Winter Climbs 2019: K2 Summit Push Begins, First Winter Ascent in Canadian Yukon

After spending the past couple of days in southern California testing a new ebike we’re ready to get back t business here at The Adventure Blog. There has been some interesting developments in the world outdoor adventure while I was away, including updates from Pakistan on the last team standing on K2, as well as a first winter ascent in the Canadian Yukon.

Earlier in the week we reported that the Russian/Kazakh/Kyrgyatanian team on K2 has abandoned any further attempts on the mountain. The squad had made a summit push, getting as high as 7600 meters (24,934 ft) before being turned back. After a long season in the Karakoram, the squad was ready to call it quits and go home, after all the clock is ticking on the winter season and there is only one week to go before spring arrives here in the Northern Hemisphere.

That hasn’t deterred Alex Txikon and his remaining teammates however. After returning from Nanga Parbat, where he and some of the crew assisted in the search efforts for Daniele Nardi and Tom Ballards, Txikon and company have been resting up in Base Camp waiting for an opportunity to have a crack at the summit. Now, their final push is underway with a potential weather window opening before the clock stops with the arrival of spring.

Earlier today, Txikon and three Nepalese climbers made their way up to Camp 1, where they are now resting and preparing to go to C2 tomorrow. Behind them is the second wave of climbers, with Felix Criado and Ignacio de Zuloaga arriving Advanced Base Camp. Presumably, the plan is for everyone to meet at one of the higher camps –– perhaps C3 or C4 –– before pushing to the summit together. The weather conditions will ultimately dictate the schedule, but if things hold and a window does open the could potential reach the top by this weekend or early next week.

Considering spring officially begins on Wednesday, March 20, that’s cutting it kind of close. But, there still is an outside shot they could pull this off. Stay tuned for more updates over the next few days.

Meanwhile, in the Canadian Yukon, Lonnie Dupre and Pascale Marceau have completed the first winter ascent of Mt. Wood, a 4850 meter (15,912 ft) peak that is remote, snowy, and cold. The duo announced their success a few days back and are still making their way off the mountain. Reportedly, the weather conditions took a turn for the worse while descending the most technical section of the mountain so we’re waiting for updates on their successful return to BC. With this climb, Marceau becomes the first woman to make an ascent of a high subarctic peak in the winter as well.

Congrats to Lonnie and Pascale on a job well done. We are looking forward to hearing more about this journey in the future.

Kraig Becker