Jost Kobusch to Solo Everest in Winter

8000ers Everest
Jost Kobusch. Photo: Jost Kobush

Twenty-seven-year-old Jost Kobusch is in Kathmandu, sorting out last-minute logistics before beginning an adventure like no other: Everest, no oxygen, solo, in winter. He originally eyed linking the West Ridge and the Hornbein Couloir, but he has decided simply to climb from Nepal and decide his route when he gets there on December 16, after “reading” the mountain.

To ensure that the project is purely solo, he’ll have just two kitchen staff and a photographer to take some shots of him on the lower sections of the mountain.

Jost Kobush. Photo: Jost Kobush

“My previous climb on Annapurna was not really solo,” he admitted to ExplorersWeb. “There were other climbers on the route, I used the fixed ropes on the way down, and I gave shelter to another climber in my tent. Yeah, I was there by myself, I organized it all, I used no Sherpa support or O2, but it was not what I consider a pure solo.”

On Everest, he aims to experience an 8,000’er “raw and pure, just myself and the wilderness.”

The cook in Base Camp will have a particular challenge with Kobusch’s vegan diet, especially since the climber is also reducing his white flour and sugar intake. “We’ve bought lots of vegan sausages,” says Kobusch.

In 2016, Kobusch, then 23, became the youngest German to summit Annapurna. He also climbed solo and without oxygen. He admits that doing the same with Everest in winter is even more demanding. “I am going to face very cold and short days, so I’ve trained in Alaska during the polar night,” he says. “I am kinda used to those conditions now. But combining that with the altitude is going to be interesting.”

Jost Kobusch hopes that a vegan diet will keep him well-fueled enough. Photo: Jost Kobusch

As further training, Kobusch recently made the first ascent of 6,393m Amotsang.  He also attempted a complete traverse of the Chulu massif, but heavy snowfall halted him before Chulu East. “Those training climbs have been great,” he said. “They showed me that I am in good shape and I have been able to really read those mountains.”

On Amotsang, for example, he had originally planned a different route. “But then I came there and I realized wow, there was this big waterfall overhanging the route and it was totally impossible to go up there,” he said. “But hey, that’s the fun part. You go, ok, so what are the options, shall I go left or right?”

Kobusch ended up climbing a completely different face. He expects to have to be equally flexible on Everest. “No mountain is static,” he said. “You just go there, like people did centuries ago, when they sometimes crossed mountains looking for food.”

His quest for what he calls “the raw experience” is what drives him. “This kind of alpinism is exploration, a journey into the unknown, with its own risks and rewards.”

Why not K2, one may wonder. For Kobusch, it’s obvious.

“I seek wilderness, and on K2 right now there is a competitive atmosphere, with several teams vying to be first,” he says. “That’s not what I am looking for. To me, it’s about this journey on the mountain but also about the journey within myself.”

He admits that it took him a while to view Everest as a potentially exploratory experience. That’s is why he picked winter. “I am looking for a silent retreat in a deeply remote area,” he said. “I never thought about joining extreme tourism, so I never considered Everest in the normal seasons. But this feels like exploring, it’s adventure alpinism.”

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About the Author

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides

Senior journalist, published author and communication consultant. Specialized on high-altitude mountaineering, with an interest for everything around the mountains: from economics to geopolitics. After five years exploring distant professional ranges, I returned to ExWeb BC in 2018. Feeling right at home since then!

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Ipgon
Ipgon
1 year ago

He is Crazy l am cheering for him

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Ron Calef
Ron Calef
1 year ago

Gotta say Jost is a courageous fellow. Appears he’s well prepared and primed for success. I will follow his adventures with great interest from my living room. Wishing him a safe journey

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Jose
Jose
1 year ago

He is going to die

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Damien Francois
Damien Francois
1 year ago
Reply to  Jose

I am fearing this, yes, and I told Jost. I remember vividly reading about Kuriki, who also had a similar “will”, a few days after having tea with him at his EBC tent back in 2018…

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Will C.
Will C.
1 year ago

I’m excited for this young man. While going solo is not for everyone, and is always a risk, Jost has proven he’s more than competent. I too will be following him. I guess he knows by now that Alex Txikon and his team will most likely be sharing base camp with him. I doubt that they will team up. Jost likes solo, While Alex has Sherpas, fixed ropes, ladders etc. ….not his style, for sure. This should be interesting. I wish them all the best of luck, and a safe return!

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gina
gina
1 year ago

Reminds me of Brigette Muir. She always wanted to go solo.
But realized she had to use C02 at Everest.
Good luck, son. My prayers will be with you.

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therofthew
therofthew
1 year ago

Good luck, but most likely he’ll die!

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xander
xander
1 year ago

Can I get an F in the chat for Jost

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Amy
Amy
1 year ago

In thought it was pretty much suicide to try and summit Everest without oxygen. I wish him the best, but hope he changes his mind. He’s so young.

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Tara Brinson
1 year ago

Jost will invariably exam his ego during his ascension nd descension. He will be humbled, perhaps recognize truth in the ‘looking glass theory.’ He’ll learn that the concept of ‘show and tell’ remains within the safe confines of an elementary 3rd grade classroom. Ego, Superego, and the K_id.

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Damien Francois
Damien Francois
1 year ago
Reply to  Tara Brinson

I know Jost personally, he is special. I must admit that I find this adventure “Too much”, yes (I summited Everest on May 23rd and have seen 6 dead bodies…). And here comes the but: Jost is very clear in his mind, about himself. I was amazed but very positively surprised when I read his book “Ich. Alleine. Oben”.
Viel Glück, Jost, denk’ unter anderem an Kuriki!
PS: Check your email!

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Poopy
1 year ago

This man has the biggest balls in the world

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Poopy
1 year ago

Nvm he vegan

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Bruhg
Bruhg
1 year ago

Mmmmmm vegan nuts

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mbogo
1 year ago

Exploration at its purest – Good Luck

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Karakorum Expeditions

this epic adventure.. some people do incredible .. wishing him safe climb. Angela coverage is excellent! thank you

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