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with Stefan Nestler

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.

Strength management

View down from the Lhotse Face

View down from the Lhotse Face

Alex is an experienced winter mountain climber and knows that he has to manage his strength. After all, he has a very ambitious goal. Never before a climber has reached the summit of Everest in the middle of winter without the use of bottled oxygen. Ang Rita Sherpa – the only climber who has so far reached the highest point without breathing mask in the cold season – had ascended on 22 December 1987, the first day of the calendrical winter. The weather was exceptionally good then. Extreme winter cold usually makes the already low air pressure in the summit area fall even further.

Everest will be measured again

South side of Mount Everest

South side of Mount Everest

The exact height of Mount Everest is to be newly surveyed next spring. This was announced by Swarna Subba Rao, head of “Survey of India”. The expedition will begin in one month, said Rao according to the Indian newspaper “The Hindu”. The measurements will reportedly take one month, two more weeks will be needed to evaluate the data. The newspaper “The Times of India” reported that the expedition would set off only in two months. That would coincide with the beginning of the spring season on Everest. Anyway, latest in late May a new height will be published, which also could be the old one.

Shrunk or shifted?

In Nepal and India, the highest mountain on earth is still noted with an altitude of 8,848 meters, in China, since 2005, of 8,844 meters. The GPS measurement of an US expedition in 1999 resulted in an altitude of 8,850 meters. After the devastating earthquake in Nepal in spring 2015 it was assumed that Everest had shrunk by a few centimeters. Chinese surveyors, on the other hand, said that Everest had merely shifted laterally, by three centimeters to the southwest.


25. January 2017 | 14:21