2019/20 Winter Himalaya Climbs: Only Two Left

Lhotse Plume

Only two teams are left on the 8000ers this winter, both on Everest and both are struggling. Both suggest one more attempt to get as high as possible before ending their efforts. While the temps have been cold and the winds high, there is running water at Everest Base Camp, a warning sign for the spring season. Denis Urbuko ended his winter Broad Peak effort and his 8000er career.


Jost on West Ridge – Potentially nearing the End

German alpinist Jost Kobuschh’s last trip from EBC to his C1 was disappointing and he feels he may be near the end of this ambitious effort. He told reporters he will end his effort by February 29. In review, he is attempting 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.

He had this update Tuesday, February 21, 2020, on Facebook:

Scanned the mountain and alternative routes through a large zoom objective a few days ago and found that my plan C has more optical illusions than good climbing passages. With light snowfall I am now in camp one and will make my last and final attempt on the heavily icy route I explored last time in a 17-hour pus

Txikon on Southeast Ridge – 5 Days at C2

Alex Txikon and team spent 5 days at C2, fighting high winds. They made some progress up the Lhotse Face but were stopped by wind and more critically, rockfall and returned to EBC. They suggest one more attempt in a few days. Of serious concern is that Txikon commented that there was running water from the Khumbu Glacier in Base Camp, and this is in February when everything should be frozen. This does not bode well for the upcoming spring climbing season. We can anticipate significant rockfall in addition to avalanche danger. Txikon’s posted this update on Facebook:

Conditions were extremely tough and we had been up there for five days already. We’ll tell you more as soon as we’ve got some rest.

And previously on Feb 17:

Today we’re staying put in C2, battling the wind, but we’ve got food for days and a solar panel. We’ll go for the Lhotse Wall tomorrow. Should we reach the Yellow Bands (7600m), we would be ready for a summit push in the following days. There’s only 4 of us but we’re strong and determined.

Batura Sar

This team, prepping for K2 next winter is having a difficult time:

Partially destroyed Camp I and the buried route to Camp II – are the result of a weather crisis lasting over a week under Batura Sar.

On Tuesday, February 18th, after an over a week break, Wojciech Flaczyński, Mariusz Hatala and Kacper Kłoda went up. They reached the CI after about 9 hours of paving in deep snow. One of the tents was completely destroyed, the other was saved, despite the thick layer of snow covering it.

After a night at 5100 m. a.s.l., the team headed towards CII. Unfortunately, deep snow, high avalanche danger and visibility limited to several meters forced climbers to retreat to the Base Camp. “We were aware of the weather collapse had wreaked havoc up and temporarily stop our activities, but we did not expect such heavy snowfall. In addition, the action is hampered by dangerous avalanche conditions.” says expedition leader Piotr Tomala. “Over the next few days we will work on restoring the way to Camp II. Then we can plan further action, “he adds.

Denis Urubko Ends 8000er Career, “Enough”

Denis Urubko ended his Broad Peak summit bid due to avalanches with a post that said “Enough” but he meant more than just BP. He confirmed his intent signaled before going to BP that this would be his last 8000er.  He is a legend in high-altitude climbing. During his career, he had 19 summits of the 8000ers and became the 8th person to climb all 14 without supplemental oxygen. In recent years, he participated in multiple rescues of fellow climbers, saving several lives.

Winter 2019/20

Everest – EBC – Stalled

K2 – Over, No Summit

Broad Peak – Over, No Summit

  • Denis Urubko – Over

Batura Sar – fighting Snow

Ama Dablam – Multiple Winter Summits

Gasherbrum I/II – Over, No Summit

  • Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger – Over

Climb On!
Memories are Everything



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2 thoughts on “2019/20 Winter Himalaya Climbs: Only Two Left

  1. Thanks Alan!
    The solo effort with no oxygen or Sherpas was fascinating to me. Glad he’s still safe even if he didn’t complete it. His big dream is inspiring

    1. Definitely. Jost is an inspiration to me. He has kept such a positive attitude through tough conditions and his goal being really hard to achieve. I know he says that he has a very small chance to summit, and that this is a learning experience above all else, but dang I was really rooting for him to succeed. I admire that he set out a plan to do things his way and has stuck to it. I hope he learns what he needs to, and will be successful on his future attempts. I will be following Jost from now on.

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