Jost Kobusch: “This Winter Everest is Harder, Icier, and Colder”

“Compared to two years ago, conditions on the route are definitely more icy, very dry, more tricky, and progress is therefore slower,” Jost Kobusch told ExplorersWeb earlier today.

The German climber has finished his second solo rotation up Everest’s West Ridge. He has walked down the Khumbu valley, past his usual base in Lobuche, to Pangboche. “It is just for the day, to rest and get some internet,” he explained.

Asked about his impressions of the climb so far, Kobusch noted that he has had more wind and clouds than usual. “I also have the feeling it is colder than last year. But I said to myself: What do you expect at the beginning of January?”

Back to Everest later this week

“Back in Lobuche, I’ll rest and wait for two days,” Kobusch said. “According to forecasts, there is a high-pressure front coming, which I will use for my next rotation.”

Jost Kobusch at work on Everest’s West Ridge last week. Photo: Jost Kobusch


“I’ll try to get as far up the West Ridge as conditions allow. There is no pressure, this is all about exploring, but obviously, I will try to have a look at the route as far up as possible,” he said.

Kobusch is either unaware or unmoved by the feelings he stirs among some veteran climbers, such as Reinhold Messner. This is the second exploratory stage of a three-year project aiming to solo winter Everest up the West Ridge and combine the Yugoslavian and the American routes.

Kobusch made it over 7,000m last year. This time, he intends to reach the base of the Hornbein Couloir, at 8,000m. Should all go according to plan, the project would culminate next winter, with Kobusch reaching Everest’s summit solo.

Speaking of solitude, soon Kobusch will not be alone in Base Camp. Photographer Daniel Hug is on his way to Nepal to document the last part of Kobusch’s climb, as he did last year.