Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Winter Climbs 2017: Txikon Not Done With Everest Yet!

Yesterday I reported that Spanish climber Alex Txikon and his climbing partners Nurbu and Chhepal Sherpa, had abandoned their summit bid on Everest after encountering high winds at Camp 4. At the time, the team was descending back to Base Camp, and it was unclear whether or not they would stay on the mountain or head home, as previously Txikon had said this would be the only attempt at the summit. But now, they're all safely back in BC and it is clear that the expedition is not over just yet.

Once back in Base Camp, Alex sent a Twitter message in which he says that he has not yet given up on the climb, and that he'll wait and see what the days ahead bring before leaving Everest. He also posted a detailed report of the team's summit bid, which includes insights into what they faced while above Camp 3. You may recall that the Spaniard was part of the team that made the first winter ascent of Nanga Parbat last year, and he said that was much easier than what they faced on Everest. At times, he and his Sherpa companions couldn't even stand due to the high winds, and with temperatures dropping to -45ºC/-45ºF conditions were brutal. Fortunately, they all made it back down safely, although another member of the team is now going home due to injury.

According to the report, there was an avalanche on the descent that nearly wiped them off the mountain. While Alex came away mostly unscathed, Chhepal suffered a head injury and will depart for Kathmandu today. The team is now down to just five members as this war of attrition with the mountain wears on.

For now, the team will sit and wait, and watch the weather once again. Alex seems determined to give it another go despite his earlier predictions of a single summit push. Despite having to abandon the attempt on the summit, the team did climb back up to C4 and spend another night at C3, which should help their overall acclimatization. If the weather cooperates, they'll make another go of it once they are rested.

Like Alex and his team, all we do is wait for more news too.

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