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Txikon leaves Everest, Urubko K2

Txikon ends his Everest winter expedition

One and a half weeks in Africa including the ascent of the 5895-meter-high Kilimanjaro lie behind me. High time to look at the two winter expeditions on Mount Everest and K2. Because they provided plenty to talk about, especially the expedition on K2. First, however, to the highest of all mountains: As he had already done in 2017, the Spaniard Alex Txikon abandoned his attempt to scale Mount Everest in winter without bottled oxygen. A summit attempt last week ended at 7850 meters, just below the South Col, because the cold was much more severe and the wind significantly stronger than predicted.

Date

28. February 2018 | 23:53

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Bad weather slows down winter expeditions

Ascent via the Abruzzi route on K 2

“The weather is not the best,” Krzysztof Wielicki, leader of the Polish K2 winter expedition, writes on Facebook. “Full of clouds and wind.” Denis Urubko ascended via the Abruzzi Spur to an altitude of 6,500 meters to check the condition of the route. Some old ropes are to be replaced, says Wielicki. The Polish climbers  had abandoned “for reasons of safety” their original plan to climb the Basque route (also known as the Cesen route). Previously Adam Bielecki and Rafal Fronia had been injured by rockfall. While Bielecki is able to continue, Fronia had to cancel the expedition because of a broken forearm.

Date

13. February 2018 | 17:24

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Moment of shock for Adam Bielecki on K2

It worked out well in the end

“Eh, that was close,” Adam Bielecki writes on Facebook from K2 Base Camp. “Several dozens of meters below camp 1 [at 5,800 m]  I was hit by a big stone. The result is a broken nose and six stitches, which were professionally put by Piotr Tomala and Marek Chmielarski directed by phone instructions from Robert Szymczak. In a few days I should be back in a perfect condition.” Previously, Krzysztof Wielicki, the leader of the Polish winter expedition on the second highest mountain on earth, had reported that Bielecki had been injured on the forehead and nose, although he had worn a helmet. Wielecki emphasized that the 34-year-old had not lost consciousness and was still able to descend to the base camp: “We hope that he will soon be back to full strength.”

Date

7. February 2018 | 16:45

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Decision on Nanga Parbat postponed, Urubko in Camp 2 on K2

Tomek Mackiewicz on Nanga Parbat

Do you already have aching muscles from keeping fingers crossed? Your pain could become even stronger. Because the summit bid of the Pole Tomek Mackiewicz and the Frenchwoman Elisabeth Revol that was expected already for Sunday is delayed. “We are in Camp 3, (it’s) windy (with speeds of)  about 100 km/h,” Tomek is quoted today on his Facebook page. “Tomorrow Camp 4, summit push (on) 25 January. Good weather (is expected for) that day.” In fact, the weather forecast for the summit at 8,125 meters predicts for Thursday the lowest wind speeds this week: between 15 and 25 km/h. Assuming this forecast is correct, it will be almost calm, however with minus 42 degrees Celsius quite cold, some clouds are expected. Mackiewicz and Revol climb without bottled oxygen.

Date

22. January 2018 | 14:53

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Summit bid on Nanga Parbat, Txikon on top of Pumori

Nanga Parbat

It’s time for the Pole Tomek Mackiewicz and the Frenchwoman Elisabeth Revol this Sunday. According to Polish media information, the two climbers wanted to start at 2 a.m. local time (Saturday 10 p.m. CET) from their last high camp at 7,200 meters towards the summit. It will be their first and last attempt, it said. For Sunday, clear weather with temperatures of minus 33 degrees Celsius and wind speeds of about 60 kilometers per hour is expected for the highest point of Nanga Parbat at 8,125 meters. Mackiewicz and Revol are climbing without bottled oxygen.

Date

20. January 2018 | 22:16

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Summit attempt on Nanga Parbat?

