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Jan 312022
 

Poor weather across the Himalayas continues to stall significant progress on Everest and Manaslu. Another team joins the race to create a commercial route on Cho Oyu and tragedy in Patagonia.

Nepal

There are three efforts underway, Everest via the West Ridge, Cho Oyu and Manaslu. Meanwhile, operators are already gearing up for the Everest season on the Nepal side.

Winter Everest – Poor Weather Stalls Effort

The winds just won’t let up for German climber Jost Kobusch trying a no Os solo attempt on Everest’s West Ridge. Thus far he has reached about 6464 meters above the Lho La pass. He gave this brief update with comments from his weather team. Jost seems content to wait it out. Perhaps his goal to reach 8,000-meters and not summit is taking the edge off his ambition, or maybe he’s just being smart!

“‘I haven’t seen such a long period of hurricane-force winds in either the Himalayas or the Karakoram since the winter of 2006,’ wrote the experienced Austrian meteorologist Karl, known as “Charly” Gabl […]”

It dawns on me that it could probably be a while before it makes sense to climb again. 🤔Now I have to make the most of it. I’m currently sitting in the pyramid in Lobuche at 5050 m reading “The Habit Loop” and having toast roasted in a pan

Everest has seen only 13 winter summits for 371 attempts out of the total 10,656 summits. The last winter summit, defined by Nepal and the Himalayan Database as December through February was in 1993 by a very strong Japanese team led by Hikaru Hoshino on the SW Face (Bonnington Route). Polish climbers Leszek Cichy and Krzysztof Wielicki were the first on February 17th 1980 via the South Col route with oxygen.

Please see this video interview I did with Jost a few months ago, where we discussed his plans in detail. He says his goal is to reach 8,000-meters and not the summit. You can follow him on InstagramFacebook, and an excellent 3D view of his current location on his website.

Manaslu – Some up, Some Down

Simone Moro is passing the time on other peaks outside of Kathmandu waiting for a good weather forecast before returning to Manaslu. Moro noted:

Hi guys I came to Kalinchowk which is a place 5 hours drive from Kathmandu and at 3500m. Here I can run to do some acclimatization till the top (about 4000m). This is the way to keep yourself a bit acclimatized by running up and down this staircase and doing this 500m elevation gain. The view from here is spectacular! It seems that in a few days the good weather will arrive at Manaslu, and so I will return to base camp with my friends and companions.

But it appears that Alex Txikon is on Manaslu at C1:

We have reached C1 (5,750m) !! We are very happy and motivated. The road is better than we thought. The sun and the wind have helped to consolidate the snow in the last few days …

Cho Oyu – Another Team Competes to Open the Route

Gelje Sherpa has begun his effort to create a standard, commercial route on the Nepal side of Cho Oyu but is experiencing poor weather. I remain curious why they would try to open a new route on a location that is well known for avalanche danger, especially in the winter. While it may be colder to keep the rockfall in check, the snowfall seems to be the issue now. He posted on IG:

Our climber team reached Machermo, in a small village of Khumbu region lies on the trail to Gokyo. The weather is still not good going. For the last few days, the weather seems disturbing with snowfall and the wind is pretty high. Our cook reached the base camp with 12 Yaks from Namche with additional equipment and food. But sad to say that our Kitchen boys returned back to Gokyo because the weather speed was too high to set up camp for a few days. As weather speed was above 100 knots we decided that we will wait for a few days in Gokyo before heading to basecamp. Even how hard snow and wind is hitting us, the warm gesture and hospitality of the Khumbu region and the people of the Khumbu region are making us stronger and determined to our goal. Tomorrow our team will team up in Gokyo and we will make a decision by connecting to Kathmandu.
But surely we won’t easily get moved.

Gelje’ team includes Pasang Tendi Sherpa, Lakpa Dendi, Chandra Tamang, Gesman Tamang, Tashi Sherpa,  Phuri Kitar Sherpa, Ashot Wenjha Rai and Karma Sherpa.

But Gelje is not alone. I was contacted by the support team with a press release explaining the plans of Pioneer Adventures’s Mingma Dorchi Sherpa. They are supported by the Chhewang Project and CoinGate. The team includes:

1: Mingma Dorchi Sherpa -Team leader
2: Pemba Ongchhu Sherpa
3: Pasang Dorjee Sherpa
4: Mingma Dorchi Sherpa
5: Pasang Tenji Sherpa
6: Lakpa Thendu Sherpa
7: Phurbu Kusang Sherpa
8: Karma Gyaljen Sherpa

Their goal is:

It is a well-needed route to bring the dependency on Cho Oyu from the China side and the mandatory need for the Chinese permit. The new route would provide an option to mountaineers from all around the world to summit from the Nepali side and it will also enhance tourism in Nepal along with the increase of resources and revenue to. This new route shall provide new possibilities and experiences to the adventurers who dare to summit to reach their goals.

This is identical to Gelje’s objective yet the two seem to be in competition. The Nepal side is rarely climbed due to avalanches and other objective dangers. Of the 3,923 summits on Cho, only 135 have been from the Nepal side. In any event, I wish them all safe climbs in their efforts.

Cho Oyu seen from Goyko

Cho Oyu seen from Goyko

 

Pakistan

Winter K2 at Camp 1

Taiwanese climber Tseng “Grace” Ko-Erh supported by seven support climbers through Dolma Expeditions has established their base camp and has now established Camp 1 for their winter K2 attempt. With the end of winter at the end of February using the Meteorological definition, or March 20, 2022, using the Astronomical definition, they will need to be aggressive to establish all the camps plus give Grace a chance to fully acclimatize. It can be done but I still feel that it’s an ambitious effort. See my blog post on the subject of winter definitions around the world – it’s not as simple as it appears!

They have set the route to C1, a relatively simpler task than anything higher, but still, avi danger is persistent in this area. Nima Gyalzen Sherpa posted:

Today (31st January, 2022) six of the team members moved to Camp 1 at 6 am Pakistan Standard time. The plan is to open the route till Camp 2 by tomorrow and get back to the base camp. All team members are healthy, strong and they’ve started the rotations. Team Members:

  1. Grace Tseng Tseng Ko -ehr (Taiwan)
  2. Nima Gyalzen Sherpa Nima Gyalzen Sherpa (Nepal)
  3. Ngima Tendi Sherpa (Nepal)
  4. Furu Sherpa (Nepal)
  5. Tshering Sherpa (Nepal)
  6. Ngima Dorje Sherpa (Nepal)
  7. Dawa Sherpa (Nepal)
  8. Muhammad Sharif (Pakistan)

Tragedy on Cerro Torre

Apparently, Italian mountaineer Corrado ‘Korra’ Pesce, 41,  has died in an avalanche on the east face of Cerro Torre in Patagonia. A search by a drone spotted his body thus ending the rescue part of the mission. It’s reported that he and his teammate, Argentina Tomás Aguiló were hit by rock and ice. Aguilo was able to descend and call for help.

Climb On!
Alan
Memories are Everything

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  One Response to “Winter Himalayan Climbs Fight the Weather”

  1.  

    Good round up as always alan many thanks