Friday, February 23, 2018

Winter Climbs 2018: Everest Weather Window Looks Good Heading into Weekend

It is go time on Everest at long last. Alex Txikon, Ali Sadpara, and the rest of the crew are now on their summit push with a favorable weather forecast heading into the weekend. But conditions on Everest are fickle and since they are climbing without the use of supplemental oxygen, this ascent into extremely cold temperatures is far from a sure thing. Still, this is the opportunity that Alex has been waiting two years for, and it looks like it will be now or never on the world's tallest mountain. 

As we reported yesterday, the team launched its summit bid mid-week and was already in Camp 2. Their last update indicated that they were still there at 6400 meters (20,997 ft) preparing to move up. They may already have moved to Camp 3, but haven't updated their status yet, which would put them in position to climb to C4 with an eye on summiting on Sunday morning. This is all according to plan, as Alex predicted that the final summit push would happen on either Saturday or Sunday. Exactly when they'll make the ascent remains to be seen. 

Alan Arnette has had a look at the forecasts – courtesy of EverestWeather.com – and says that winds are expected to subside both Saturday morning and Sunday morning, which means the team will be climbing throughout the night to take advantage of those conditions. Alan also points out they are on a typical schedule for a spring expedition to the South Side of the mountain, with Alex and company not feeling a particular need to rush things. 

While conditions do look good and the stage is set for this dramatic climb to unfold, keep in mind that the weather can shift quickly in the Himalaya. With the jet stream on the summit dying down in the mornings, this is a fairly narrow weather window. On top of that, a true winter ascent of the mountain – meaning the expedition took place entirely in the winter season – is a rare feat, let alone doing it without the use of oxygen. Alex and Ali Sadpara are both experienced climbers who will no doubt take every precaution, but this will be a struggle even with the weather conditions in their favor. 

We'll keep a close eye on the proceedings and bring you an update when when know more. Alex has said this will be the one and only summit bid, so lets hope everyone gets up and down safely, regardless of whether or not they reach the top. 

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