Txikon: Life at Camp 1 on Everest

A last prayer at the Chorten before the departure. Photo @DiegoMartinezPh

“We’re already in the sleeping bag, trying to fit as well as we can,” said Alex Txikon earlier today, from the two-sardine-can Camp 1 on Everest. “In one tent, there’s Ming, Pasang, Tashi and I, while in the other tent are Furba, Cheppal, Pechhumbe, Geljen Lama and Nurbu.

Nurbu Sherpa. Photo: @DiegoMartinezPh

In addition, the nine climbers are trying to sleep on the cold ground without foam pads, since those are at Camp 2, where they intended to spend the night. “The Icefall was difficult, and visibility was zero,” Txikon explained. “We could have pushed longer and reached Camp 2 in the dark, but if an avalanche falls from Nuptse and we lose sight of anyone…Finally, we decided to stay here.”

Bad weather and tricky sections in the Icefall also slowed them down.

Alex Txikon and team set off on a cold, foggy morning. Photo: @DiegoMartinezPh

“We couldn’t see anything,” said Txikon. “First 10cm of snow fell, then 20cm. The “Breathless” team (outfitted by 7 Summit Treks and led by Tashi Lakpa Sherpa) carried heavier loads and were slower. We installed three more ladders, but the Icefall will last no more than five days. It’s delicate in some sections, with too many [ice] bridges to cross.

“Temperatures rose for a while, the sky cleared and it actually became hot. Then the evening turned cold and windy.”

Photo: @DiegoMartinezPh

Tomorrow, they will split into two groups, with the first leaving by 4 a.m. “We should get to Camp 2 in about three hours, and in four hours, we will reach the bergschrund [at the feet of Lhotse wall] at 6,700m. Then I don’t know which route they will want to climb. I prefer the one we did last week [to the left of the normal route]; it’s safer and shorter. But if there are no falling rocks, they might opt for the normal route, which they are more familiar with. In that case, it’s good that we have seven rolls of 200m rope stored at the bergschrund.”

As for Jost Kobusch, his Base Camp’s cook told Txikon’s crew that he’ll be back in Base Camp tomorrow, likely signaling an end to his solo endeavour.

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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Todd Elichko
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Alex why is k2 so difficult in winter what do you feel is your biggest obstacle