The Broad Peak team, that includes Artur Hajzer, Robert Szymczak and Don Bowie are already in Pakistan, and have made their way to Skardu where they are awaiting an airlift to the mountain. If weather conditions hold, they’ll catch a ride, via helicopter, to base camp on Thursday (Dec. 18), where they’ll set up shop and wait for winter to officially begin on the 21st, before beginning the climb itself.
Meanwhile, the Czech team that will attempt Manaslu in winter has already come and gone from Kathmandu, and are now within sight of their mountain. They note that they can see the summit from their lodge, and they are eager to get started, although once again, they will wait until the actual start of winter to begin the climb.
In recent years it has become a bit of a controversy over what exactly constitutes a “winter climb”. There have been some mountaineers who have started their acclimatization and climb up the mountain before winter officially arrives, only to reach the summit on the 21st of 22nd of December. Some in the mountaineering community publicly criticized these climbs saying they were not done in “true winter”. The men setting out to bag these summits are aware of that controversy and want to remove it from the picture altogether, but waiting until the winter solstice has passed before getting underway.
There are a couple of other winter climbs on 8000m peaks scheduled to start in a few weeks as well, with attempts on Makalu and Nanga Parbat gearing up to get underway soon. I’m sure we’ll here a lot more about all of these in the days ahead.
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