Now that spring has officially arrived, the winter climbs in the Karakoram are officially over and nearly everyone has gone home. But Basque climber Alex Txikon may be the only one left in Base Camp as he patiently waits for a helicopter to finally come pick him up.
As you may recall, Alex was on Gasherbrum I where he was part of an international team that had hoped to open a new route while achieving the first winter summit on that mountain. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned and teammates Gerfried Goschl, Cedric Hahlen and Nisar Hussein all went missing on that expedition.
While those three were making their summit bid, Alex first attempted to follow along behind, but when that proved impossible, he switched his attention to the nearby Gasherbrum South. Conditions weren’t right for that summit either and ultimately he ended up back in BC. But while he struggled to make his climb he managed to catch frostbite on several fingers and toes, which would have made the trek out to civilization a lot more painful. With that in mind, he decided to stay in Base Camp and wait for a helicopter to pick him up instead, but the weather hasn’t been all that cooperative so he has waited in BC with just a skeleton support crew, while the rest of the team made their way home.
In a blog post yesterday we received word that the weather forecast called for better conditions today and they were expecting two helicopters to be sent to Gasherbrum I at last. One of those helicopters would pick-up Alex and fly him to safety while the other would conduct one last search for the missing climbers. There is no word yet on whether or not this has happened, but as you can probably imagine, Alex is anxious to head home. He has been way from Spain since December and it has been one long and trying expedition to say the least.
Hopefully as I write this he is already off the mountain, but if not it should be soon. His departure will put an end to the winter climbing coverage and now we turn to the spring season, which promises to be as active as ever.
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