2019/20 Winter Himalaya Climbs: Only A Few Remain

Broad Peak

Cold has hampered the remaining expeditions, two on Everest and one on Broad Peak. However, this week looks better for Everest but still mind-numbing wind chills on BP.


Broad Peak

Denis Urubko was thought to go on his summit pus solo this weekend but stayed at base camp due to weather. The porters are trekking to BC to take all the gear back to Askole so his time is running out. Hopefully he will get a couple of days window of low winds to make his attempt but this forecast from Meteoexploration is not encouraging:

Denis Urubko’s goal is to complete, what he considers, the first true winter ascent of Broad Peak and then, perhaps, go to K2 within his “winter.” He was teaming with Don Bowie and Lotta Hintsa but both have left the expeditions, Bowie, due to illness. Bowie gave this update on IG:

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY FOR THE CORRECT DETAILS. This video was taken on Broad Peak yesterday morning at 6900m as I descended the mountain for the last time.Throughout this entire expedition I fought every day as hard as I could, climbing in the bitter cold day in and day out, staying commited and focused and determined to summit. However, I did not mentioned it here on Instagram, but ever since my early chest infections my coughing has become worse and worse. Each night my lungs became more congested, my coughing fits more frequent and violent. Yesterday, at Camp 3, I finally threw in the towel and quit this expedition. I had to get some medical attention- enough is enough- and I need to think about my future health. Denis and I climbed back.down to base camp, and I called my insurance company and explained the situation. They immediately sent a helicopter and flew me out. I am now at the hospital, and x-rays confirm that I have been operating for sometime now with bronchial pneumonia- the doctor says I have likely had it the entire expedition- a result of the early infections. For now, I’m just grateful to be down and getting treatment. Other quick details with more info later: 1) I do not and never have had HAPE. Period. In base camp I thought it was bronchitis. But it’s pneumonia. 2) There are storms and high winds forecast for (at least) the next 12 days making summit improbable before then. 3) Denis remained on the mountain to try again. GO DENIS WE ARE CHEERING FOR YOU!!! 4) @lottahintsa assessed the weather situation and determined to also leave the expedition- she told me she will post updates on her profile starting tomorrow. 5) I will post more in the days to come, but for now I just want thank each one of you for following us on this expedition- all your encouragement really means the world to me. Thank you and stay tuned for lots of pics and video now that we have proper WIFI. Don-

As did Hintsa on IG:

Part of the process of ending an expedition and staying sane (it’s quite a shock to be back in civilization) is analyzing the expedition, learning and moving your focus onto the next one. Here I’m gonna list some of the most awesome things that just happened!
❄️ I had the chance to climb with two of the best climbers in the world, Denis Urubko and @donbowie , watching them, asking questions, learning and trying to keep up with them. (Btw, Denis is still in BC, and with his experience he might have the chance to summit. Cheering on you, Denis!!!) ❄️ Winter climbing teaches you so much more than summer climbing. Four words: Hard. Blue. Steep. Ice. For hundreds of vertical meters that you climb up and down, over and over again. ❄️ Having to climb straight from BC to C2 in winter conditions. Tough but rewarding, a good test! ❄️ EDIT: at least the guys didn’t know any other woman that had been this high in winter Karakoram, but we found out from @montagnamagica that Tamara Stys had been at 7250m on Gash I! Huge respect woman!! (Nanga Parbat is part of Himalaya) ❄️ Definitely expanded my comfort zone. ❄️ And additionally I am forever grateful for the awesome BC team we had!! Mohsin, Jahved and Ali Abas, thank you for taking so good care of us, for providing good food and some kerosene warmth! Tajamul, our liaison officer, thanks for watching after us! ❄️ I think I’m in a pretty awesome place to start training for the next big expedition


The big picture is that the cold and wind have kept climbers at Base Camp for the past few days but according to the app Windy, this week will see highs in the teens (15F/-12C) with low winds thus this might be a great week to make progress.

Txikon on Southeast Ridge – At EBC

Alex Txikon and team are staying at EBC after reaching 6500 meters near the base of the Lhotse Face. Txikon’s posted this update on Facebook and Twitter

The night falls over Base Camp and temperatures reach -25°C. We shoot sunset pictures at the first hours of a cold, starred night, expecting the camera to start freezing… but it keeps working!

His team includes Spaniard Oscar Cardo, and Nepalese Sherpas Chhiji Nurbu Sherpa, Pechhumbe Sherpa, and Tenjen Sherpa. You can follow him on his tracker.

Jost on West Ridge – At EBC

German alpinist Jost Kobusch, with his foot healing, appears to be staying at basecamp. 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. You can track his location on this excellent map from 3D Reality Maps.

Batura Sar 

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 are attempting the first winter at Batura Sar, an impressive 7,795 meter peak, located in the western Karakoram Pakistan. The latest from their site:

On Sunday, February 9, a three-man team of the Polish Winter Himalayan trip to Batura program set up Camp II at an altitude of 5930 meters above sea level. All participants of the expedition have already spent the night above 5000 meters.

Snow Leopard

The Snow Leopard title is reserved for climbers who summit all five 7000ers in the former USSR. There have been 700 successes since 1961 but none in the winter until this past weekend.  The peaks are in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan: Khan Tengri (7010 m), Peak Pobiedy (7439 m), Peak Korżeniewska (7105 m), Ismail Samani Peak (Peak Kommunizma, 7495 m) and Peak Lenin (7134 m). On February 8, Sergei Seliwierstow and Alexei Usatych summited Ismail Samani while Mikhail Daniczkin climbed the Korżeniewska (7105 m). Congratulations to all. source

Carlos Soria

News broke over the weekend that 81-year-old Carols Soria will return to Dhaulagiri Sping of 2002 for his 11th attempt to summit. As most people who follow mountaineering know, he is trying to summit all of the 8000ers and only has Dhaulagiri and Shishapangma remaining. Best of luck to Carlos.

Winter 2019/20



Broad Peak

  • Denis Urubko – Base Camp

Batura Sar 

Ama Dablam

  • Zoltán Szlankó, Alex Goldfarb – Summitted

Gasherbrum I/II – Over

  • Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger – Over

Climb On!
Memories are Everything



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4 thoughts on “2019/20 Winter Himalaya Climbs: Only A Few Remain

  1. Great update Alan, nice to read that Carlos Soria is taking another go at Dhauligiri. Hopefully this time he will take his 13th. Another topic, last year Alex’ team build igloos on K2 base camp. I assume there is not a possibility for that on EBC (not enough snow?). Any chances he will repeat building that on a higher camp. Or is that to cold to windy? I Always notice above the Lhotse face there is a pretty flat camp with lots of snow.

    1. I know that Pete Boardman, Tasker and the Burgess twins built ice caves when attempting the same route as Jost (Also in winter)…so in theory it would be feasible.

    2. Probably not worth the effort given they don’t spend a lot of time At those high camps, especially in winter, as compared to base. But he’s gotten fast at building them so maybe.

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