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Juan Oiarzabal Urteaga, commonly known as Juanito Oiarzabal, (born in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain on 30 March 1956[1]) is a noted Basque mountaineer and has written four books on the subject. He holds the current world record for the highest number of summit ascents to mountains of altitude greater than 8,000 meters.

In 2007


The Himalayas

His success in the Himalayas is well-known, but less well known is that before starting on those ascents he had already accumulated a curriculum which is among the best of Spain. He undertook ascents on all the Spanish mountain masses, on the hardest routes. He even discovered some routes of great relevance. He is a highly experienced in climbing the Alps, undertaking climbs for the technical challenges they presented. In other continents, he has climbed in North America, South America and Africa and returning to the Himalayas, it is here that he carries out his expeditions with the greatest ease, which may seem obvious after 35 expeditions over 23 years.

Mountaineering curriculum

He is the sixth man to reach 14 summits of more than 8,000 meters, and the fourth in reaching them without artificial oxygen. He has now reached 22 summits of more than 8,000 meters, the current world record.



1984 / McKinley (6,194 m) - West Buttress Route


1983 / Aconcagua (6,957 m) – 5th world winter ascent (He has accredited 16 ascents to the Aconcagua, as a “guide”)


1988 / Mount Kenya – Diamond Corridor


1982 / Kangchuntse (Makalu II) (7,640 m). Altitude reached: 7,200 m
1988 / Kangchenjunga (8,598 m). North side. Altitude reached: 8,000 m
1989 / Makalu (8,465 m). West Pillar. Altitude reached: 8,350 m
1990 / Everest (8,848 m). Southwest side. Altitude reached: 8,300 m
1991 / Kangchenjunga (8,598 m). North side. Altitude reached: 8,400 m
1993 / Everest (8,848 m). South-Southeast Route - crest. SUMMIT
1995 / Makalu (8,465 m). Normal route. SUMMIT
1995 / Lhotse (8,516 m). Normal Route. SUMMIT
1996 / Kanchengjunga (8,586 m). North side. British route. SUMMIT
1997 / Manaslu (8,163 m). Normal route. SUMMIT
1998 / Dhaulagiri (8,167 m). Normal route. SUMMIT
1999 / Annapurna (8,091 m.). German route. SUMMIT
2002 / Makalu (8,465 m). West pillar. Altitude reached: 7,600 m
2004 / Ama Dablam (6,856 m). Southwestern sharp edge. SUMMIT


1987 / Gasherbrun II (8,035 m). . SUMMIT
1987 / Hidden Peak (8,068 m). Messner route. Altitude reached: 6,800 m
1992 / Nanga Parbat (8,125 m). Kinshofer route. SUMMIT
1994 / K.2 - Chogori (8,611 m). Tomo Cesen route (1st integral). SUMMIT
1995 / Broad Peak (8,047 m). Normal route. SUMMIT
1997 / Hidden Peak (8,068 m). Japanese Corridor. SUMMIT
2003 / Broad Peak (8,047 m). Winter. Altitude reached: 6,900 m.
2003 / Gasherbrun II (8,035m.) Normal route. SUMMIT
2003 / Hidden Peak (8,068 m). Japanese Corridor. SUMMIT
2004/ K.2 - Chogori (8,611 m). SUMMIT [2]


1985 / Cho-Oyu (8,201 m). Normal route. SUMMIT
1998 / Shisha Pangma (8,046 m). Southwest side. British route. SUMMIT
2000 / Everest (8,848 m). North side. Altitude reached: 8,700 m (without O2)
2001 / Everest (8,848 m). North side. SUMMIT (without O2)
2002 / Cho-Oyu (8,201 m). Normal route. SUMMIT
2003 / Cho-Oyu (8,201 m). Normal route. SUMMIT (23 September)
2003 / Cho-Oyu (8,201 m). Normal route. SUMMIT (5 October)


2000 / Crossing between the localities of Narsasoak and Kangarlosoak (650 km) on a sleigh, pulled by a kite.

China (autonomous region of Xinjiang)

2000 / TaklaMakan 800 km desert crossing, (desert, within the Gobi desert), only with the help of camels.


2001 / Elbruz (5,642 m) Normal route. Winter. The highest European summit.

Awards and distinctions

  • In his role as an expert, he has participated in several mountain rescue activities, receiving recognition for them.
  • He is a Member of Honour of different mountaineering clubs.
  • He is a Member of the Basque Mountaineering Club.
  • He is a climbing professor.
  • He is a professor of the Basque Mountaineering School (EVAM)
  • Mountaineering Guide, Member of the International Union of Mountaineering Guide Associations (UIAGM).
  • Golden Insignia from the Basque Mountaineering Federation.
  • Member of the « Comité de Patronage du Cinquantenaire de l’Annapurna » / 2000.
  • Member of Honor of the Spanish Geography Society.
  • Nominated for the “Prince of Asturias” Award for Sports in 1999.
  • Finalist for the “Prince of Asturias” Award for Sports in 2001.
  • According to the “Mundo Deportivo” Newspaper, he is among the 20 most important Spanish sportsmen of the century.
  • Golden Medal for Sports Merit, awarded by the Spanish government in 1999.
  • On the proposal of the editors of Basque jeans of communication, the Basque Government awarded him the distinction of Universal Basque Citizen in the year 2000. That year the Jesuit, Ion Sobrino (standard-bearer of the freedom theology in El Salvador), also won the award, which had previously been won by Etxenike, Oteiza and Chillida.
  • Member of Honour of the Spanish Exploration and Adventure Cub.
  • The sports newspaper Marca awarded him its maximum prize: Marca de Leyenda (Legendary Mark), a distinction that only a handful of elite sportsmen around the world have.
  • In recognition of his sports achievements, he has been officially received by outstanding officials and personalities: The Vitoria-Gasteiz City Council, Diputación Foral de Álava, the Lehendakari (Basque President), the former Spanish prime Minister (Aznar) and the King of Spain, Juan Carlos de Borbón.
  • He was Guest of Honor at the activities organised by they French Government on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the conquering of Annapurna, invited by its President Mr. Jacques Chirac. He was also a member of the activities Committee.
  • In 2005 he was awarded the FCG International Award for Sports by the Fundación Cristóbal Gabarrón.


Mr. Oiarzabal has published four books:

  • “Buscando las catorce estrellas” [Searching for the Fourteen Stars], Editorial Lur, 1997
  • “Los 14 ochomiles de Juanito Oiarzabal” [The Fourteen Eight-Thousanders of Juanito Oiarzabal], Ediciones Desnivel, 1999,
  • “Conversaciones con Juanito Oiarzabal” [Conversations with Juanito Oiarzabal], Ediciones Desnivel, 2001,
  • “El Everest de Juanito Oiarzabal” [Juanito Oiarzabal’s Everest], Ediciones Desnivel, 2002,

Audiovisual productions

  • He has undertaken 16 audiovisual productions that have been used to promote mountaineering, offering prestige to this sport at all levels and, of course, setting a high standard for both Vitoria-Gasteiz and Alava.
  • On TVE, he filmed his ascent of Annapurna for the “Al filo de lo imposible” (On the Edge of the Impossible) television program.
  • He has also recorded many programs, such as the one he did on Everest, recreating the story of Mallory and Irving who disappeared in 1924 while they tried to reach the summit.

External links


  1. ^ Oiarzabal, Juanito., Explorations and Expeditions, THE "FOURTEEN SUMMITS" WITHOUT OXYGEN,, retrieved 2008-11-30  
  2. ^ K2 climb - K2 and Karakorum by climbers, news


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