Winter Climbs 2017: Messner Visits Txikon in Base Camp on Everest.

Autor : Kraig Becker

The winter climbing season continues unabated in the Himalaya and elsewhere. The days are now ticking away rapidly, and with just two weeks to go in the season, the climbers on Everest are beginning to eye the finish line with the hopes of making one last summit bid before spring actually arrives. Meanwhile, in Alaska, another expedition is about to truly get underway.

Alex Txikon and his team have been on Everest since early January now, and have had all attempts to summit the mountain turned back due to bad weather. The team has seen its share of bad luck as well, with a couple of members being sent home after suffering injuries. In fact, the entire squad was recalled to Kathmandu a few weeks back, but after spending eight days in the Nepali capital, they returned to Base Camp last week to begin preparing for another summit push once again. They spent most of that time rebuilding the route through the Khumbu Icefall, but did manage to climb up to Camp 1 before going back down to BC.

It has been a very long and difficult season to say the least, and Alex and company are probably more than ready to wrap up this challenge and head home. If they have been feeling dejected in any way, it hasn’t come through in their dispatches however, and the Spaniard has always maintained an optimistic demeanor, even when things looked like they were at their worst. Still, today he received a major shot to his morale when legendary alpinist Reinhold Messner paid them a visit in Base Camp. Just judging from his dispatch it is clear how excited Alex was to meet his idol, and it may just be the shot in the arm he needed to finally get him up the mountain. Continue reading

Himalaya Spring 2017: Bill Burke Heading Back to his Namesake Mountain.

Autor : Kraig Becker

Over the past couple of climbing seasons in the Himalaya, one of the mountains that we’ve watched closely has been Burke-Khang, an unclimbed 6942 meter (22,775 ft) peak located in the  Solukhumbu region of Nepal not far from Mt. Everest and Cho Oyu. The mountain is named after American climber Bill Burke, who has spent the past couple of years trying to complete the first ascent of the peak that bears his name. Those efforts have been stymied by bad weather, and in some cases bad luck, so far but, and after not being able to summit last year, it looked like it might be awhile before anyone would try again. But, it turns out that a new expedition is in the works, and Bill will once again be taking a crack at the mountain.

In a recent blog post on his website, Bill wrote “It’s a Go!” regarding a new expedition to take place this spring. Apparently, the team of Sherpas that he works with on this climb have made a reconnaissance flight over Burke-Khang and have spotted a route that will take the team up the mountain more safely. Last year’s attempt was blocked by a dangerous icefall, but in the months since they were last there, the seracs that made up the icefall have collapsed, clearing the way forward.

Bill says that there are still a few crevasses to traverse, but the snow is reportedly in good condition and the route up is much safer and more straightforward. There are a few sections of blue ice to climb, and the headwall on the way to the summit is described as “steep,” but everyone is feeling much better about their chances heading into the 2017 season.

Burke left for Kathmandu on March 1 and should now be in Nepal and making plans for the start of the expedition. Hopefully, after two years of being denied the chance, he’ll finally stand on top of his namesake mountain at long last.

We’ll be following Bill’s progress and adding a number of other expeditions to our line-up in the days ahead. The start of the season isn’t as far off as it would seem at this point and things will start to get very interesting in just a few weeks time. Stay tuned.

* source: – Himalaya Spring 2017: Bill Burke Heading Back to his Namesake Mountain

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37th anniversary of the first Everest winter ascent.

February 17, 1980 – First winter ascent by Andrzej Zawada’s team from Poland: Leszek Cichy and Krzysztof Wielicki.

This was also the first winter summit of any of the world’s fourteen 8000 metre peaks.

Completed in 1980 by a team of phenomenally rugged Polish climbers, this ascent was led by … Leszek Cichy and Krzysztof Wielicki reached the summit on February 17.

wielicki-cichy
Krzysztof Wielicki and Leszek Cichy celebrate winning Mount Everest in Winter.

