More DW Blogs DW.COM

Adventure Sports

with Stefan Nestler

Alex Txikon’s Everest dream team

Alex Txikon in high camp on Everest

Alex Txikon in high camp on Everest

Danger welds together. When Alex Txikon returned to Base Camp after six exhausting and exciting days on the slopes of Mount Everest, he hugged every Sherpa who had accompanied him. “In this team everyone knows what needs to be done,” the 35-year-old Basque writes in his blog. The appreciation is mutual. In Alex’ words, Norbu Sherpa told him during the descent: “I believe that for more than 20 or 30 years, no westerner has done what you are doing.” Like the six Sherpas, Txikon had carried up loads of more than 30 kilograms through the Khumbu Icefall and further up.

Weaker and weaker

During the six days, there had been several critical situations. At first, Txikon’s Spanish team partner Carlos Rubio had to be flown out by rescue helicopter due to lung problems. The 28-year-old, who – like every team member – had been involved in the material transport, had suddenly become weaker and weaker. “When we walked for ten minutes, it took Carlos five times more,” Alex writes. “One more night at this height would have been very hard for Carlos and I think he would not have had enough strength to descend to Base Camp.”

With courage and luck

In the Western Qwm

In the Western Qwm

After the successful rescue operation, Alex climbed with the Sherpas Norbu, Nuri and Chhepal to Camp 3 at 7,400 meters. After an ice-cold, windy and therefore sleepless night, Chhepal descended, the other three continued their ascent. “Oh my God, what a mistake going out without sun!”, said Alex. At 7,800 meters, the trio turned around. On further descent towards Base Camp, the climbers found that on their route through the Khumbu Icefall some seracs had collapsed. With courage and luck, they made their way back and reached the Base Camp unharmed. I’ve sent Alex three questions. He replied promptly.

Alex, you have now already been at 7,800 meters. How were the conditions on the mountain and how did you feel?

The conditions on the mountain were hard. But fortunately we are a good team with six Nepali climbers: Norbu, Nuri, Chhepal, Phurba, Lakpa and Pemba. With people like them Everest is possible in winter. The conditions are hard but I am super happy with these Nepali climbers, with such an amazing team. We have to say thanks to the company Seven Summits and the helicopter crew because they did an incredible rescue mission for Carlos Rubio.

Dangerous way down

Dangerous way down

Your companion Carlos had to abandon the expedition due to health problems. Do you have to re-plan now?

Of course Carlos was an important climber. But as I told you before, the other team members are incredibly strong. The most important thing is the friendship. And with these six Nepali climbers I am super happy. We have a very good feeling. Now, of course, we need to check the next plan. Before we try to tackle the summit, we should make a meeting and speak to each other. This is the best team that could happen to me on expedition.

Are you still confident to be able to reach the highest point?

To reach the summit of Everest without oxygen is another step. We do it with passion and our biggest effort day by day. And I think that we can reach the summit. But we will see. I think we will have the possibility. But first we need to relax and to focus, to learn and understand how the winter is going on, how the wind will be. I feel positive. We will do our best, but of course we will have very few possibilities.

Alex Txikon: We can reach the summit


26. January 2017 | 13:07