Everest : Push Begins, Kobusch Passes 7,000m

In spring, a massive summit push on Everest conjures up images of hundreds of climbers in line above 8,000m. In winter, however, the push that begins tomorrow features 10 climbers at most on the normal route, and on the West Ridge, only the brave young Jost Kobusch.

The German is resting at his Camp 2 on the West Shoulder — the distinctive triangular mountain seen from Everest Base Camp, and the first part of the West Ridge route. Earlier, he climbed the Shoulder until he reached easier terrain at about 7,200m. Then he returned to Camp 2 in under an hour and a half, according to his RaceTracker.

Kobusch on the way to Lho La. Photo: @terragraphy


While he remains far from the summit, just getting this far, solo and in winter, remains impressive. As for his future plans, his movements suggest that he may be on his way back to BC, but nothing is confirmed.

Alex Txikon will head up early on February 25, if he can solve some last-minute problems. Pechhumbe Sherpa has fallen sick with a bad cough, the team’s Ice Doctor, Mingma, left the expedition a week ago and even Nurbu Sherpa is not at his best.

So he took advantage of the arrival of Tashi Lakpa’s expedition in Base Camp today by bringing in two new members of his own on the helicopter, including Cheppal Sherpa, another member of his Ama Dablam summit team three weeks ago.

So five Sherpas will accompany Txikon when he leaves Base Camp tomorrow, although likely only Nurbu and Geljen Lama will get further than Camp 2. Txikon is climbing no-O2, but the expedition will carry five bottles to Camp 4 for the Sherpas to use, if they choose, on summit day. “I am encouraging them to climb without O2, because they are really strong,” he said. “But it’s their choice, and I don’t want to tell anyone who is risking his life how to climb the mountain.”

Tashi Lakpa’s and Alex Txikon’s teams together in Everest BC. Photo: @DiegoMartinezPh


As for the newly arrived Breathless Winter Everest Speed Climbing Expedition, leader Tashi Lakpa, CEO at Seven Summit Treks and an eight-time Everest summiter (including a record no-O2 climb when he was only 19), intends to use no supplementary O2. The rest of his team did not commit one way or the other.

By pitching in together, the two expeditions have a greater chance of success. Note that there are no fixed ropes beyond 7,000m, and weather forecasts continue to change daily, although high winds are still expected up to February 28.