With winter now here, its time to review the Himalayan action for the next few months. There are expeditions planned for K2, Everest, Broad Peak, and the Gasherbrums plus a few other peaks. I’ll cover Everest and K2 in two separate posts. This is for Everest and the other planned climbs. See this post for K2.
Everest 2020 – Two Separate Attempts
There are two separate attempts. Jost Kobusch had announced he would attempt from the southside, crossing over the Lho La Pass to the West Ridge and then ascend the Hornbein-Couloir (A on this map) but this may have changed according to this article in ExplorersWeb. Meanwhile, Alex Tixkon just announced that he will lead a team from the normal Southeast Ridge route on the southside (G on this map.)
German alpinist Jost Kobusch, age 27, is currently in Nepal, preparing for his upcoming Solo Everest Winter Expedition without supplemental oxygen. He wants to be completely solo on the route citing his experience on Annapurna where he shared it with other climbers thus he didn’t consider it fully solo. But his plans may be broken again with Txikon on the same Southeast Ridge route. He says he will make a final route decision when he arrives at base camp around December 16. In this interview with Dream Wanderlust he said:
Full-fledged Expediton will start from 22nd December and will last till 29th February, 2020. I will start in the beginning of calendar Winter and I will end this expedition with the end of the meteorological Winter. I am not sure about the calendars. Some people say meteorological Winter starts on 1st December and ends on 29th February and calendar Winter starts on 22nd December and ends on 22nd March. I am just taking the tightest definition as because I believe Winter starts from end of September and ends in the month of February.
On the south side will be Alex Txikon is back for his third winter attempt. He will first go to Antarctica to explore new routes on various peaks then acclimatize for Everest on Ama Dablam. His team includes Spaniard Oscar Cardo, Nepalese Jonatan García and Sherpas Chhiji Nurbu Sherpa, Pechhumbe Sherpa, and Tenjen Sherpa.
In 2018, Alex Txikon and team made it to Camp 3 on the Lhotse Face when high winds hit them again. While it was expected for late Saturday into early Sunday morning, the anticipated window never developed. Txikon set out anyway for Camp 4 but turned around and returned to Base Camp along with the five Sherpas and Muhammad Ali Sadpara who said “We are back at base camp from C4. Very strong winds and lethal weather made it almost impossible to go for the summit.”
In 2016, he reached Camp 2 but was met by high winds. A tiny window of low winds was forecasted for 8 March but would quickly regain strength for the foreseeable future. Txikon noted winds well over 40 mph at Camp 2 with an air temp of -40F. He knew the winds would be higher and the wind chill would have been deadly so he called an end to their expedition.
Everest Winter History
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 to some controversy, the solstice in 1987 was on December 22nd at 4:45:13 and Ang Rita summited at 15:20.
There have been 21 winter expeditions with only five successful summits.
Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger will make a winter attempt on Gasherbrum I and II. They want to traverse the two peaks in a single push. The last time this was done was in 1977 by Messner and Kammerlander Moreau and Lunger were pre-acclimatizing by sleeping in a terraXcube pressure chamber since November 29. They hope to acclimatize to 6400m/20,100 feet. You can read about their technique in this article.
In March 2018, the two summited Siberia, Pik Pobeda, 3003 meters, in the Chersky Range region. It has not been climbed in winter.
Batura Sar – Training for 2020/21 K2
In preparing for a 2020/21 K2 winter attempt, Adam Bielecki, Filip Babicz, Rafal Fronia and Piotr Tomala will try the first winter at Batura Sar, an impressive 7,795 meter peak, located in the western Karakoram Pakistan
Best of luck to all.
Broad Peak, then K2?
- Denis Urubko
- Vincent Saura, Jonathan Bordes, Vadim Druelle, Tim Serra, David Sherpa
- Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger
- Adam Bielecki, Filip Babicz, Rafal Fronia and Piotr Tomala
Memories are Everything