2019/20 Winter Himalaya Climbs: Cold Progress

K2 summit winds July 13, 2016. Courtsey of Dawa Sherpa Seven Summits Treks

It’s cold in the Himalaya!  Teams are fighting the conditions yet are making as good of progress as you might expect for the middle of winter. Camp 2 reached on Broad Peak. There are expeditions on K2, Everest, Broad Peak, and the Gasherbrums plus a few others.

Big Picture – Cold

The winds have calmed in the Karakorum for the moment but it’s very cold, -13F/-25C at Broad Peak Base Camp. At Everest Base Camp, it’s not much warmer, but a bit at -2F/-19C, according to the excellent online weather app, Windy. In both locations, the weekend weather calls for more snow and high winds.

Everest – Base Camp

German alpinist Jost Kobusch, age 27, is remaining at base camp according to his tracker. He had posted on Facebook that he and photographer Daniel Hug were going to 6,000 meters at the top of the Lho La Pass it looks like the big winds and cold temps turned them back.  Per the National Geographic/Rolex weather stations on Everest, the temperature is -14F/-10C at base camp. Jost appears to be very philosophical:

Fear. She’s an interesting companion. Not only here in the mountains, sometimes even in everyday situations. It can stop us from doing certain things. Sharpen our senses when we find ourselves in dangerous situations or even be an engine and incentive. It is important that it does not guide us, that it does not become the determiner of our actions and being. We can feel the fear and decide to do it anyway. The point is not to lose curiosity about the world, to keep going to our limits and beyond. Am I afraid of death? No, because I would have made every decision again the way I did. I have no regrets.

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).

Ama Dablam Base Camp

Alex Txikon and the team have arrived at Ama Dablam Base Camp. They will move to Everest for an attempt on the standard SE Ridge route after Ama. His team includes Spaniard Oscar Cardo, Jonatan García and Nepalese Sherpas Chhiji Nurbu Sherpa, Pechhumbe Sherpa, and Tenjen Sherpa.

K2 – No Os – On the Trek to BC

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa‘s Imagine Nepal team is on the trek to K2 Base Camp per logistics organizer Wajahat Khan of Apricot Tours.  Mingma will climb without supplemental oxygen. Wajahat passed on that :

They have reached Urdukas camp today. He said the snow was bad but they will reach Concordia on Sunday according to plan. Everyone include the porters are doing well.

Broad Peak – At C2 Before the Next Storm

Broad Peak First then Maybe K2

Denis has made it to Camp 2 before expecting more tough weather on January 19.  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 not attempt the summit is there to support the two climbers, but she has climbed to C1. They have established their Camp 2 at 6,400 meters. Denis sent this SMS to his home team:

I drink tea in tent C2 6400 Don e Lotta coming Weather OK but Don told bad ab 19-20 new forecast

Don Bowie posted on Instagram: (click the link to see the picture)

Denis Urubko’s image of me taking my turn attacking the ice below Camp 2 a few days ago. We spent hours and hours fixing new rope and hacking out the old stuff- the latter a most tedious and mind-numbing task, where 15 minutes of work can sometimes yield only a meter of upward progress. But perhaps the worst part is waiting your turn, shivering on your crampon points, the cold seeping in, hoping your partner will let you take your turn again up front, just so you can warm up a little.

Gasherbrum Traverse – Struggling

Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger are trying to navigate the glacier and ice below the true start of the mountain but are struggling with weather, cold, wind and now deep snow and avalanche conditions.  They want to traverse the two peaks in a single push via the Gasherbrum La at 6,400 meters. Lunger posted this update on Instagram:

The disappointment today was really great. We have the ladder and it stopped snowing, but the danger of avalanches is enormous. Spontaneous detachments from the path in the valley, which especially high up where we are in the middle of wide and deep crevasses is no joke! There are too many cases where people die from small avalanches, and we certainly don’t want to risk it!

