Alex Txikon’s team and Sherpas have established the route through the Khumbu Icefall and have tagged Camp 1 at the entrance to the Western Cwm. He reports they are moving well and climbing fast.
Their Camp 1 is at 6040 meters, about 100 meters higher the normal location but it varies each season depending on avalanche danger off the West Shoulder of Everest and Nuptse to the south. He noted that the temperature at -30C/-22F.
Txikon posted on his blog:
After four stages of work equipping The Khumbu icefall yesterday that the wind gave us a window of good conditions, we ascended and spent the night at 5870 meters, in a provisional field, but as it is not the best place, today we have climbed to 6040 meters to build the C1. At the moment, we are less than 30º.
Please visit his blog for a nice selection of pictures as they set the route in the Icefall.
You can follow his movements from his GPS tracker .
Txikon is 35 years old and is joined by 28 year old Spanish climber, Carlos Rubio. Also on the team are Aitor Barez, the expedition movie director and Pablo Magister who will serve as cameramen.
Carry the Load
While Txikon is being supported by five Sherpas to set the route thru the Icefall, he is not laying back at base camp. He is actively participating as shown in pictures he is posting on Facebook of him carrying ladders.
This is quite rare and probably only realistic in a single expedition season like this one as the Icefall Doctors are quite proud of their work and will not normally accept help. Kudos to Alex for jumping into the hard work – as if climbing Everest in winter without supplemental oxygen wasn’t enough!
The weather is the foremost problem facing the team. In January, the coldest month, the summit temperature averages -36° C (-33° F) and can drop as low as -60° C (-76° F). According to the Weather Underground on February 2004 the winds reached 280 km/h or 174 mph.
Technically winter begins on December 21st or 22nd and ends on March 20th so Txikon must summit by late March to claim his winter ascent.
French alpinist Elisabeth Revol is attempting Manaslu and reports deep snow:
Strong wind, snow (2,5m of accumulation since begining of january). Each afternoon it’s snowing on BC, so it’s no simple for accli. But everything is ok. Ludo fight with the coldness and discover what mean «winter» 😉. But anyway it’s hard, but great time in mountain … alone…
This snowfall not unusual for the world’s 8th highest peak at 8163 m, 26,781 feet. It can get several feet of snow during a normal autumn climb, much less in winter.
Fellow french climber Ludovic Giambiasi has plans to climb with her but only to Camp 2 at 6,400 meters. There was no update on how high they have reached.
Best of luck to all,
Memories are Everything