The Diehards on Everest and Batura Sar

So it’s over for this winter on the Karakorum 8,000’ers — but not on the slightly lower yet highly challenging Batura Sar, where the Polish team refuses to quit, no matter how many tons of snowfall. Jost Kobusch and Alex Txikon are likewise fighting and problem-solving for every metre on their respective routes. The elusive goal: A wintry view from the top of the world.

Jost Kobusch’s track on February 20, marked with a “J”, quite far from his planned route — the red dotted line along the West Ridge — but up the Lho La nevertheless. Photo:


Jost Kobusch again left Base Camp for the Lho La yesterday. Today, his tracking device located him quite far from the West Ridge, as if he were looking for an alternate passage across the bergschrund. Six hours later, he had only moved up a few metres. However, his tracker has been confusing and inaccurate, so he might well be back in Camp 1.

Alex Txikon is back in Base Camp after reaching 7,000m on an alternate route that the diminished team was forced to take because the normal South Col is currently too dangerous.

“Global warming is alarming here,” Txikon reported. “There are pools of water at 6,500m and worst of all, constant rockfall from the Lhotse Face, so part of the route to Camp 3 is no longer an option.”

The team continues to work hard on the mountain, re-fixing the Icefall every time they go up and fixing beyond that with the 3,000m of rope they have hauled up.

Nurbu Sherpa approaching 7,000m on a variation route toward the South Col. Photo: Alex Txikon


Txikon, Nurbu Sherpa, Pechhambe Sherpa and Geljen Lama have found a different passage across the bergschrund, about one kilometre to the left of the normal route, up a steep ice ramp. On Monday, Nurbu reached 7,000m via a 55º incline. Yesterday, a forecast of increasing winds convinced the climbers to return to BC for a couple of days’ rest. Txikon’s route could be a variation of the South Ridge, opened in 1980 by Jerzy Kukuczka and Andrzej Czok. Check further info on Everest’s routes here.

Meanwhile, in Western Pakistan, the Poles on Batura Sar, led by Piotr Tomala, have endured a week-long storm which has buried Camp 1 and their route to Camp 2. Avalanche risk is also very high, but they plan to soldier on. “Over the next few days, we will work on restoring the way to Camp 2,” Tomala said.