Alex Txikon’s team is leaving Everest Base Camp for their highly anticipated winter summit attempt. They will first go to Camp 2 then wait for the optimum weather sometime between February 14th and 18th.
He is climbing with Aitor Barez, the expedition movie director and Pablo Magister who is the cameramen. The expedition is being supported by Seven Summits Treks. There have been Sherpas climbing with them – 2 ice doctors: Nima y Ghense, Seven Summits Sherpas: Norbu, Nuri, Chhepal, Furba, Lakpa yPemba. Txikon said earlier about the Sherpas who will join him on the summit push and the use of oxygen:
Norbu has climbed it 7 times, Nuri 3. But they would love to do it in winter, so we tighten the teeth and all to a van. We are progressing and gaining meters. The three climb without using artificial oxygen.
Txikon is climbing without supplemental oxygen.
There is some concern that Txikon has only tagged, not slept, at the South Col or 8000 meter as most no O’s summiters have in the past. However, he has shown amazing strength already plus his performance on Nanga Parbat last winter was astounding.
He posted on his Facebook page:
THE LONG-AWAITED MOMENT HAS ARRIVED AT LAST! Tomorrow, February 10th, we leave for the Second Camp. Hopefully the hurricane wind of these days, has not caused too much damage in our hard equipment. From February 14th to 18th a window of good weather is foreseen, so I will inform you of the day that nature gives me the strength to try to reach the highest dream of the planet. Now more than ever, I need you here with me.
Once they depart Camp 2, it should take 36 to 48 hours, more or less, to summit and return to Camp 2. Visit Txikon’s blog for a nice selection of pictures and his dispatches. You can follow his movements from his GPS tracker .
The winds have been quite high, hurricane force over 70 mph, on the summit. Most teams will not climb above the South Col unless the winds are under 30 mph. With Txikon not using supplemental oxygen, the risk of getting cold and suffering frostbite is extremely high, so he will carefully watch the winds.
As this forecast shows, the SUMMIT winds are forecasted to abate over the next few days. This is the latest from the computer model from Mountain Forecast for the summit of Everest:
History of winter Ascents
A paltry 0.2% of all summits since 1953 have occurred in the winter.
The Himalayan Database reports that the last successful winter summit was in 1993 and the only previous summit without supplemental oxygen was by Ang Rita Sherpa in 1987. Technically winter begins on the winter solstice on December 21st or 22nd and ends on March 20th.
To add some controversy, the solstice in 1987 was on December 22nd at 4:45:13 and Ang Rita summited at 15:20. Some articles position Txikon as the first winter, no supplemental oxygen summit, if successful, others note Ang Rita’s winter, no Os winter summit.
Regardless, his success will go into the history books.
There have been 21 winter expeditions with only five successful summits:
Again, follow their ascent from his GPS tracker. Warning, this system has been somewhat unreliable throughout their climb.
Best of luck to Alex and team. The whole mountaineering world is pulling for their safe ascent, summit and return.
Memories are Everything