Winter is officially here in the Northern Hemisphere, having arrived this past weekend just in time for the impending holidays. But those eager for a white Christmas aren’t the only ones who were happy to see the calendar make the change of seasons. Two climbers heading to Everest for the winter 2020 season have now arrived in Base Camp on that mountain as they prepare for a very difficult expedition ahead.
Yesterday, The Himalayan Times reported that German climbers Jost Kobusch and Daniel Hug have reached BC just as winter started. That gives them three months to complete their ambitious project, which is to attempt the very difficult and seldom climbed West Ridge. This is a route that is extremely hard during the best of conditions, so it will be even more so during the winter. Still, the duo are dedicated to giving it a go and if successful, it would be the first winter ascent along this legendary route.
The announcement of Kobusch and Daniel’s arrival in Base Camp marks a change in pace for Jost. Originally he had planned to attempt this climb solo, but will now bring his fellow countryman along instead. This gives him a far better chance of success, even if the climb is still a relative long shot. Kobusch is well acclimated already however, having been in the Khumbu Valley throughout autumn. He has even made the first ascent of a 6993 meter (22,942 ft) peak called Amotsang. With that much time in the mountains under his belt, he should be fairly ready to go when it comes time to begin shuttling gear up the mountain. Of course, as always in the winter, the weather will determine the actual schedule.
The THT article also provides some insights into the upcoming winter Everest expedition being led by Spaniard Alex Txikon as well. It now looks like he will be accompanied on that climb by Oscar Cardo Briones and Jonathan Gracia Villa as well, with the whole team set to arrive in Nepal on January 10. As previously reported, they’ll first attempt to summit Ama Dablam as part of their acclimatization process before heading to Everest. The ultimate goal is to summit the world’s highest peak in winter, without the use of bottled oxygen — something Txikon has tried on two previous occasions.
The winter climbing season in the big peaks is now underway. Stay tuned for regular updates in the days ahead.
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