You can see ..

Krzysztof Wielicki – detailed diary of First winter ascent of Mount Everest, Please click the links below :

Polish winter expedition 1980: Everest – part 1

Polish winter expedition 1980: Everest – part 2

Polish winter expedition 1980: Everest – part 3

Polish winter expedition 1980: Everest – part 4

** I invite you to relationships with expeditions Polish mountaineers.

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Will the Everest 2017 Season Be One for the Record Books?

Autor : Kraig Becker

The start of the 2017 spring climbing season on Everest is still a couple of months off, but already there are climbers, guides, and Everest junkies all over the world who are gearing up for its start. Amongst them is mountaineer/blogger Alan Arnette, who always follows the climbing scene on the Big Hill closely and provides excellent insights as to what to expect and thoughts on events as they are developing. With a new season on the horizon, Alan is currently looking ahead and says that we can expect big things this year.

In an article posted to his blog yesterday, Alan says that 2017 is looking like a year for the record books. Two months before the first climbers start to arrive in Kathmandu, he is already predicting a record number of summits and many new climbers in Base Camp. This is in part because of the low cost operators who have begun taking over the mountain. This has allowed an influx of climbers from India and China in particular, and since those operators don’t mind dealing with large groups of clients. In some cases, more than 100 at a time.

But beyond that, there are a number of stories to watch this year that should prove of interest. For instance, Alan notes (as we have here at The Adventure Blog) that Ueli Steck is planning to return to attempt an Everest-Lhotse Traverse. He also mentions the Indian survey team that will be measuring the current height of Everest to see if the 2015 earthquake has had an impact on that number. And as if that wasn’t enough, Alan also notes that Nepali Min Bahadur Sherchan will be on the mountain in an attempt to set a new record for the oldest person to summit. At the age of 86, Min Bahadur says he is still in good shape and ready to go.

Of course, this is probably just the tip of the iceberg in terms of storylines and drama that we’ll see on Everest this spring. As always, it will be a never ending source of inspiration and motivation, and probably a bit of controversy along the way too. It wouldn’t be Everest otherwise. Stay tuned for regular reports throughout the spring as events unfold.

* source: – Will the Everest 2017 Season Be One for the Record Books?

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New Virtual Reality Experience Will Recreate First Ascent of Everest.

Autor : Kraig Becker

Do you ever wonder what it was like to climb those final few steps up to the summit of Mt. Everest with Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay when they made the first ascent of the mountain back in 1953? If so, then you may soon get the chance to witness that historical moment for yourself thanks to a new virtual reality project from a company called CGO Studios that is slated for release later this year.

The creative team at CGO specializes in making VR experiences that center around historical events. In the past, they’ve done projects that centered around the Wright Brothers’ first flight and they are currently putting the finishing touches on a digital visit to Anne Frank’s attic. But, the team is also knee deep in a project called “Everest ’53” that will take viewers high up the Himalayan peak, where they will join Hillary and Norgay as they approach the summit.

According to CGO, the team is creating its Everest project for use with the Oculus Rift VR goggles and its Touch controller. The virtual reality experience will immerse viewers in a 360º environment, and will equip them with historically accurate tools and gear to get them to the summit. The virtual environment will also replicate weather conditions on Everest on May 29, 1953 when Hillary and Norgay went to the summit for the first time, making the experience has real as possible. Both Peter Hillary and Jamling Tenzing Norgay – the sons of the two famous climbers – are assisting with the project, helping to deliver more realism.

The description for “Everest ’53” says that viewers will join Hillary and Norgay in the “final moments” of their ascent, but just where it will start is hard to say. Will it begin at the Hillary Step or closer to the top? Is it mostly going to just center around the view from the summit, or something else? We’ll have to wait to see for sure, but it is an intriguing premise to say the least.

