Winter Everest: Mixed Feelings

Everest Winter 8000ers
Alex Txikon, showing the strain of winter Everest. Photo: Alex Txikon

In Nepal, winter ends at the end of February. At least, as far as climbing permits are concerned. No-O2 climbers Alex Txikon, Jost Kobusch, Tashi Lakpa plus their Base Camp crew and climbing mates will trudge downvalley tomorrow, leaving Everest deserted, and ready for the spring season, one month from now.

Txikon is dealing with mixed feelings. On the one hand, he is bitter about the weather, which prevented him from venturing beyond the bergschrund at the foot of the Lhotse wall. This marked his third attempt on winter Everest. He admits that at 37 years old, he is “not getting any younger”.

On the other, he knows that he made the right decision. “The entire Lhotse face threatened to slide down on our heads,” he said. “If we had gone up, we would have died.”

How conditions changed on the Lhotse Face after the last snowfall. Photo: Alex Txikon

Previously, on the way up to Camp 2, he had a close call when he fell into a hidden crevasse. Luckily, he was roped up, but he admitted that it gave him “the scare of my life”. Avalanches that poured down Nuptse also stopped just 20m away from his group. “We were really lucky to get out unharmed,” he said.

Jost Kobusch in Everest BC some weeks ago. Photo: @terragraphy

On the other hand, Jost Kobusch is 10 years younger than Txikon and says that he is satisfied with reaching 7,200m. He feels that he has plenty of time to revisit the West Ridge.

Batura Sar

Finally, the winter climbing season has not quite ended in Pakistan, although the Polish team on Batura Sar have no reason to be optimistic. Yesterday brought them snow, 100kph winds at altitude and whiteouts. Worst of all, this same grim weather is forecast for the next several days. So this week, after managing to set up Camp 3, they had to stop completely and wait out the seemingly endless storms.

Snowed in on Batura Sar. Photo: Oswald Rodrigo Pereira

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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2 Comments on "Winter Everest: Mixed Feelings"

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Craig Quigley
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Disappointing winter season. But once Moro and Urubko had departed, there was never any real chance of a summit. Maybe the Polish can pull something out of the bag, at least they have geniune ambitions to reach a summit, unlike some of the teams and individuals on K2 and Everest this year.

Robbie
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You sound like a real blowhard.