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The big wait on K 2

K 2 Base Camp

Waiting can wear down. For more than one and a half weeks, the freak weather in the Karakoram prevented major activities on K2, the second highest mountain on earth. A week ago, Mingma Gyalje Sherpa watched from Base Camp a big avalanche, which swept down over the normal route via the Abruzzi spur at about 7,000 meters. The 31-year-old head of the Nepalese expedition operator Dreamers Destination had to give up his plan to check what damage had been caused due to bad weather. Since then, he has been waiting for a summit change at the foot of the mountain, along with his clients and Climbing Sherpas. After all, the first team members left BC today heading for Camp 1. Before, Mingma Gyalje Sherpa answered my questions.

Mingma, how is the mood in K 2 Base Camp while waiting for a good weather window? 

Date

23. July 2017 | 8:20

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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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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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Txikon abandons first summit attempt on Everest

Alex Txikon

Alex Txikon

The dream of an Everest summit success in the first run has gone. Alex Txikon has abandoned his summit attempt and returned to the base camp. “I assure you that I have not given up,” the 35-year-old Basque wrote on Twitter. On Monday, Alex had climbed along with Norbu Sherpa and Chhepal Sherpa at temperatures of about minus 40 degrees Celsius to the South Col on 7,950 meters. But there such a strong wind was blowing that it was impossible to pitch a tent. “We have decided it was not the time to challenge nature at these heights and conditions, since we are nothing in dealing with it, and we could have suffered frostbite or even worse,” Txikon wrote later from Camp 3, adding that at times, it had become a tougher battle than the summit attack of last winter on Nanga Parbat.

After two nights at above 7,000 meters Txikon turned around. Winter is far from over. Alex Txikon will get even more chances. So time to recover and to try it once again.

Date

14. February 2017 | 18:52

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Determined to make an Everest summit attempt

Alex Txikon

Alex Txikon

Alex Txikon seems to be euphoric. “I do not feel tired,” writes the 35-year-old Basque, after having descended from Everest South Col at 7,950 meters in one go to Base Camp at about 5,300 meters. “My body signals to me that we will go to the summit the next time. Soon you will have news of the attack.” Before, Alex – along with the Sherpas Norbu, Nuri, Chhepal, Phurba and Pemba – had ascended to Camp 4 for the first time during his winter expedition.

Date

6. February 2017 | 10:05

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Txikon back in Everest Base Camp

Everest Base Camp

Everest Base Camp

Alex Txikon and his Sherpa team have reached the Base camp at the foot of Mount Everest in sufficient time before the beginning of the expected bad weather period. This is shown by his GPS tracker. The 35-year-old Basque was “exhausted but satisfied and very confident to reach the summit,” the Spanish sports newspaper “Marca” reported on Saturday evening. It has not yet been confirmed how high exactly Txikon and Co. have ascended this time.

Date

4. February 2017 | 22:09

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To Everest South Col – if possible

The Lhotse flank

The Lhotse flank

Strange. Since yesterday, Alex Txikon‘s GPS tracker, which is to document his ascent on Mount Everest, has not shown any movement. Lastly, an altitude of more than 6200 meters was displayed. Afterwards nothing. I’ve asked. “Yesterday they [Alex and the Sherpas who accompany him] went up to Camp 2 (6,400 meters), where they have slept,” Gontzal Saenz from the press team of the Basque climber writes to me. According to him, the GPS tracker has not been working correctly and is showing the wrong altitude. “I think they were going to keep climbing up today.” The goal was to prepare the route from Camp 3 at 7,400 meters to Camp 4 on the South Col at 7,950 meters by tomorrow. “The weather forecasts are very bad, with very strong winds, for the next few days,” writes Gontzal. “The plan is to return to the base camp tomorrow [Saturday] and wait there for the weather to improve again.”

Date

3. February 2017 | 17:01

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Txikon on Everest: Recharging batteries

Alex Txikon along with the Sherpas Nurbu, Nuri and Chepal

Alex Txikon along with the Sherpas Nurbu, Nuri and Chepal

Taking a breath – this is what Alex Txikon wants to do not only figuratively but also literally. After six days on the mountain, the 35-year-old Basque has descended to the Base Camp at the foot of Mount Everest. “We climbed to 7,800 meters,” Alex tweeted after his return to BC, which is located at about 5,350 meters and where the air is much thicker than in the height just below the South Col. “It’s time to rest,” says Txikon. And, perhaps, to re-plan the tactics too, after his companion Carlos Rubio – as reported – had to abandon the expedition because of a lung inflammation.

Date

25. January 2017 | 14:21

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Txikon and Co. reach Everest BC

Alex Txikon in Everest Base Camp

Alex Txikon in Everest Base Camp

Ready to go. “We are already at the Base Camp,” Alex Txikon writes on Twitter from the Nepalese south side of Mount Everest.  The Basque climber and his companions have pitched their tents in the 5360-meter-high Base Camp at the foot of the Khumbu Icefall. For one week, the team had trekked from Lukla via the Khumbu region to BC. Txikon reported on dry but cold winter weather.

