The winter climbing season of 2019/20 has begun in earnest. Teams are arriving at Base Camps and some are already on acclimatization rotations. There are expeditions on K2, Everest, Broad Peak, and the Gasherbrums plus a few others.
Everest – Exploring
German alpinist Jost Kobusch, age 27, is at Everest Base Camp using it as a base to explore an alternative route to the Khumbu Icefall. Prior to his arrival he had mentioned wanting to use the West Ridge but then said the standard Southeast Ridge. Yesterday, January 1, 2020, his route tracker showed him taking a hike approaching the Lho La Pass. This from his tracker:
He is doing posts on his Facebook page with a good update today:
Lho la is a col on the border between Nepal and Tibet north of the Western CWM. It is the lowest point of the West Ridge of Mount Everest. When the Everest glaciers were much bigger than today, the pass was used as a trade route between Namche Bazaar and Tingri.🗻 Yesterday I prepared everything at the lower point of Lho la to mount a fixed rope at the rocky slope. During the solo the rope can be used for rappeling in case of emergency. But for now, it will help Daniel to film the first steps of the climb. I can’t wait to feel this rock in my hands, to get to know this new section and to take another step to slowly dissolve the unknown.🧗🏼♂️To expand my personal map. – But in a down suit, as I otherwise at -19 degrees don’t only freeze my fingers off
In review, he plans on a winter, solo Everest climb without supplemental oxygen and no Sherpa support. Jost had acclimatizing on other peaks including Amotsang (6,393m), Island Peak (6,186 meters) and Pachermo Peak (6,259 meters). Most Everest climbers, especially those not using supplemental oxygen try to reach 8,000 meters before making a summit attempt thus I would expect him at the very least to go to 7,000 meters before attempting the summit.
Mingma Gyalje Sherpa‘s Imagine Nepal effort has recieved his permit to make a winter attempt on K2. In a message exchange, he said they would arrive in Pakistan soon. They will have a local guide, Pakistani Sarbaz Khan. Minga said they had financial issues but it wouldn’t stop them. On their GoFundme site, they have raised $331 of the $75,000 goal.
New Summits in Antarctica, Then Everest
Alex Txikon is planning his third winter Everest attempt. But first, he’s in Antarctica to explore new routes on various peaks before going to Nepal to acclimatize for Everest on Ama Dablam. His team includes Spaniard Oscar Cardo, Jonatan García and Nepalese Sherpas Chhiji Nurbu Sherpa, Pechhumbe Sherpa, and Tenjen Sherpa. His posts from the ship indicates they are having a fantastic time in addition to accomplishing their goals last reported in:
Happy New Year to everyone! Sailing with Juanra and Diego towards Puerto Williams (Chile), after a few days in Antarctica climbing and bordering some of the islands that form the South Shetland. I wish you the best for 2020!
On December 26, they made the summit of what they believe was an unclimbed mountain:
Yesterday, the 26th, we opened the way to a peak that we don’t know if anyone has climbed before. The feeling is of real adventure. It is what I was looking for, an authentic environment, without transforming by the human being, in which to climb in alpine style. Soon we will tell you more about our trip to this amazing place!
Broad Peak – Rotations have begun to 5,100 meters
Broad Peak First then Maybe K2
Denis Urubko’s goal is to complete, what he considers, the first true winter ascent of Broad Peak and then, perhaps, go to K2. He is teaming with Don Bowie and Lotta Hintsa who will stay in base camp to support the two climbers. They have made one rotation to 5,100 meters and cached gear. Today they did a quick round trip to C1. Bowie posted on IG:
First day on the mountain proper for me… Denis Urubko and I reached Camp 1 on Broad Peak at 5800m in 4hrs from base camp. Not bad time considering the tough conditions. The route we set dances a delicate line between heinous, avalanche-prone snow slabs, and bullet-hard blue ice. In summer this section is quite easy and straightforward, but in winter the mountain is stripped of snow, leaving bare ice and loose rock, and pockets of unstable snow. Despite my frosted face (and looking a bit weary from nearly 3 weeks of chest infections and illness) the day was actually quite warm… ahem, I mean, relatively speaking
Gasherbrum Traverse – At Base Camp
Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger have arrived at the base camp for G I/II. They want to traverse the two peaks in a single push via the Gasherbrum La at 6,400 meters. They acclimatized to 6400m/20,100 feet using an altitude chamber prior to traveling to Pakistan. You can read about their technique in this article.
Tama Luger made this update on their progress yesterday:
Dear friends, thank you so much for being so present. Despite the fact that I am here in Pakistan I feel all your energy, prayers and thoughts so much. It was a good year for me, despite the fact that I threw all my energy into my health! But I can guarantee that even though it seems impossible or too difficult, far away or unthinkable, it is always worth fighting for your dreams or for an improvement. I have learned that whatever happens is our responsibility. But there is always the possibility to look beyond the ugly and believe it! Success is in us! I love you, thank you again and wish you a happy, enlightened, colorful, satisfying New Year 2020 in which we can see a little bit of beauty in everything.
And about their trek in:
I can’t wait to get to base camp and finally have a comfortable and pleasant fixed base. Dismantling and setting up the camp every day is a bit stressful for everyone. Tomorrow will be the day and then we should wait a few days until the good Lord allows us to leave.
Winter Ama Dablam
Zoltán Szlankó will make a winter attempt on Ama Dablam with American Alex Goldfarb. They arrive in Kathmandu onJanuary 14 and will take a month to climb the mountain. source
- Mingma Gyalje Sherpa – soon
Broad Peak, then K2?
- Denis Urubko – on the trek
- Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger – in Pakistan
- Zoltán Szlankó, Alex Goldfarb
Memories are Everything