain, so they had to use the helicopter. "It was discouraging to get up every morning before five and then be told we couldn't go," he said.
On the tenth day they were finally able to fly to the base camp, at 4,100 metres, where they had to adapt to the difficult conditions, with less oxygen and more pressure. Just after landing, the guide warned them that it was unusual for the conditions to be that good, and said it would be best to set off for the summit straight away.
After preparing their equipment, they headed for the wall of the mountain, a route which was not particularly difficult and with very adherent rock. "We were going so fast I didn't really know where I was," David said. In just an hour and a quarter they could see the edge of the mountain, with good weather and very favourable conditions.
After approximately three and a half hours they were standing on the peak, much to their surprise because they had estimated that it would take almost twice as long. Thanks to the fine weather and their chosen route, they had not encountered any problems. Once at the top, David had achieved five of the seven challenges in his project. "We were really euphoric and energised and got back to base camp in two hours. We could hardly believe we had done it. It is usually a very long and tiring process," he said.
Once back at the camp, they had to wait another three days for the weather to be good enough for the helicopter to come and collect them. "That was hard. Waiting halfway up a mountain isn't like hanging around in a hotel," he said.
Malaga council's Sports Foundation, Unicaja, Mecanizados Torfrecamp, Vives and Atlantic Kayak have all collaborated on the 7 Cumbres project. David's next challenge will be Mount Vinson in the Antarctic, and he hopes others will attempt it with him. He would like to tackle it in December 2020, taking advantage of the fact that Malaga will be European Capital of Sports next year to give visibility to his feat. David, who is a member of the Boquerón Mountain Climbers Club, said, "We always wear something with the name of Malaga on it. It's my city and I'm proud to represent it."
After that, David plans to complete his seven peak challenge by climbing Everest, in the Himalayas. He has no date in mind for that at present, but knows that it will happen when the time is right. Everything points to him being able to complete this project in the not-too-distant future.