The list of winter mountaineering expeditions continues to get smaller and smaller this year, as one team has completely abandoned its attempt to summit a Himalayan giant, while another loses one of its climbers due to illness.
We’ll begin with an update from Elisabeth Revol, who had been hoping to summit Manaslu this winter. The last we heard from Revol and her teammate Ludovic Giambiasi they had arrived in Base Camp on that mountain, where heavy snow had been falling for the better part of the month of January. It turns out, that snow didn’t let up much, and high winds only made the experience worse. According to The Himalayan Times, the duo were able to climb as high as 7300 meters (23,950 ft) as part of their acclimatization efforts, but the weather simply didn’t cooperate enough to allow them to continue past that point. Worse yet, the long term forecasts indicate the rest of the winter could very well maintain the current weather pattern, making their attempts fruitless. Revol and Giambiasi have already depart the mountain and are on their way home.
Meanwhile, over on Everest, the team of Alex Txikon and Carlos Rubio have had their own brand of drama. Yesterday, Rubio had to be evacuated from Everest Base Camp due to a severe lung infection. The young ski-mountaineer shared a video update from a hospital in Kathmandu where he assures everyone following the expedition that all is well and that the issue isn’t serious. Still, it was bad enough that he did have to seek treatment and abandon his attempt to climb and ski Everest this winter.
While the news of Rubio’s departure is a sad one for the team, Txikon has continued climbing at a regular and steady pace. On Sunday, he reached Camp 3 at 7400 meters (24,278 ft) on the mountain, and is acclimatizing nicely so far. Unlike on Manaslu, Everest has been relatively calm thus far, with manageable winds and snowfalls. Txikon is hoping to summit the mountain without the use of supplemental oxygen and so far things are progressing about as well as could be expected.
With Revol’s withdraw from Manaslu and Lonnie Dupre’s departure from Mt. Hunter in Alaska, Txikon’s Everest expedition is the last major winter climb that we’re following this season. Hopefully it will continue to unfold in a safe manner, otherwise we’ll be waiting for the spring season for any significant news from the Himalaya.
Good luck to Alex and the remainder of his support team as the continue to press forward on the Big Hill.
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