2019/20 Winter Himalaya Climbs: Cold, Tough, Slow but Progress

Taking advantage of a small window of good weather progress was made on a few of the Himalayan peaks this week. More bad weather is expected later this weekend.  Meanwhile, Everest and K2 climbers have arrived in Nepal and Pakistan respectively to begin their trek to base camp. There are expeditions on K2, Everest, Broad Peak, and the Gasherbrums plus a few others.

Everest – Above Base Camp

German alpinist Jost Kobusch, age 27, has announced on his Facebook page that he will take the West Ridge. Initially, he will climb with his photographer, Daniel Hug the top of the Lho La Pass but then proceed solo. Looks like its cold at base camp slowing down progress but his tracker showed another climb on the Lho La Pass to 19,284 feet or 5878 meters. He appeared to spend the night and is exploring the area before returning to BC. A strong storm is expected later this weekend. Jost posted on Facebook:

Current weather situation at the basecamp:
60% sun / 40% very windy – 100% bloody cold. 🥶

In review, he plans on a winter, solo Everest climb without supplemental oxygen and no Sherpa support. This exact style has never been attempted or accomplished. Jost had acclimatized on other peaks including Amotsang (6,393m), Island Peak (6,186 meters) and Pachermo Peak (6,259 meters).

In Nepal for Everest

Alex Txikon is planning his third winter Everest attempt. He just finished an outing 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. He is now in Kathmandu preparing for Ama Dablam.

K2 – No Os – Team in Pakistan

Most of Mingma Gyalje Sherpa‘s Imagine Nepal team has arrived in Pakistan according to a message I received from his logistics organizer Apricot Tours.  Mingma and Gao arrived on January 8 but their flight to Skardu was canceled, as usual, but finally got to Skardu by road. They begin their trek to BC Sunday. Mingma will climb without supplemental oxygen.

Broad Peak – Camp 2 Established

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 established their Camp 2 at 6,200 meters. Urubko’s home team posted on Facebook:

Don and me did hard job just in 2 days I touch ridge 6200! We exhausted in BC.
2 days Don and me cut hundreds kg ice- ropes under 10-30cm. My arms are very strong now  road to C2 is open we are happy.

And Lotta Hintsa added on Instagram:

Hanging out in (and around) base camp until further notice, waiting for some better weather. The winds above the summit have been around 240km/h, it’s cloudy and cold, and snow is blowing wildly all around. It sounds like the mountains are roaring… This has been some good time to explore around BC and today me and @donbowie went ice climbing just a 10min walk (aka swim through snow) away

Gasherbrum Traverse – Cold and Confusing

Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger are trying to navigate the glacier and ice below the true start of the mountain.  They want to traverse the two peaks in a single push via the Gasherbrum La at 6,400 meters. Moro posted this update on Facebook:

Very cold morning at -31 but with a very clear sky and therefore the subsequent arrival of the sun luckily made the temperatures more pleasant. Today, the third consecutive working day for as many 10 kilometers of movement between the crevasses and seracs was exhausting, I would say almost mortifying. Today I pushed to the maximum in search of the final passage that would eventually take us to the plateau above the glacier and the ice fall.

We still managed to steal a few more hundred meters by crossing dangerous bridges of ice, jumping crevasses, consuming nerves and liver to advance. In the end the efforts seemed to pay off but we weren’t ready for the final surprise!

By now at the same slenderness of the Plateau, a gigantic and very deep crevasse has blocked our road and the probable joy. I looked for the narrowest point to assess a possible jump, but the distance was still too great. I estimated 2.5 m in that narrow spot, too much to do uphill and with snowshoes on my feet.

We wandered around for half an hour looking for an alternative but couldn’t find it. That crevasse cuts across the entire glacier lengthwise. The only possible solution is a metal 3 meters ladder that I remember seeing at base camp near the military camp in the middle of the Abruzzi glacier. So we’re back at base camp and tomorrow we’ll travel 8.5 km to pick it up and then we’ll carry it with us on our shoulders all the way through crevasses and seracs until the big and hopefully… the last crevasse.

Hopefully it will be long enough to cross the abyss…

And Tamara Lunger on Instagram:

Despite a beautiful day I started off very angry… and I don’t know if you ever feel this way, but then it happens that anger is only towards myself, because I should be happy in such an environment. During the cold climb yesterday at the arrival point in the afternoon, I was alone. Simone was climbing in front of me and thanks to the many hills and corners I couldn’t see him. I needed to be alone for a while, to be fascinated by the beauty of the ice crystals and to find peace again!
The thing that discouraged me the most, was that the piece we did yesterday (where I tracked) today we did in 10 MINUTES going up 😩😱
And even today, wherein my fairytale world I saw us already at Camp 1 or very close, we advanced only 150 meters 😓.
An incredibly undone glacier and every moment I felt myself walking on eggs, with fragile bridges, endless holes and white slides hiding the crevasses! Sometimes I was afraid to secure Simone as he passed the very fine bridges.
In the end, we found ourselves at a dead-end, a crack that could not be overcome. Now we hope that tomorrow the military guys will give us a ladder that we will carry to the top, to cross this difficulty in order to proceed… hoping then, that at least the G1 glacier is kinder to us 🙏🏼
And at the end of this day, I have to say THANK YOU to Simone. Although I would like to be a quiet soul I am not that good at this, because things do not go as they are in my head … etc.. He is always calm this is a characteristic that I so often envy 🙄… maybe it is old age 🤣… hopefully.

Winter 2019/20



Broad Peak, then K2?

  • Denis Urubko – on the trek

Gasherbrum I/II

  • Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger – in Pakistan

Ama Dablam

  • Zoltán Szlankó, Alex Goldfarb

Climb On!
Memories are Everything


Share this post:

One thought on “2019/20 Winter Himalaya Climbs: Cold, Tough, Slow but Progress

Comments are closed.