As we hit mid-December, teams are on the move, in most cases, towards their winter Himalayan peaks. There are expeditions planned for K2, Everest, Broad Peak, and the Gasherbrums plus a few others.
German alpinist Jost Kobusch, age 27, is trekking towards Everest Base Camp. He is doing frequent posts on his Facebook page. In review, he plans on a winter, solo Everest climb without supplemental oxygen and no Sherpa support. But his solo plans may be broken with Alex Txikon on the same Southeast Ridge route. Originally he said he would climb the West Ridge but now has doubts on the route. Jost has been acclimatizing on other peaks so he may try for a fast, alpine-style attempt before Alex arrives. He says he will make a final route decision when he arrives at base camp.
Also on the south side is Alex Txikon who is back for his third winter attempt. But first, he’s in Antarctica to explore new routes on various peaks before going to Nepal to acclimatizing for Everest on Ama Dablam. His team includes Spaniard Oscar Cardo, Nepalese Jonatan García and Sherpas Chhiji Nurbu Sherpa, Pechhumbe Sherpa, and Tenjen Sherpa. He last reported in from Port Stanley, in the Falkland Islands.
Money Woes – Delays
The French team of Jonathan Bordes and Vincent Saura made an emotional post on their website, Saura-K2-Bordes saying they never intended to attempt to summit K2 but only to “explore the Karakorum massif in winter. Our personal initiative aims to provide information that we will share as widely as possible with the entire mountain community to allow a future French team to climb this summit.”
Jonathan Bordes was forced to leave the expedition due to medical concerns and will be returning to France in the coming days. The rest of the expedition will notably have the objective of an unlisted summit more than 5000 meters in the Nanga Parbat massif.
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 reached Skardu and will begin the trek to base camp starting in Askole hoping to arrive around December 23.
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 via the Gasherbrum La at 6,400 meters. Moro and Lunger are pre-acclimatizing by sleeping in a terraXcube pressure chamber since November 29. They hope to acclimatize to 6400m/20,100 feet before leaving for Pakistan. You can read about their technique in this article.
Batura Sar – Training for 2020/21 K2
In preparing for a 2020/21 K2 winter attempt ,Piotr Tomala,Rafał Fronia, Wojciech Flaczyński, Filip Babicz, Mariusz Hatala, Kacper Kłoda, Marco Schwidergall and Oswald Rodrigo will try the first winter at Batura Sar, an impressive 7,795 meter peak, located in the western Karakoram Pakistan. They are in Pakistan now.
Teams are flying to Union Glacier to attempt Antarctica’s Mt. Vinson. Garrett Madison of Madison Mountaineering is one of the many teams there. Also, Aconcagua is starting to get busy as are the peaks in Peru.
David Roskelley is hoping to complete his quest of climbing the highest volcano on each of the seven continents. He will be in Antarctica in January for Mount Sidley is the highest volcano in Antarctica. He has six of the seven and if he gets Sidley may be the only American to complete this list, but I can’t confirm it. The list of the seven and more information on these climbs is on James Stone’s Blog.
- Ojos del Salado – Chile/Argentina – 6,893m
- Kilimanjaro – Tanzania – 5,895m
- Elbrus – Russia – 5,642m
- Pico de Orizaba – Mexico – 5,636m
- Damavand – Iran – 5,611m
- Mount Giluwe – Papua New Guinea – 4,368m
- Mount Sidley – Antarctica – 4,285m
- Mingma Gyalje Sherpa – delayed
Broad Peak, then K2?
- Denis Urubko – on trek
- Vincent Saura, Jonathan Bordes, Vadim Druelle, Tim Serra, David Sherpa
- Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger – acclimating in a chamber
- Adam Bielecki, Filip Babicz, Rafal Fronia and Piotr Tomala
Memories are Everything