Date

5. January 2017 | 15:08

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Ten popular Everest errors

Mount Everest

Mount Everest

The Everest spring season is gaining momentum. The Base Camp on the Nepalese side of Mount Everest is filling. According to the government in Kathmandu, 279 climbers from 38 countries have registered for the highest mountain on earth. The Icefall Doctors have meanwhile prepared the route all the way up to Camp 2 at 6,400 meters. The teams who want to climb Everest from the Tibetan north side, have also received now their permits from the Chinese authorities and are heading to Tibet. It’s going to kick off there too. Before the media Everest season begins, I would like to correct some reoccurring errors.

Date

13. April 2016 | 12:47

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Dorje’s Everest sabbatical

Dorje Sherpa in front of his lodge in Phakding

Dorje Sherpa in front of his lodge in Phakding

Dorje Sherpa is familiar with Everest disasters. In 1996, 20 years ago, he reached the summit of the highest mountain on earth for the first time. Then he belonged to the IMAX film team of the American David Breashears, when a storm in the summit area killed eight climbers within 24 hours. “We were then in Camp 2 at 6,400 meters”, the 50-year-old tells me in his “Buddha Lodge” in the village of Phakding, which lies on the popular trekking route to Everest Base Camp.

Date

16. March 2016 | 13:08

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Tomek’s comeback?

Tomek Mackiewicz

Tomek Mackiewicz

Will his “Never again Nanga Parbat” turn into a “Now more than ever”? The Pole Tomek Mackiewicz announced that he would return to the Base Camp on the Diamir side. After their summit attempt two weeks ago, that had failed at an altitude of about 7,300 m, Tomek and his French team partner Elisabeth Revol had departed. Mackiewicz had said in an interview that after his seventh faild attempt he would definitely not try again to climb the ninth highest mountain in the world for the first time in winter and that he would perhaps even say finally good-bye to the Himalayas and the Karakoram.

Date

4. February 2016 | 16:55

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Kobusch: “I thought I would die”

jost kobuschA video of two minutes and 28 seconds has made Jost Kobusch known throughout the world in one go. It shows the huge avalanche from the seven-thousander Pumori that was triggered by the earthquake in Nepal on 25 April and devastated Everest Base Camp. 19 people lost their lives. Jost survived and put his video online on YouTube. It spread like wildfire. The 22-year-old German climber grew up near the town of Bielefeld. Talking to me, he called himself a cosmopolitan: “I travel a lot. Last year, I lived in Kyrgyzstan for six months, in Nepal for two months, in Svalbard for two month and in Japan for a month. There was not much time left for my home address.” At the end of May, Kobusch wants to return to Nepal to help where it is possible. Afterwards he will travel to Kyrgyzstan, to the village of Arslanbob, some 200 kilometers southwest of the capital Bishkek, where he plans to initiate a climbing project with local people. I talked to Jost about his experiences after the earthquake in Nepal.

Jost, what did you think this week when you heard about the new earthquake in Nepal?

I was sitting in front of my computer and received on Facebook a message from a friend who wrote: We survived. Till then I had not heard anything about it. I immediately wrote to all my Nepalese friends whether they were doing well. A friend, who normally replies promptly, did not answer, neither in the evening nor the next morning. I started to get worried. Fortunately, she replied after all. She wrote that they were now living in a tent, because it was safer. That made me a little bit nervous. I’ll soon go to Nepal. I worry about my own safety.

Date

17. May 2015 | 16:07

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Video of the avalanche that hit Everest Base Camp

The first video of the fatal avalanche from Pumori, that was triggered by the earthquake and hit the Base Camp at the foot of Mount Everest, goes around the world. Jost Kobusch, a mountaineer from Germany, recorded it. Jost is 22 years old. He was born near the town of Bielefeld. Since the age of eleven he climbs. Last year Kobusch climbed solo the 6,812-meter-high Ama Dablam near Everest. Jost earns his living as a hiking guide in the Arctic. After his military service he came to Spitsbergen. This spring, he planned to climb the 8,516-meter-high Lhotse without bottled oxygen. The fourth highest mountain in the world is the neighbor of Mount Everest. Up to about 7,000 meters climbers use the same route to climb Everest and Lhotse and of course the same Base Camp. Here is Jost’s video that Jost has turned. It literally takes your breath:

Date

27. April 2015 | 8:50

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A special kind of mountain “idyll”

Iranian climbers and their guardians

Iranian climbers and their guardians

Heavily armed police officers in the base camp – honestly, that would spoil my joy of mountaineering thoroughly. Soon these special forces are to be not only the exception but the rule in Pakistan, at least at “prestige mountains” like Nanga Parbat (8125 m), K 2 (8611 m) or Rakaposhi (7788 m) and also in much visited camps on the glaciers in the north of the country. In the region of Gilgit-Baltistan, a special “High Altitude Police Unit” was introduced this week. It consists of 50 men now and should be increased to 100 police officers later. The security forces get special clothing against the great cold and are trained by mountaineers, so that they may help in rescue operations in case of emergency. But first and foremost it is their duty to protect foreign climbers.“Because of the ongoing military offensive in the country, there is a high risk of reprisal attacks and we can’t afford to repeat any incident like Nanga Parbat”, police spokesman Mubarak Jan said.

Date

27. February 2015 | 21:11

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