December 21, the winter solstice, is considered the beginning of winter, so let the race begin. Momentum is picking up with the first climber at Everest Base Camp, potentially, but unlikely, looking at a summit attempt this upcoming week. There are expeditions planned for K2, Everest, Broad Peak, and the Gasherbrums plus a few others.
Everest – At EBC
German alpinist Jost Kobusch, age 27, has arrived at 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. Jost has been acclimatizing on other peaks including Amotsang (6,393m), Island Peak (6,186 meters) and Pachermo Peak (6,259 meters) so he may try for a fast, alpine-style attempt now that he is at EBC. However, 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.
It’s unclear on his exact route. At one time he said he wanted to use the West Ridge but then said the standard Southeast Ridge. He says he will make a final route decision when he arrives at base camp. Also, the weather is hideous. From the NatGeo weather station at the South Col, it reports temperatures of -30C/-22F and wind gusts at 18 m/s or 40 mph. This would put the windchill at -50C/-60F. Earlier this week, the winds were gusting to over 90 mph or windchill at -57C/-70F.
This is Jost’s most recent post on Facebook:
Let´s get STARTED!!Today is not only the calendrical beginning of winter, it is also the official start of the Everest expedition. We are already in the base camp – quite windy here. Therefore, I have weighted my tent with stones. The route up to 7200 meters looks very good, the conditions are better than expected – at least for now. Do you want to know exactly where I am right now? With this link – https://jostkobusch.com/de/live-tracking#g-showcase – you can follow me in 3D live tacking. Otherwise I wish you and your families a happy 4th Advent and a merry Christmas!
As he said is his post, you can track his progress on his tracker:
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, Jonatan García and Nepalese Sherpas Chhiji Nurbu Sherpa, Pechhumbe Sherpa, and Tenjen Sherpa. He last reported in:
We are already arriving, like tomorrow we make first eye contact with Antarctica, we are 200 miles【322 km】 away and the nights begin to disappear. We’re already arriving, maybe tomorrow first visual contact with Antarctica, we’re about 200 miles【322 km】 【322 km】 away and the nights begin to disappear.
K2 – Hopes
Money Woes – Delays
Mingma Gyalje Sherpa‘s Imagine Nepal effort has been postponed to January due to a lack of funds. They are currently on Acocangua acclimatizing and training. I contacted Mingma while he was on Acocangua and asked if he thought his K2 attempt would continue. This was his reply:
Namaste Alan, we will not quit our winter project because lack of fund. We are all prepared to go for K2 in 2020 this winter.
Broad Peak – Trekking to BC
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. Bowie posted on IG:
Denis Urubko, and I arrive with our small support team at Joula camp. It will take at least another 5 days to reach Broad Peak base camp- if the snow around Concordia is not too deep, that is. We are in good spirits despite Denis and I both fighting fevers and coughs due to some nasty flu-like bug, but still it’s amazing to be in the Baltoro again during winter.-
Gasherbrum Traverse – In Pakistan
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. They have arrived in Pakistan after Moro and Lunger after pre-acclimatizing by sleeping in a terraXcube pressure chamber since November 29. They tried to acclimatize to 6400m/20,100 feet. You can read about their technique in this article.
- Mingma Gyalje Sherpa – delayed
Broad Peak, then K2?
- Denis Urubko – on trek
- Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger – in Pakistan
Memories are Everything