Spanish climber Alex Txikon hasn’t given up on his dream of a winter summit of Everest without supplemental oxygen. After spending more than a week back in Kathmandu, he and his team have returned to the mountain and are now getting ready to make another attempt at the summit. The squad is well rested and ready to go, but now as March approaches the clock is truly ticking.
In a blog post on his website, Alex says that he and his teammates took a helicopter from the Nepali capital back to EBC on Saturday. The climbers went from an altitude of less than 1000 meters (3280 ft) in Kathmandu to 5250 meters (17,225 ft) in Base Camp in about an hour’s time. Thankfully, they are already well acclimated after weeks on the mountain so there wasn’t much of an adjustment upon their return.
The team has spent the past couple of days repairing their route through the Khumbu Icefall in preparation for their next summit push. That has allowed them to get back into the flow of moving on the mountain, and the route had fallen into disrepair while they were away in Kathmandu. The constant shifting of the ice in the icefall causes the ropes and ladders found there to shift or even collapse, but once the route is reestablished, they’ll start thinking about the next move.
The forecast looks promising in the days ahead, but it is unclear at this point when an actually attempt on the summit will begin. Once a path through the icefall is created, the team will be free to begin moving back up the mountain, but they’ll still need to keep an eye on the weather to ensure they have a real shot at topping out. The next summit bid is likely to be the last, so careful strategy and planning is required.
We’ll keep an eye on the team’s progress and post updates in the days ahead. It shouldn’t be long now until the definitive summit push gets underway.
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