If you thought the winter climbing season in the Himalayas was going to come and go without Alex Txikon taking part, it’s time to think again. Yesterday, the Spanish climber announced that he will once again return to Mt. Everest this winter to make his third attempt to summit that mountain without oxygen during the toughest season of all.
If you follow the winter climbing scene closely, you may recall that Txikon made two previous attempts on Everest in the winter. His goal has always been to summit the mountain without bottled oxygen, and as such he launched expeditions in 2016 and 2017 to attempt to accomplish that feat.
The attempt at K2 was a no go
Last year, he took the season off from Everest to give K2 a go instead, but put off by the politics and lack of cooperation there, he elected to return to Nepal to give Everest another go instead.
Apparently, in preparation for the upcoming expedition, which will likely get underway in January, Txikon and his team will first head to the South Shetland Islands in the Antarctic. There, they’ll acclimate to cold weather and concentrate on climbing a few peaks, before heading to Nepal next month.
Once in the Khumbu, the plan is to then make a warm-up climb on Ama Dablam before traveling to Everest Base Camp. By then, they hope to be well acclimated and ready to take on the world’s highest peak, although ultimately it will be the winter weather and the conditions on the mountain that will dictate their success or failure, rather than their own level of fitness.
Txikon’s expedition is just the latest in a growing list of winter mountaineering expeditions that we’ll be watching closely this year. Right now, we know of two potential teams for K2, a team heading to Broad Peak, another attempting the Gasherbrum Traverse, and a solo climber that is also heading to Everest. Tomorrow, we’ll take a closer look at what those squads are up to and where they currently stand in the planning and preparation.
Stay tuned. It’s starting to look like it’ll be another interesting season in the big mountains. If you’re an aspiring climber make sure you check out our post on the best climbing hangboards for 2021.
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