Alex Txikon. He has worked extremely hard since his arrival in Everest Base Camp in early January, and now all of that hard work is about to come to a head. According to reports, Txikon will set off on his summit bid tomorrow, with an eye on topping out sometime next week.
At the moment, the weather on Everest is still a bit dicey, but that is expected to change early next week when a period of relative calm is expected to settle in across the area. To take advantage of this rare winter weather window, Alex, along with Nurbu and Cheppal Sherpa, will leave Base Camp on Saturday, Feb. 11. The following day, the trio will be joined Nuri, Pemba, and Furba Sherpa, and the entire team will progress up the mountain together.
If they are able to stick to a typical Everest schedule, they should be in Camp 4 by next Tuesday, just as the weather window is set to appear. That would give them the opportunity to summit on Wednesday and get back down the following day. However, the current conditions may not allow them to reach C4 at 7950 meters (26,082 ft), so that schedule may be a bit too optimistic. That said, good weather conditions are expected to arrive early in the week and extend until next Saturday.
A winter summit of Everest is rare enough these days, but Alex is making an even rarer attempt by going to the top without the use of bottled oxygen. That has only been accomplished one time in the past, when Ang Rita Sherpa did it back in 1987. That summit was made on the first full day of winter however, and not in the heart of the season.
It appears that this may be the one and only summit bid however. In the article linked to above, Alex is quoted as saying, "The die is thrown, there will only be one attack on the summit." If that is accurate, than this truly is it. We'll all know how it turns out in a few short days.
Good luck to Alex and the entire team.