Ignacio Anaya

Sep 13, 2011
Outside Magazine

   Photo: David Hanson

Ignacio Anaya

Ignacio Anaya, 43
Lives in: Tijuana, Mexico
Profession: Lawyer and professor   
Favorite part of your work: Helping the kids
Least favorite: When the women cry in the trials
What do you like to do in your free time: Mountain climbing, biking, swimming, running, Ironman, watching movies
If you could travel anywhere: The truth—the U.S. It’s safe, there’re no problems, no police. I’ve driven to Nevada, Texas, Colorado, California. No problems. Favorite place is Utah.
If you could write a book: I am writing a book about climbing Everest last year.
The last meal you ate: Ramen soup with dry meat and a little pretzel and tuna. And coffee.
Are you religious: Yes, Catholic. I believe in God.
Any regrets: No
Trick of the trade: I like to see the world from the top, from the summit. And I like to go down. For gear: my boots because I lost some toes on Everest.

Ignacio wore his giant red down suit all over 14 Camp. He was easy to spot. Ignacio also had a smile on his face at all times.

On our way down from a day hike to 17 Camp, we passed Ignacio and his partner, Juan, on their way up the fixed lines to 17 Camp along with Brian, from Marty’s crew. Two days after our encounter, the three men reached the summit. It took them 18 hours, 38 minutes, and 29 seconds to get up and back down to 17 Camp. I spoke to Juan from Tijuana three weeks later, and he still had the time saved on his watch. That is a long period to get up and down on a clear day. Juan said they were using a 30-meter rope and setting handrails all the way up and down Denali Pass.

Juan is a doctor in Tijuana. He was alarmed when, after a calm, cold (minus 35) summit at 1 a.m., Brian started vomiting on the descent. A vomit the color of dark chocolate. This indicated digestive-tract hemorrhaging to Juan. Brian was supposed to have had the radio, but he wasn’t carrying it, so they weren't able to call the Park Service. They continued descending, and Juan remembers Brian being sick at least three more times and slipping repeatedly on the way down from Denali Pass.

Once down at 17 Camp, at 9 a.m., the three deliriously tired men went their separate ways—Ignacio to his tent to check his feet, Juan to speak with a friend, and Brian to rest in some fellow climbers’ tent where there was space for him to lay down. Juan had suggested to Brian that he seek medical advice from the ranger, Tucker, considering his sickness up high, but Brian failed to mention it. Juan had no medical instruments of his own, so he couldn’t provide any care. Plus, he was wrecked from 18 hours moving at high elevation.

The next thing Juan and Ignacio knew, Brian was dead. Tucker, whose patrol had been administering CPR on the unconscious Brian, told the two men.

Juan and Ignacio have photos of the two of them and Brian on the summit and videos of them going up and down, stopping to eat, even singing. They had breakfast with one of Brian’s sons in Talkeetna when they made it down, and they’ve given the family a DVD of images. Soon, Juan said, they’ll send the son a knotted piece of the summit rope.