While all of the big 8000-meter peak expeditions have called it quits and gone home by now, there are still a few updates from ongoing winter expeditions. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, there is technically still about a week and a half of winter left, and a handful of teams have been struggling to complete their climbs as the clock ticks away. Now, as spring looms on the horizon, we have a couple of updates from the mountains, with one team also pulling the plug, while another pushes forward.
We’ll start with an update on the Polish team that has been attempting Batura Sar this winter. Much like their compatriots on the 8000-meter peaks across the Himalaya and Karakoram, they have struggled against high winds, bitter cold, and heavy snow. The goal of the expedition was to prepare for a winter attempt on K2 next year, but other than learning to gel as a team—an important aspect of any expedition—the crew make much progress. The 7995-meter (26,230 ft) mountain is just a shade under the magical 8000-meter mark, and it provided the Poles with everything they could have asked for in a training exercise and more. As a result, the team never really had a chance at making a true summit push and didn’t make it much up beyond Camp 2. Still, they have declared the expedition a success in taking a step towards their real goal and promise to be on K2 next January.
Over on Mt. Hunter in Alaska, Lonnie Dupre and his team are setting off on a summit push today. The weather pattern cleared up for this week, and although it is going to be extremely cold, the winds are expected to be light and the skies clear. The plan was to go up to high camp yesterday and get in position for a summit push today, with a return to Base Camp either tomorrow or Thursday morning. Right now, the forecast says that the conditions should be good, other than -30ºF/-34ºC temperatures on the summit. There haven’t been any updates on their progress yet, but we can probably expect more news later today or early tomorrow. While not a massive peak, Hunter is extremely cold and technical, particularly in the heart of winter. Hopefully everyone gets up and down safely.
That’s it. Essentially, the Mt. Hunter team is the only one still climbing at the moment. We should have more news on their progress soon.