Iñaki Ochoa de Olza



Iñaki had a grand plan in mind that he couldn’t execute. It was a humanitarian project that ran parallel to a sporting one, with the purpose of raising funds for the children of the Himalayas. SOS Himalaya was born to preserve and spread the memory of Iñaki and the achievement of this great project

Iñaki and the unfathomable void

Iñaki Ochoa de Olza is a massive void in the lives of those who loved him, myself included, of course. Charisma, unlike the ability to climb mountains, cannot be trained. It is innate, period. Iñaki was a beacon and possessed the strange gift that accompanies individuals with an attractive personality: it was always enjoyable to chat with him, to meet up for skiing, climbing, or running in the mountains. In his company, conversations were always brilliant, sprinkled with thousands of anecdotes derived from a long journey in the Himalayas that granted him the fortune of knowing the best climbers of the time. Everyone remembers Iñaki in the leggings gifted by Carsolio, or with the down jacket from some other star. That’s why it felt strange to see him in new clothes, a gift from his sponsor: ‘I have so many boxes of unopened clothes at home that I don’t know what to do with them,’ he laughed at himself, aware of how hard it was for him to secure sponsorship… which he didn’t even desire. His laughter was an explosion, a shockwave that immediately infected the atmosphere. I still have his contact in the phonebook of my mobile, as if only deleting it would also erase all the memories… or the yearning for one last conversation. Sometimes, even knowing that this telephone number now belongs to someone else, I feel like pressing it and seeing who answers. He might answer himself, scolding me with a ‘it took you a while to call, dude.’

I no longer know very well what it means to be a great mountaineer, or Himalayan, or climber, but I do know how to recognize those who love the mountains viscerally. In Iñaki’s house kitchen in Pamplona, I stared fixedly at a calendar on the wall, with all the dates crossed out and small hieroglyphic notes. ‘What is this?’ I asked. ‘These are the days I train, I mark them with a cross.’ Not a single day was left unmarked. That day, I understood that Iñaki respected himself much more than he let on, that his passion and his will to do it right were much more powerful than one could imagine. His vast knowledge of the history of mountaineering, its routes, heroes, and anti-heroes also provided clues about a passion to which he dedicated himself as if there were no tomorrow. Sometimes, I wondered how he made a living. Only one thing could distract Iñaki: women. In this complicated aspect, he was a master, and now I understand that he wasn’t just a simple collector but someone willing to live many lives in one, giving a lot in return… except his freedom. When he wasn’t singing a verse drawn by Barricada, he spoke with enormous affection and admiration for his parents and siblings, without falling into sentimentality but making it clear that they were his emotional support. From the void left by Iñaki’s departure, an admirable foundation has grown: SOS Himalaya. It’s the art of giving just because. And it helps to know that Iñaki’s family and friends have unearthed shovels to fill an unfathomable hole by creating smiles.

Oscar Gogorza

Writer, journalist and friend



Cho Oyu Iñaki Ochoa de Olza
8.201 meters

The summit of Cho Oyu on September 20, 1993, marked Iñaki’s first conquest of an eight-thousander. The expedition included Eugenio and Santi Gorrotxategi, Belén Eguzkiza, and Juanjo Zuazua.

Shisha Pangma Iñaki Ochoa de Olza
8.008 meters

On September 28, 1995, Iñaki successfully reached the central summit of Shisha Pangma. It took him less than 24 hours from leaving the base camp.

Gasherbrum I Iñaki Ochoa de Olza
8.080 meters

On July 10, 1996, Iñaki reached the summit of Gasherbrum I or Hidden Peak via the Japanese couloir alongside Juan Tomás, in an expedition with members of the military school of Jaca.

Gasherbrum II Iñaki Ochoa de Olza
8.035 meters

Just 19 days after reaching the summit of Gasherbrum I, Iñaki managed to ascend Gasherbrum II, accomplishing this feat following the normal route with José Carlos Tamayo.

Lhotse Iñaki Ochoa de Olza
8.516 meters

On April 21, 1999, Iñaki reached the summit of Lhotse solo. Through the normal route, he achieved this in just 22 and a half hours from leaving the base camp.

Everest Iñaki Ochoa de Olza
8.848 meters

On May 24, 2001, Iñaki stood on the roof of the world, Everest, as a guide for an expedition and with the use of supplemental oxygen. He completed it via the southeast ridge.

Cho Oyu Iñaki Ochoa de Olza
8.201 meters

On September 21, 2001, Iñaki reached the summit of Cho Oyu once again via the normal route. It would be the second time he ascended this eight-thousander, something he would achieve on a third occasion.

Nanga Parbat Iñaki Ochoa de Olza
8.126 meters

On June 20, 2003, Iñaki completed the summit of Nanga Parbat via the Kinshofer route. He reached the highest point with the Austrian climber Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner.

Broad Peak Iñaki Ochoa de Olza
8.051 meters

On July 15, 2003, almost a month after achieving the previous eight-thousander, Iñaki summited Broad Peak alongside Simone Moro, overcoming a vertical gain of 1,600 meters in less than 15 hours.

Makalu Iñaki Ochoa de Olza
8.481 meters

On May 16, 2004, Iñaki successfully ascended Makalu in just 9 hours and 40 minutes from the last camp, at 7,600 meters. The expedition included Ricardo Valencia and Alex Txikon.

K2 Iñaki Ochoa de Olza
8.611 meters

On July 28, 2004, Iñaki reached the summit of K2 in just 6 hours and 35 minutes from the Shoulder Camp, at 7,950 meters, passing through the Abruzzi Spur.

Cho Oyu Iñaki Ochoa de Olza
8.201 meters

On September 28, 2004, Iñaki concluded a magnificent season with his third eight-thousander in a year. He ascended Cho Oyu via the normal route, taking 11 hours and 16 minutes from the base.

Manaslu Iñaki Ochoa de Olza
8.156 meters

On April 29, 2006, Iñaki, along with his friend Jorge Egocheaga, reached the top of Manaslu, taking only 28 hours from the base camp to the summit.

Shisha Pangma Iñaki Ochoa de Olza
8.046 meters

On October 3, 2006, Iñaki reached the main summit of Shisha Pangma. He opened a solo variant from 7,440 meters, called the new Lorpen-Diario de Navarra route.

Dhaulagiri Iñaki Ochoa de Olza
8.167 meters

Again, with his friend Jorge Egocheaga, on April 26, 2007, Iñaki achieved his last eight-thousander, Dhaulagiri, taking 29 hours from the base camp to the summit.


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Iñaki Ochoa de Olza y Horia Colibasanu
Horia Colibasanu

-Companion on dozens of expeditions.

-Assisted Iñaki in his rescue attempt on Annapurna.

Iñaki Ochoa de Olza y Alex Txikon
Alex Txikon

-Companion on dozens of expeditions.

-Continues to collaborate with Fundación Iñaki Ochoa de Olza-SOS Himalaya.

Iñaki Ochoa de Olza y Jorge Egocheaga
Jorge Egocheaga

-Companion on dozens of expeditions.

-Continues to collaborate with Fundación Iñaki Ochoa de Olza-SOS Himalaya.


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