Mattia Conte Joins Alex Txikon on Winter Annapurna

Alex Txikon is currently hiking in to winter Annapurna.

The Basque climber has not shared details about team, style, or strategy, but he is leading some Italian clients up a trekking peak and then to Annapurna Base Camp.  Among them is Mattia Conte, who will also attempt Annapurna with Txikon and a strong Sherpa team.

the climbers sitting on a low wall, wth clothes and gear at their feet.

Txikon with Sherpa climbers on his winter Annapurna team. Photo: Alex Txikon/Facebook


According to Txikon, the Sherpas include Chhepal, Ang Gyalu, Magkpa, Ming Temba, and Lakpa.

Already in the mountains

The expedition, organized by Txikon in collaboration with Seven Summit Treks, will take Conte, Domenico Perri, and Llona Mesits to the Chulus, a group of four trekking peaks conveniently located north of Annapurna, close to Manang village. The Italian Alpine Club (CAI) states that they will climb Chulu East/Far East.

A banner showing a climber's shillouette in front. of a massive mountain face

Expedition banner from CAI (Italian Alpine Club).


The confusing Chulus

The Chulu group comprises Chulu West (6,419m), Central (6,584m), East (between 6,429 and 6,200m) and Far East (around 6,050m). Far East is reputedly the easiest. Depending on the sources, the Chulus are three or four separate peaks, and the altitudes also vary.

According to expert Jamie McGuinness, the list of trekking peaks by the NMA (Nepal Mountaineering Association) mistakes the altitude of Chulu Central with Chulu East, easier to reach but lower. Here is McGuinness’s article on the issue, with Wikipedia and NMA for further reference.

While measuring the 8,000’ers is the subject of several studies, the altitude of trekking peaks is not so strictly scrutinized. Also, whether the expedition reaches the Far East or the East summit, or both, remains to be seen.

A wide landscape image showing the range of peaks, two of them marked with their names and red triangles.

Chulu East and Chulu Far East appear in this photo by Everest Journeys.


On social media today, Txikon reported that his group is in the mountains and has just touched the 5,000m mark on an unidentified peak. The usual trek to the Chulus follows the classic Annapurna circuit, reaching Manang after crossing the Thorong La pass.

The double-peak winter strategy is not new for Txikon. In winter 2020, he led a group to Ama Dablam before attempting winter Everest. At that time, they summited Ama Dablam during both meteorological and astronomical winter. It is unclear if the group will launch their summit push on the trekking peak before Dec. 21. It is not a matter of making history, since Chulu is a lower trekking peak. Still, the climbers will likely encounter full winter conditions.

Conte back to winter peaks after K2 tragedy

This will be Mattia Conte’s second attempt on a winter 8,000’er, and again with Seven Summit Treks. Previously, he attempted Winter K2 in January 2021. At that time, his old friend and expedition partner Sergi Mingote perished in a fall.

After the Nepali team summited, Conte declined to make a second summit push, which eventually ended in the deaths of four more people. Previously, Conte climbed Manaslu (likely, to its foresummit) in 2018, Gasherbrum II 2019, and Broad Peak in 2022, all without supplementary O2.

Conte with a helmet and mountaineering jacket by an iron cross marking a summit.

Milan’s Mattia Conte in the Alps last summer. Photo: Facebook

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.