The autumn climbing season in Nepal continues to unfold at the moment, but some climbers are already looking ahead to the winter season. For the past two years Spanish climber Alex Txikon has made bold attempts to summit Everest during the winter without the use of supplemental oxygen, each time coming up a bit short. Speculation as to whether or not he will return for a third go is running high, but in a recent interview the climber shared the news that he is still deciding what his winter expedition will be. He also revealed that there may be a commercial team heading to Everest in the winter this year as well.
Recently, ExWeb had a chance to sit down with Txikon and inquire about his plans. At the moment, the Spaniard is playing his cards close to his vest and isn’t sharing many details about what he plans to do this coming winter. He says that Everest is still on the table but he’s considering several other options as well, including a potential attempt on K2, the only 8000-meter peak yet to be climbed in winter.
The entire interview is a good one, with Txikon discussing other potential expeditions, mentioning Kangchenjunga, Makalu, and Manaslu in the same breath with K2. It was revealed that he obtained permits to attempt K2, but only because he needed to get them three months in advance and he wanted to leave the door open just in case he decide to give the mountain a go. He also talks about the logistics of a winter climb to a degree and how much easier it is to organize an expedition in Nepal than it is in Pakistan.
But perhaps the most interesting information to come out of the interview is that Txikon’s support team for the past two years is launching a commercial expedition to Everest this winter as well. In fact, Txikon claims that Seven Summits already has signed up five climbers to join the team. That has given the Spaniard a reason to go elsewhere this winter, rather than potentially share Base Camp with another squad.
The idea of a winter commercial expedition to Everest seems like a dicey one. Summiting during the coldest, windiest, and wildest season of all will be extremely tough. Apparently however, there are at least five clients who are willing to take that risk. On the upside, the mountain will be extremely quiet and empty. But on the other hand, the fierce winds and frigid temperatures of the world’s highest peak in winter will bring dangerous conditions.
Unfortunately, at the moment we don’t know much more about this proposed winter expedition to Everest, but we’ll keep our eyes peeled for more information. It’ll be interesting to learn when it will start, who will be a part of the team, and whether or not they’ll be successful. I suppose considering how things have evolved on the mountain over the past 15 or 20 years, it should be no surprise that a winter commercial team would happen at some point. We’ll share more info when we get it.