Elisabeth Revol (l.) and Tomek Mackiewicz on Nanga Parbat

“We are acclimatized. We’ll try to reach the summit.” Tomek Mackiewicz is quoted on his Facebook page with these words. After about two weeks of strong winds, the weather on Nanga Parbat had improved, the conditions were good, it said. Tomek and his climbing partner Elisabeth Revol probably set off today towards their material depot at 6,700 meters.

Date

18. January 2018 | 15:22

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Camp 2 reached on Everest, storm on K2 and Nanga Parbat

Alex Txikon in Everest high camp (in the background on the right Pumori)

Alex Txikon is pleased with the progress made so far on his winter expedition on Mount Everest. On Sunday, the Spaniard and five Sherpas ascended from the base camp on the previously prepared route through the Khumbu Icefall, slept in Camp 1 at 6,050 meters and reached Camp 2 on Monday. “I am very happy, I did not think for a moment that we were going to reach Camp 2 at 6,500 meters in just one day and with a small team of only six people,” says the 36-year-old.

Date

16. January 2018 | 13:03

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Everest winter expedition: On the double to Camp 1

Alex Txikon in the Khumbu Icefall

This went fast. In just four days, the Spaniard Alex Txikon and the Sherpas Tenzing Gyalzen, Gelje, Cheppal, Walung Dorji and Pasang Norbu have completed the route through the Khumbu Icefall and reached Camp 1 at 6,050 meters. “Great job, we are very happy,” says Alex, adding that it was really hard work, each of them had carried between 25 and 35 kilos. The 36-year-old Basque points out that it took the six climbers five days less for this first major task than his team during the failed winter attempt in 2017 – despite the fact that at that time eleven, i.e. five more expedition members had been involved in the work. “The route through the icefall is very complex and required our full concentration,” says Alex. According to his words, he had searched together with the “Icefall Doctor” Gelje Sherpa for the ice areas with the lowest risk of collapsing.

Date

12. January 2018 | 0:01

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Winter expeditions: Just ahead, above and far above base camp

Polish K2 team at Concordia

Three winter expeditions to eight-thousanders, three different phases. In Pakistan, the Polish team led by Krzysztof Wielicki today reached Concordia after trekking over the Baltoro Glacier and is expected on Tuesday to pitch their tents in the base camp at the foot of K2, the last remaining unclimbed eight-thousander in winter. Already six days ago, the Spaniard Alex Txikon, the Pakistani Muhammad Ali “Sadpara” and their Nepalese Sherpa team had reached the base camp on the south side of Mount Everest. They are fixing a route through the Khumbu Icefall. Like last year, Alex participates in the work (as the video below shows).

Date

8. January 2018 | 17:13

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Txikon to Everest, Lunger and Lunger to Siberia

Lunger, Moro, Ali, Txikon (from r. to l.) on Nanga Parbat in 2016

I was wrong with my guess. The dream team of Nanga Parbat 2016 will not be together on Mount Everest this winter, but will go their separate ways. Today, the Spanish climber Alex Txikon announced that he would try together with the 41-year-old Pakistani Muhammad Ali “Sadpara” to scale the highest mountain on earth without bottled oxygen. The other two members of the Nanga summit team, the Italian Simone Moro and the South Tyrolean Tamara Lunger, are drawn to freezing cold Siberia.

Date

22. December 2017 | 17:11

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Lunger/Moro: A meeting with the Pope – and then?

Tamara Lunger (l.) and Simone Moro (r.) with Pope Francis

On Thursday, the (calendrical) winter begins – and thus the question rises again: Who will try to climb which mountain in the cold season? A top-class Polish expedition led by veteran Krzysztof Wielicki will attempt to climb K 2, the last remaining eight-thousander which has not been scaled in winter so far. The Pole Tomek Mackiewicz and the Frenchwoman Elisabeth Revol are said to have already arrived in Pakistan in order to return to Nanga Parbat.

