The Diehards on Everest and Batura Sar

Everest Karakorum
Polish team member digging out Camp 1 on Batura Sar. Photo: Polski Himalaizm Zimowy im. Artura Hajzera

So it’s over for this winter on the Karakorum 8,000’ers — but not on the slightly lower yet highly challenging Batura Sar, where the Polish team refuses to quit, no matter how many tons of snowfall. Jost Kobusch and Alex Txikon are likewise fighting and problem-solving for every metre on their respective routes. The elusive goal: A wintry view from the top of the world.

Jost Kobusch’s track on February 20, marked with a “J”, quite far from his planned route — the red dotted line along the West Ridge — but up the Lho La nevertheless. Photo: Everest3D.de

Jost Kobusch again left Base Camp for the Lho La yesterday. Today, his tracking device located him quite far from the West Ridge, as if he were looking for an alternate passage across the bergschrund. Six hours later, he had only moved up a few metres. However, his tracker has been confusing and inaccurate, so he might well be back in Camp 1.

Alex Txikon is back in Base Camp after reaching 7,000m on an alternate route that the diminished team was forced to take because the normal South Col is currently too dangerous.

“Global warming is alarming here,” Txikon reported. “There are pools of water at 6,500m and worst of all, constant rockfall from the Lhotse Face, so part of the route to Camp 3 is no longer an option.”

The team continues to work hard on the mountain, re-fixing the Icefall every time they go up and fixing beyond that with the 3,000m of rope they have hauled up.

Nurbu Sherpa approaching 7,000m on a variation route toward the South Col. Photo: Alex Txikon

Txikon, Nurbu Sherpa, Pechhambe Sherpa and Geljen Lama have found a different passage across the bergschrund, about one kilometre to the left of the normal route, up a steep ice ramp. On Monday, Nurbu reached 7,000m via a 55º incline. Yesterday, a forecast of increasing winds convinced the climbers to return to BC for a couple of days’ rest. Txikon’s route could be a variation of the South Ridge, opened in 1980 by Jerzy Kukuczka and Andrzej Czok. Check further info on Everest’s routes here.

Meanwhile, in Western Pakistan, the Poles on Batura Sar, led by Piotr Tomala, have endured a week-long storm which has buried Camp 1 and their route to Camp 2. Avalanche risk is also very high, but they plan to soldier on. “Over the next few days, we will work on restoring the way to Camp 2,” Tomala said.

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 "ExplorersWeb BC" in 2018 and. Feeling right at home since then!

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7 Comments on "The Diehards on Everest and Batura Sar"

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jmaf
Guest

Great work they are doing but could live without the global warming comment. A pool of water on a cold mountain proves that the solar radiation exists, not the presence of antrhopogenic impacts on global climate. I’ll look to mountaineers to do inspiring climbs and scientists to continue to study and better understand macro and micro-climatology.

Damien François
Guest

Sponsored by Greta’s… sponsors! Rothschilds.

Damien François
Guest

It’s weird to read about the “pools of water at 6,500m” when the temperatures seem very cold in the Khumbu this winter:
https://www.windy.com/27.834/86.816?temp,2020-02-23-06,27.879,86.810,11,m:erJaizP

anonymous
Guest

The Western Cwm is known for being very hot in the spring. Even in the winter it might magnify the sun enough to melt water. Perhaps a bit of climate change is enough to tip the balance for this to happen more often, but it may also have happened in past seasons.

Damien François
Guest

I turned around on May 17th 2018, at +- 7.500 m on the Lhotse Face, because of the heat…
When I went down to EBC from C2 on May 25th 2019, there were indeed a few streams and puddles at C2.

Sid
Guest

The Japanese Route (1970), a variation of the normal route, between the Polish route and the normal route could be a possibility too. It’s less steeper than the Polish Route.

Craig Quigley
Guest

Txikon banging on about global warming… Spends his days jetting between mountains around the world. Give it a rest, and stick to what you’re good at, climbing!