I’ve had the chance to test a few VR experiences and can say that they are a lot of fun and offer some interesting tools to do unique things. For the most part, they’ll never replace actually going outside to take part in real-world activities, but I do think the technology holds a lot of promise for delivering very compelling content like this. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to check it out for myself at some point.

Find out more at cgostudios.com.

* source: – New Virtual Reality Experience Will Recreate First Ascent of Everest

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Winter Climbs 2017: Txikon Back in Base Camp, Ready for Summit Attempt.

Autor :  Kraig Becker

At the end of last week I wrote that Spanish climber Alex Txikon had set out from Everest Base Camp to take advantage of a brief weather window that had opened on the mountain. At the time, there was some speculation that he might be making an attempt on the summit, although I suspected it would be his final acclimatization rotation instead. Now, after a very busy couple of days on the mountain, we know two things: The weather window has closed and Alex is ready to make history once again this winter.

Txikon and his band of Sherpa climbing partners left BC last Thursday to make a push up the Lhotse Face. The team made solid time as they enjoyed good weather on their way up the mountain, first staying in Camp 2 for the night, before proceeding up to C3 the following day. Ultimately, they would establish Camp 4 at 7950 meters (26,082 ft) on Saturday, where they would deposit gear that will eventually be needed for the coming summit push. Once they dropped off the equipment, they immediately turned around and descended back down the mountain, with the Sherpas remaining in C2 while Alex himself continued back to Base Camp.
Now, all the members of the team have safely reached BC, where they are awaiting a storm that is expected to arrive early this week. That storm will bring high winds, lots of snow, and very cold conditions. But, it isn’t expected to be a large weather pattern, and the forecast says it will move on later in the week. That means that another weather window could open within a few days, giving the team a chance to go for the summit at long last.
Alex says that he is now full acclimatized but he needs rest before launching his summit bid. He’ll get time to regather his strength while the weather is bad. Once the storm passes and he’s had a few days to recuperate, the final push will begin. The Spaniard says that he is now ready to go and the stage has been set. All he needs is a stretch of good weather conditions and he will have a go at the summit.
As if climbing Everest in the winter isn’t challenging enough, Alex is also doing so without the use of bottled oxygen, something that has only been accomplished once in the past. You may recall that the Spanish climber is use to making history during the winter, as last year he was part of the squad that put up the first ascent of Nanga Parbat during that season as well.
For now, just like Alex and his teammates, we have to sit and wait. But the next time he leaves BC, it should be for an attempt on the summit. I’ll let you know when that happens and will have regular updates on his progress in the days ahead.

* source: – Winter Climbs 2017: Txikon Back in Base Camp, Ready for Summit Attempt
** see also – Winter Climbs 2017: Txikon Leaves Everest BC, Possible Summit Bid This Weekend.

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30th anniversary of the first Annapurna winter ascent.

On 3 February 1987, Polish climbers Jerzy Kukuczka and Artur Hajzer made the first winter ascent of Annapurna I.

Jerzy kukuczka – climbing season 1987

1987 — Annapurna I – first winter ascent

After his early November climb on Manaslu, Jurek and Artur Hajzer summited Annapurna North Face on February 3, 1987. Hajzer returned to the mountains with Kukuczka already in September that same year. That’s when they made a first ascent of the East Ridgeon Shisha Pangma (Summit on September 18, 1987).

* source: – http://winterclimb.com/climbing-base/item/3-jerzy-kukuczka

Artur HajzerJerzy Kukuczka’s partner

When you look for a phrase to describe Artur Hajzer, one of the first that comes to mind is ‘Jurek Kukuczka’s partner.’ Even though their first expedition was not successful, after Lhotse Hajzer felt much more secure.

Artur Hajzer, Wanda Rutkiewicz i Jerzy Kukuczka, Annapurna 1987

Artur Hajzer, Wanda Rutkiewicz and Jerzy Kukuczka, Annapurna 1987

“I started believing in myself. I realised that my first steps were analogous to what Jurek had been doing a few years back. Eventually, I felt convinced that the Lhotse failure had not determined it all and the next time – as proven by Jurek’s career – would be better,” Hajzer recalled years later. And it was better, together with Jerzy Kukuczka.

