The winter climbing season continues unabated in the Himalaya and elsewhere. The days are now ticking away rapidly, and with just two weeks to go in the season, the climbers on Everest are beginning to eye the finish line with the hopes of making one last summit bid before spring actually arrives. Meanwhile, in Alaska, another expedition is about to truly get underway.
Alex Txikon and his team have been on Everest since early January now, and have had all attempts to summit the mountain turned back due to bad weather. The team has seen its share of bad luck as well, with a couple of members being sent home after suffering injuries. In fact, the entire squad was recalled to Kathmandu a few weeks back, but after spending eight days in the Nepali capital, they returned to Base Camp last week to begin preparing for another summit push once again. They spent most of that time rebuilding the route through the Khumbu Icefall, but did manage to climb up to Camp 1 before going back down to BC.
It has been a very long and difficult season to say the least, and Alex and company are probably more than ready to wrap up this challenge and head home. If they have been feeling dejected in any way, it hasn’t come through in their dispatches however, and the Spaniard has always maintained an optimistic demeanor, even when things looked like they were at their worst. Still, today he received a major shot to his morale when legendary alpinist Reinhold Messner paid them a visit in Base Camp. Just judging from his dispatch it is clear how excited Alex was to meet his idol, and it may just be the shot in the arm he needed to finally get him up the mountain.
There is not indication of when the next (and likely last) summit push will begin, but with two weeks to go in the winter, time is definitely starting to run short.
Meanwhile, up in Alaska, Lonnie Dupre and his climbing partner Pascale Marceau are en route to Mt. Carpe, a 12,552-foot (3825 meter) peak located near Denali. The duo flew into their starting point on Friday and skied 8 hours pulling heavy sleds to make their first camp at Wonder Lake. Yesterday, they reached Turtle Hill after another long day, and are now about 15 miles from where they will set up Base Camp.
One of the major challenges of this expedition is the remoteness of the mountain, with the unpredictable nature of the Alaskan winter also making things tough. But, if all goes as expected, they should be on the mountain later today, and will begin the climb tomorrow, weather permitting of course.
That’s it for now. We’ll continue to keep an eye on these expeditions moving forward. It won’t be long until the curtain falls on another winter climbing season.
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