A father who encourages his children to give up work in the foundry, who reminds them that they will always have time to return to the tunnel of life, who believes that dreams have been pursued since youth. That was the father of Alberto and Félix Iñurrategi, two of them who obeyed and it only occurred to them to dream big: Why not climb the highest mountains on the planet? At 23, Alberto was the youngest person to climb Everest without using bottled oxygen. It was in 1992, the second eight thousand for siblings. In the descent of the 12th mountain of more than eight thousand meters that they both climbed, always together, the rope by which Felix was descending became unanchored. Alberto did not even want to recover the body: he did not want to risk the lives of others.
A comic edited by Sua Edizioak (Iñurrategi brothers. A heartbeat in the mountain) Now he gathers his trajectory and the work has the enormous merit of explaining in a way that is as correct as it is simple what it is to love mountaineering, mountaineering, Himalayanism or whatever we call the exercise of going again and again to meet the peaks. The text is in charge of Ramón Olasagasti and the vignettes are made by César Llaguno, as if it were a rope in which one goes nowhere without the other.
The world of the mountains, a sport that does not want to be one, an activity that is full of nuances, that has its own ethics, codes that can be a religion or be ignored, can be incomprehensible to salon analysts. But it is enough to look at the illustration on the cover of this work to begin to understand: Felix, the older brother, in the lead, Alberto in the background, each looking at a different point but joined by the same rope. They are not climbing, it is not an action drawing: they are standing still, calibrating what they have left to reach the point from which to return, looking for that precious oxygen that is so rare at height, wondering separately if they will have individual strength to continue or If they will continue only because of the impulse to be two, and if they will know how to restrain that impulse of couple when ambition pushes. The illustration is what they were, two brothers determined to go through the 14 eight thousand, without noise, nor fanfare, human, thoughtful but determined.
The comic takes place in two intersecting aspects. It starts with the linear trajectory in the Himalayas of the Iñurrategi but immediately introduces a fictitious dialogue between Alberto and Shazia, an inhabitant of the Karakoram mountains, which explains not only the social or economic contrasts between the two worlds but also the work carried out. carried out by the foundation created in the Basque Country at the request of Alberto and in favor of the Hushé Valley (Baltistan, Pakistan). This foundation has managed to create a climbing and rescue school to train local porters and guides, an irrigation system in Machulo, ten schools throughout the valley that guarantee the previously banned access of girls to education, training of the teaching staff, improvements in the cultivation, collection, drying and marketing of apricots, as well as literacy campaigns for adult women, and a long etcetera that must culminate in a delivery of the baton so that the inhabitants of the valley themselves are the ones who generate projects that guarantee sustainable human development in the valley.
The foundation is the way that Alberto and his partners devised to give back to the town where Félix stayed everything that was offered: help, friendship, work and mountains of incomparable beauty. Without Felix, Alberto managed to find new companions to string together to finish the list of 14 eight thousand and to continue his life as a Himalayan. While climbing together, both brothers always upheld a maxim that explains the title of the comic (Iñurrategi brothers. A heartbeat in the mountains) and his roped philosophy: one does not get to one. Two, it’s two and a half. The text does not explain (and it would be interesting to know) how Alberto managed to become one.