The two expeditions left on the 8000ers this winter, both on Everest, are starting their final pushes. One is already in the midst. The wildcard, as always, will be the weather and this week’s forecast has a few short windows, but nothing ideal, especially in winter. Wind chills are consistently forecasted around -50F/C, the limit for most climbers.
Jost on West Ridge – Nearing the West Ridge, Time running out
German alpinist, Jost Kobuschh’s is at his high point for this expedition, 7,329-meters/23,750-feet at his C2 according to his tracker. But the last reported location was Saturday, February 22, at 6:16 pm and as of this post, its currently Sunday, February 23 at 2:30 am.
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 and the route have 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 push.
Txikon on Southeast Ridge – Final Push Tomorrow
Alex Txikon and team will leave base camp Monday or Tuesday for their final summit attempt targeting February 28 for the summit. They developed a new line 400-meters/1,312-feet to the climber’s left of the normal line on the Lhotse Face to minimize rockfall. Again, this rockfall and running water do not bode well for the upcoming spring season. Angela Benavides, Press Manager, sent out this release that read in part:
“The plan now is to follow this line all the way to the South Col, about 1500 meters above,” Alex said. “The route is in Good conditions, but there’s no way to set a proper Camp 3 on the way; the most we could try is to pitch one tent, if we manage to cut a ledge big enough on the ice.”
Monday, the team reached the highest point so far. “I stopped at 6,900m, according to my InReach device, but Nurbu kept going for 200 meters up a 55º steep ramp, thus reaching approximately 7,000m.,” Alex said. The climber estimates that, with the latest fixing works, the South Col could be reached in two days.
It will be on the next push up from BC, where the climbers returned for some rest and further planification. After pondering their options and studying weather forecasts, Alex Txikon is determined to try one more time. “There’s no surrender. If the weather gives us a chance, we’re going to fight for this,” he ensured.
No surrender!! If the weather give us a chance, we’re gonna fight for this! We’re ready to go, just studying the best strategy according to weather conditions. Thanks to ace Karl Gabl of Innsbruck we have the best possible forecasts, based on constantly changing models.
New Media Team
Explorer’s Web is reporting a new surprise team. Masters of public relations, Seven Summits Treks CEO Tashi Lakpa Sherpa is hopping on the media coverage of Jost and Alex. ExWeb reports:
Tomorrow, a helicopter or two will approach Base Camp with Seven Summit Treks CEO Tashi Lakpa Sherpa, together with Pasang Nurbu Sherpa, Mingtemba Sherpa and Halung Dorchi Sherpa. The last three will hurry up to the Khumbu Icefall, with a tight schedule to fulfill:
- Feb 24: Kathmandu to Everest Base camp by helicopter.
- Feb 25: BC to C2
- Feb 26: C2 to C3
- Feb 27: C3 to C4
- Feb 28: C4 reserve day
- Feb 29: Summit and back to C2
- March 1: C2 to BC and chopper back to KTM.
The expedition will do its media blitz tomorrow in Kathmandu, just before flying to Base Camp, so there are not many details yet. But if successful, the team would achieve the fastest climb of Everest in winter, ever.
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.
Everest – EBC – Stalled
K2 – Over, No Summit
- Mingma Gyalje Sherpa – Over
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
Memories are Everything