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We interviewed Alex Txikon

Let's start by learning a little bit more about your childhood and your beginnings in this discipline.

We know you were born in the Basque town of Lemona, how do you remember your childhood and what was your first contact with climbing?

I remember my childhood in a humble family with 13 siblings, of which I am the youngest. We were 7 girls and 6 boys. I had a very positive childhood thanks to my family, which is one of the most important things for me in life, and especially if you live in a village as small as Lemona.

To which summit did you make your first expedition for?

The first expedition we carried out was in the Pamir, in 2002 with three other companions. Armazabal, Maroto and Iñaki Álvarez. I have really exceptional memories from this. We spent the previous summers in the Alps, we had gone to Morocco too. We started to travel because we wanted to make contact with the cultures.

What is your daily routine and how much time do you dedicate to it?

The daily routine is very simple. At the time we're here, there are three phases. One in which we are looking for funding for new challenges. Another one where we are lecturing and trying to keep looking for funding. And in the last phase we are calmer and we begin to work at the mountain with much more enthusiasm. I try to spend about four days there, although the best would be to climb five days, plus going to the mountain, evidently.

A few months ago you were immersed in one of the most adverse and difficult challenges of your entire career, the ascent to Everest. How was the preparation for this Summit, as it is considered one of the most risky on Earth?

Embarking on a double expedition to Everest is a very ambitious project, especially in winter, very demanding both physically and psychologically and, of course, the mere fact of attempting it is already a success.

Now we are at the door of our next challenge, which sometimes gives me the idea of not trying again because I have the feeling that we have not really faced Everest, as we have not left Camp 4 to go up.

Unfortunately, we understand that you could not continue your ascent to the Everest summit in 2018. What was it like to make this decision? Will you try again?

Making the decision to turn around is the easiest thing to do. Many times, people tend to think that when you are at the top of the mountain is when you really have climbed it, but it is not.

In the mountains you climb down too, when you come home with the rest of your  companions. At the end, life is the most important thing we have, and I’ve always been clear on that, I find it very easy to make such decisions.

What are your career goals or what are  you currently involved in?

I am currently immersed in a WinterS project.  Which means I have three winter expeditions planned for the next three years.

As for what I'll do after all this, I am yet to plan.

Which virtues would you emphasize a good climber should have? What about a mountaineer?

The first thing a good mountaineer must  always do is to “be grounded”.

To be a good climber you should feel passion for the mountains, passion to know them, to travel, to climb...

Finally, what advice would you give to our younger athletes who want to carve out a professional future in the world of climbing or mountaineering?

To all those who are thinking of a future in the mountains I would tell them to feel, to see, to discover themselves and to fully develop in the area in which they feel more comfortable at. Just that.

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