German climber Jost Kobusch has set some big goals for himself on his upcoming expedition to Everest. Not only does he want to scale the mountain solo and without oxygen, but he plans to do so during the winter as well. To that end, he’s already preparing to travel to Nepal, where he expects to spent the next three months acclimatizing in the Himalaya in preparation for this massive undertaking.
I’ve been hearing rumbling of Kobusch’s plans for a couple of weeks know, but hadn’t been able to find much in the way of details. Even his website, which mentions the winter solo ascent and offers a link to “read more” only presents a blank page with a standard “404 Article Not Found” error message. Fortunately, Jost has shared some of this plans with Stephen Nestler at the Adventure Mountain blog, giving us a peek into what he expects on this upcoming expedition.
As stated, he plans to climb the world’s highest peak without the use of bottled oxygen. He’ll go solo, which means no Sherpa support of any kind, and will make the attempt in winter. Kobusch says that to use oxygen or Sherpas would be cheating and that isn’t what this expedition is all about.
He also says that he will begin the climb at the start of calendar winter (December 21) and finish at the end of meteorological winter on February 29 since 2020 is a leap year. He tells Nestler, “The beginning of December and March doesn’t feel like winter for me.”
In order to prepare for the challenges he’ll face on Everest during the coldest and harshest season of the year, Jost will actually head to Nepal next week to begin his acclimatization. He expects to climb both a 6000- and 7000-meter peak on his own in preparation for the main event. Once he’s ready, and winter has properly arrived, he’ll head to Everest, where his route won’t be an easy one.
Rather than taking the standard South Col route to the top, he’ll instead attempt to go over the Lho La Pass into Tibet, then up the West Ridge, through the Hornbein-Couloir, and on to the summit. This is a seldom climbed route because of its difficult, and it will be made all the more challenging solo and without oxygen. Kobusch says that going this way will allow him to go around the Khumbu Icefall and avoid using anyone else’s ladders and route, should anyone else be in Base Camp on the South Side. He also says that as a solo climber, he wouldn’t be able to tackle the icefall by himself anyway.
In the article linked above, he answers a number of big questions about the expedition, including how light he plans to travel, why he chose Everest for his first winter 8000-meter peak, the level of risk he expect to take, and much more. There is a lot crammed into this story, and it will certainly be interesting to watch it unfold.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on Jost’s progress throughout the winter of course, with regular updates as it unfolds. Stay tuned for more.