Winter Climbs 2018: Summit Bid Begins on Everest.

The moment we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived on Everest. After months of planning and weeks of preparation on the mountain, Alex Txikon, Muhammad Ali Sadpara, and the rest of the team have launched a summit bid on Everest, and things are already going well. But, as with all things involving the highest mountain on the planet, it won’t be an easy ascent.

The attempt on the summit – the first so far this season – got underway yesterday with the Alex and company reaching Camp 2 in a single push. They’ll likely move up to C3 today and be in their final position tomorrow for a potential push to the top on Saturday or Sunday (February 24/25) of this week.

The forecast calls for a good weather window over the next few days. That is a relative forecast of course, this being winter in the Himalaya. Temperatures on the summit are expected to hover around -40ºF/C, with windchills approaching -80ºF/-62ºC. In other words, it will be brutally cold on the way up, and remember Alex is attempting this summit without the use of supplemental oxygen.

In a post on Facebook Alex has called this the “first and last chance to get to the summit of Everest,” indicating that he expects this to be their only real chance at topping out this winter. With about a month to go yet before the end of the season, I would have expected the team to at least consider a second summit bid should they not make it this time. But, it has been a long couple of months on the mountain and the entire squad is probably ready to get the expedition over with. Hopefully that means they’ll come home with their mission completed.

Meanwhile, over on K2 the Polish Ice Warriors have posted a short and sweet message about their current status. The entire team is now in Base Camp where they are resting and recovering from recent efforts. The group has now gone as high as 7200 meters (23,622 ft) in their acclimatization and gear shuttling efforts. They’ll now spend a few days regaining some strength before launching the next phase of the expedition, which looks to make the first winter ascent of the mountain.

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Winter Climbs 2018: Camp 3 on Everest, K2 Team in Skardu.

The tragic events on Nanga Parbat have dominated the mountaineering news cycle over the past few days, leaving most of us on the edge of our seat as we watched those events unfold. With the outcome now revealed, it is time to get back to climbing and we have updates from the major expeditions currently underway.

We’ll start on Everest, where Alex Txikon and Muhammad Ali Sadpara reveal that they were also following the events on Nanga Parbat closely. Txikon had climbed with Tomak in the past and is no doubt feeling the loss deeply. But, he still has things that he needs to accomplish on the highest mountain on the planet, and the team continues to make good progress there.
Alex and company have now established Camp 3 on the mountain and spent last night in C2 as part of their acclimatization efforts. Today, they’ll shuttle more gear up to Camp 3 and will spend the night there as well. After that, it will be back to Base Camp to rest and recuperate before deciding their next move. If a weather window comes, and the team is feeling strong, it is possible they could start to talk about summit bids. Alternatively, they could also look to establish Camp 4 before even thinking about going any higher. They still have plenty of time left in winter and there is no major rush, although they will have to take advantage of any weather windows that come their way. For now, the plan will be to wait and see what Everest offers them.

The members of the Polish team that assisted in the rescue operations on Nanga Parbat are preparing to head back to K2 to resume their own expedition there. After helping get Elisabeth Revol down the mountain and back to Islamabad, the squad has now gathered in Skardu where they are waiting for the weather to improve before going back to Base Camp. That could take a few days but they are committed to resuming their attempt to become the first to summit K2 in winter, despite the effort they just put in as part of the search and rescue team.

Finally, Lonnie Dupre and Pascale Marceau are finding it tough going on Mt. Lucania in Canada. The duo have been tentbound for the past two days with high winds preventing them from climbing higher up the mountain. They are currently camped at 12,000 feet (3673 meters) while 40 mph (64km/h) winds whip outside their shelter. Wind chills have dropped the temperature to roughly -42ºF/C, making it dangerous to be outside in those condition.

The plan is to wait out the storm, and drop down to a safer location before reevaluating the situation and planning their approach to the summit. At 17,257 feet (5259 meters) in height, Lucania doesn’t push climbers with its altitude. Instead, it offers technical challenges and difficult weather instead, which is exactly what Lonnie and Pascale are feeling at the moment.

That’s all for today. I’ll post more updates when there is news to share.

Autor : Kraig Becker

* source: – Winter Climbs 2018: Camp 3 on Everest, K2 Team in Skardu

** see also: – Nanga Parbat: 1 Saved, 1 Lost and the Spirit of Mountaineering is Strong.

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Winter Climbs 2018: Summit Schedule Set on Nanga Parbat, Success on Pumori.

Once again the news from the winter climbing expedition continues to come fast and furiously. The weekend had plenty more information to share as all of the teams on 8000-meter peaks posted updates on their progress.

We’ll start once again on Nanga Parbat where Polis climber Tomek Mackiewicz and his French climbing partner Elisabeth Revol have set off up the mountain with an eye on reaching the summit later this week. They are currently stuck in Camp 3 where they report that the winds are howling at 100 km/h (62 mph), which is far too dangerous to proceed upwards in. They expect conditions to improve tomorrow however, with the hopes of reaching C4. The weather forecast predicts much calmer conditions on Thursday, January 25, so the currently plan is to launch their summit bid late on the 24th and top out on that morning.

Apparently this will be the duo’s one and only attempt at the summit. If they aren’t successful this time out, they are now prepared to come home. Keep in mind, this is Tomek’s seventh attempt at a winter summit on Nanga Parbat, which has become somewhat of an obsession for him. Hopefully they’ll get up and down safely.

Meanwhile, last Friday we posted that Alex Txikon and Muhammad Ali Sadapara had left Everest to make an acclimatization climb on nearby Pumori. At the time, we weren’t sure if they had planned to just go up as high as Camp 2 or if they would actually make an attempt on the summit, as the mountain can be quite treacherous in the winter due to avalanches. It turns out, the duo – along with two Sherpa guides – made short order of the 7161 meter (24,494 ft) peak, reaching the summit this past weekend. The ascent was reportedly very technical and windy, but they were able to safely complete it and return to Base Camp without any issues. They’ll now head back to Everest and continue their winter expedition there.

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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

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