And what’s about the South Tyrolean Tamara Lunger and the Italian Simone Moro? Both are considered as extremely “winterproof”. The 50-year-old Simone has four first winter ascents of eight-thousanders on his account (Shishapangma in 2005, Makalu in 2009, Gasherbrum II in 2011, Nanga Parbat in 2016). The 31-year-old Tamara and Moro tackled in vain Manaslu in winter 2015. A year later on Nanga Parbat, Lunger had to turn back only 70 meters below the summit, because she felt bad. In this Advent, Lunger and Moro already had a summit meeting: with the Pope. I contacted Tamara:

Tamara, two professional mountaineers (Simone and you) took a selfie with Pope Francis, how did that happen?

Date

20. December 2017 | 11:19

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Txikon’s last Everest summit attempt is on

Alex Txikon on Everest

It is a race against time. Another storm front is approaching Mount Everest. The meteorologists expect the small weather window with relatively favorable conditions in the summit region to remain open only until Wednesday and then close for a longer period of time. Therefore Alex Txikon, who wants to climb Everest in winter without bottled oxygen, has to push now. In two weeks, the meteorological winter will end. On Monday, the 35-year-old Basque and his five-man strong Sherpa team climbed up to Camp 2 at 6,400 meters. Today Txikon and the Sherpas Nuri, Gesman, Temba, Sanu and Pasang Nurbu want to reach the South Col at 7,950 meters. All Sherpas use supplemental oxygen. Three weeks ago, Txikon’s first summit attempt had failed on the South Col. “We hope to reach the summit on Wednesday ,” Alex said.

Date

7. March 2017 | 11:26

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Route via the Khumbu Icefall is prepared

Hard work in the Khumbu Icefall

Once more it is served on Mount Everest. For three days, the Basque Alex Txikon, six Sherpas and two “Icefall Doctors” worked to restore the route via the Khumbu Icefall up to Camp 1 at more than 6,000 meters. 60 percent of the route had to be renewed, because the hard weather conditions of the past two weeks had left their mark in the ice labyrinth, the team of the 35-year-old Spaniard said. “It has been hard days refitting the route,” Alex noted on Facebook. After today’s rest day, Txikon and Co. want to ascend tomorrow to Camp 2 at 6,400 meters.

Time to grind the teeth

Alex Txikon

“I know that every time I go up, my strength is decreasing and therefore the chances of summit too,” Alex wrote in his blog. “But I’m a bit stubborn and I like to climb and fight it. It is time to grind my teeth.”

As reported, Txikon had had to interrupt his winter attempt involuntarily because the Nepalese expedition operator Seven Summit Treks had ordered the entire team back to Kathmandu after the failed first summit attempt. On Saturday, Alex had returned to the Everest Base Camp by helicopter.

Date

1. March 2017 | 12:23

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Txikon back on Mount Everest

Back to Everest by helicopter

“Back to the adventure!”, Alex Txikon wrote on Twitter. After eight days in the Nepali capital Kathmandu, the 35-year-old Basque has flown back to Mount Everest by helicopter. “We are already at the Base Camp at 5,250 meters, with very good sensations,” said Alex. “Despite having lost weight and having worked hardly, I am physically still very strong.” According to Alex’ words, it’s still sunny and windy at the top of the mountain, as it had been since the beginning of the expedition in early January. Already on Sunday, Txikon wants to climb up with his Sherpa team to check their previous route through the Khumbu Icefall up to Camp 1 on 6,050 meters and if necessary to repair it or to relocate the way through the ice labyrinth.

Date

25. February 2017 | 16:27

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Expeditionary arrhythmia

Alex Txikon in Everest Base Camp

Expeditions can also get out of the rhythm. For example, if a long bad weather period thwarts all plans or if unpredictable things happen such as illnesses or injuries. Alex Txikon‘s Everest winter expedition, however, has stuttered for another reason. After the failed first summit attempt, the Nepalese agency Seven Summits Treks, with whom Txikon cooperated, yesterday ordered surprisingly to break immediately the Base Camp and return. This decision was “unilateral”, the team of the 35-year-old Basque said. Alex was quoted as saying, “I do not want to leave Everest.”

Date

16. February 2017 | 19:02

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