The whole track is completely gone and so we will wait (even days) to be able to go up again in safety, guided by our Garmin watch, so that we don’t have to find another possible way again! Going down I let myself fall in the snow and I screamed (which is a good cure for anger, and here at least nobody can hear you

But as Simone said : “stay calm, we must be patient here. The mountain doesn’t need us and we don’t need the mountain!”
Analyzing this from a point of view from the outside of my fairy tale world he is probably right. God, please help us a little bit, thank you

Batura Sar – Traveling to Base Camp

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. They are in Pakistan now. The latest from their site:

Climbers flew out of the Frederic Chopin airport in Warsaw early in the morning. They will land in Islamabad on January 14 at 05:00 local time.

The first two days after landing will be devoted to organizing the caravan and arranging the necessary formalities. On January 16, the expedition will set off by car to Chilas and then to Pass. A few days trekking to the base near Batura will begin in Pass. According to preliminary assumptions, it will be built at an altitude of 4,200 meters. On the trekking route
a lot of snow has fallen in the last few days , and temperatures remain below 20 degrees Celsius.

Batura is the next stage of preparations for the expedition to K2, which is to set off for Pakistan in the winter season 2020/2021. The head of the expedition is Piotr Tomala, head of the Polish Winter Himalayan program. Rafał Fronia is the deputy head of the expedition. The expedition also includes : Wojciech Flaczyński, Filip Babicz, Mariusz Hatala, Kacper Kłoda, Marco Schwidergall and Oswald Rodrigo Pereira, who is an expedition filmmaker. Climbers should return to the country on March 10.

Batura Sar is the 25th top of the world. It was first conquered in 1976. So far, one unsuccessful attempt at winter entry has taken place (Austrian expedition, 1981). In July 1988, two Poles came to the top of this seven-thousanders: Paweł Kubalski and Zygmunt Heinrich.

Winter Ama Dablam – Trekking

Zoltán Szlankó will make a winter attempt on Ama Dablam with American Alex Goldfarb. They are now in Namache experiencing rain and snow:

Alex: We left Phakding at about 8:30 in the morning and got to Namche in about 4 hours or so, it was raining the whole day (and snowing later). Close to Namche it snow on the ground, finally looks like real winter. It is still relatively warm, but starting tomorrow seems the temperature is going to drop. We might stay in Namche for one day to dry up.

Antarctica Mt Sidely – At BC

David (Rosco) Roskelley has arrived at the Base Camp for the volcano climb. This was the update from yesterday, today the cloud moved back in so they are holding at camp.:

The Sidley team left Union Glacier at approximately 11:30am (MDT) today and landed safely at Sidley base camp at approximately 3:30pm (MDT). Roscoe said the weather is perfect at base camp, with only a few clouds in the sky.  The team anticipates starting their ascent tomorrow morning (January 14) and they hope to make it to high base camp.  They could summit as early as Wednesday (January 15), if all goes as planned. Praying the favorable weather conditions hold!

David Roskelley on Mt. Sidley Winter 2019/20

The team includes:

  • David C. Roskelley – will be the first American to complete the 7 Volcanic Summits + 7 Summits
    Andrew Hughes & Roxanne Vogel – each will only have one more volcanic summit (Damavand in Iran) to complete the 7 Volcanic Summits.
    Oleg Mezentsev – will complete the 7 Volcanic Summits – and with his recent summit of Mt. Vinson, that completes the 7 Summits for him as well!
    Vaughan de la Harpe & Arthur Madsen– will be the first South Africans to complete the 7 Volcanic Summits!
    Donald O’Connor [South Africa]
    Rob Williams [South Africa]

Winter 2019/20



Broad Peak, then K2?

  • Denis Urubko – at base camp

Gasherbrum I/II

  • Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger – at base camp

Ama Dablam

  • Zoltán Szlankó, Alex Goldfarb

Climb On!
Memories are Everything


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One thought on “2019/20 Winter Himalaya Climbs: Cold Progress

  1. Alan – further update from Mount Sidley. After 4 1/2 days at base camp the team has moved to top camp and intends making its summit attempt today, 18th January. The weather has been unusually foggy on the ice sheet. But it now seems to have cleared.

    Vaughan de la Harpe and Arthur Marsden (both South African) have also climbed the Seven Summits. Roxanne Vogel has also completed the Seven Summits this season with an ascent of Vinson.

    The remaining members of the team (the ALE guides) are Andy Chapman (UK) and Josh Hoeschen (USA).


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