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with Stefan Nestler

Commercial Everest winter expedition postponed

Everest (l.) in the first daylight

In the coming winter there will be no commercial winter expedition to the highest mountain on earth after all. The Nepalese operator “Seven Summit Treks” (SST) postponed their Everest project by one year to winter 2019/2020. “We are personally busy this year”, board director Chhang Dawa Sherpa writes to me, adding that a strong SST team will accompany the Spaniard Alex Txikon on his upcoming winter expedition to K2 in Pakistan.


Clients opted out

Alex Txikon on Everest in winter 2017

The US mountaineer and blogger Alan Arnette had previously reported, citing SST Managing Director Tashi Lakpa Sherpa, that two of the original five interested clients had opted out of the winter expedition and that the project had therefore been postponed by one year. As reported, for the first time ever an Everest winter expedition had been advertised as a commercial one. Pointing that out, Alex Txikon had given up his original plan to set off for the third consecutive winter to the highest mountain on earth to tackle it without bottled oxygen. “Well, honestly, the perspective of having a commercial expedition on the mountain has put me off,” the 36-year-old had said.

Last success 25 years ago

The mountaineering chronicle “Himalayan Database” has so far recorded only 15 Everest summit successes in the meteorological winter. For weather researchers, the cold season begins on 1 December, while the calendar winter does not start until the winter solstice on 21 or 22 December. The first winter ascent was made on 17 February 1980 by Krzysztof Wielicki and Leszek Cichy. The only one who scaled the highest mountain on earth in winter without bottled oxygen was Ang Rita Sherpa on 22 December 1987. The weather on that day was unusually good. The extreme cold in winter usually causes the air pressure in the summit region to drop even further. An ascent without a breathing mask is then at the absolute limit of what is possible.


5. December 2018 | 12:01