“How about going on an expedition with me? I need a partner. How about that?”

“I am all for it, on spec”, answered Elephant to Kukuś.

“It was very elevating to Artur, he was very pleased. Jurek Kukuczka offered Artur that if he had organised an expedition to Manaslu and a winter expedition to Annapurna, they would climb together. And so it happened, and that is the reason Artur decided not to go with us to climb K2 via the Magic Line route,” recalls Janusz Majer.

“The Manaslu (8,156m) expedition was the most difficult of all our – mine and Jurek’s – successful expeditions. It took place in autumn 1986. We were to attempt the south face of Annapurna (8,091m) in the same season,” wrote Hajzer. On 03 February 1987 they made their first winter ascent together to the summit of an eight-thousander.

Another expedition they went on together was a summer expedition to Shishapangma in August 1987, during which they established a new route on the western ridge. The same year, Artur made another attempt on the south face of Lhotse during an international expedition organised by Krzysztof Wielicki. The expedition was a failure. In 1988, he accompanied Jurek Kukuczka, this time ascending the west Annapurna via a new route. A year later he returned for the third time to the south face of Lhotse. That time, the international expedition was organised by the Kukuczka’s ‘greatest rival’ – Rainhold Messner.

“After that expedition I came to a conclusion that another attempt would be a waste of time,” Artur writes in Attack of Despair. That is why he did not join Kukuczka during his attempt.

“It was clear that Artur had equalled his master and his own ambition took the floor. He wanted to bring his own mountaineering projects to life,” recalls Janusz Majer.

….. more – Artur Hajzer – Ice Leader.

** see also:

–   Jerzy Kukuczka – famous Polish climber /Version polish and english/

–   Polish famous climbers – The golden decade of Polish Himalayan mountaineering.

Winter Manifesto of Krzysztof Wielicki – Manifest zimowy Krzysztofa Wielickiego /Version polish and english/

Polish winter expedition to K2, 2002/3 /Version polish and english/

Ice Warriors not give up – HiMountain winter expedition to Broad Peak – 2008/09. HiMountain wyprawa zimowa Broad Peak – 2008/09. /Version english and polish/

Polish-Italian winter expedition to Shisha Pangma (8027m), 2005 /Version polish and english/

Polish winter expedition 1980 – First winter ascent of Everest, part 1

Polish winter expedition 1980 – First winter ascent of Everest, part 2

Polish winter expedition 1980 – First winter ascent of Everest, part 3

Polish winter expedition 1980 – First winter ascent of Everest, part 4

… the first winter ascent of the south face of annapurna i, 1987-1988
https://www.himalayanclub.org/…/the-firstwinterascent-of-the-so…

Annapurna I : Climbing, Hiking & Mountaineering : SummitPost
http://www.summitpost.org/annapurna-i/150258

Jerzy Kukuczka Ascents :

Alps

1973, 19 July – Aiguille du Moine. First polish ascent on Aureille-Fentren Route. Team: Jerzy Kukuczka, Marek Łukaszewski.

1973, 22 July – La Pell, Massiw Vercors. First polish ascent on Parish Route. Team: Jerzy Kukuczka, Marek Łukaszewski.

1973, 6 August – Mont Blanc, E Face. Major Route. Team: Beata Kozłowska, Jerzy Kukuczka, Janusz Kurczab, Marek Łukaszewski.

1973, 12-14 August – Petit Dru, new route. Team: Jerzy Kukuczka, Wojciech Kurtyka, Marek Łukaszewski.

1975, 3-4 August – Grandes Jorasses, N Face. New Route. Team: Jerzy Kukuczka, Wojciech Kurtyka, Marek Łukaszewski.

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