Winter Double Expedition 2017

Sergey Seliverstov, Michail Danichkin, Semen Dvornichenko (Kyrgyzstan) and Alexey Usatykh (Russia) became the first to complete the first winter double expedition by summiting two peaks in the Tian Shan mountain range; Khan Tengri (7010m/22998ft) on 26th January and Peak Pobeda (7,439 m/24,406 ft) on 8th February 2017. This is the second winter ascent of Khan Tengri: the first was carried out by a strong Soviet expedition in 1991.

Pik Pobeda is the highest mountain in the Tian Shan mountain range, standing tall at an elevation of 7,439 metres (24,406 ft). It lies on the Kyrgyzstan–China border, in the Kakshaal Too. The first winter ascent of the peak was made by Valery Khrichtchatyi in February 1990. It is located 16 km (9.9 mi) southwest of Khan Tengri.

Khan Tengri is a mountain of the Tian Shan mountain range. It is located on the China—Kyrgyzstan—Kazakhstan border, east of lake Issyk Kul. It stands tall at an elevation of 7,010 m (22,999 ft). Anatoli Boukreev considered Khan Tengri perhaps the world’s most beautiful peak because of its geometric ridges and its symmetry.

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Everest in winter 2017 – Txikon abandons plan to summit Everest

Due to unforeseen weather conditions and strong winds, the Spaniard and his team have decided to let go of the Everest attempt in this winter season. Txikon along with five Sherpas have returned safely to base camp from C4. They will soon descend to the Khumbu Valley in a day or two.

The highest elevation they touched was at Camp IV (7950m) on Monday night. There, they were faced with high winds that made it highly impossible for the team to set up their tents. They descended back down Camp III where they abandoned their summit attempt on Tuesday. The Txikon-led two members team was the only expedition on Mt Everest this winter as the mountaineer planned to set the world record becoming the first foreigner to summit Mt Everest without supplemental oxygen in the winter climbing season. His partner Carlos Rubio also abandoned the ascent on January 21 after suffering respiratory problems, which forced him to be evacuated and to be admitted to a hospital in the Nepali capital for two days.

Climbing the highest peak in the world in winter and without the aid of artificial oxygen is an extremely complicated task that has only been achieved to date by a Nepali guide, Ang Rita Sherpa. He made it to the top of Mt Everest in 1987 using the normal route without supplemental oxygen in the winter season.

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Everest in winter 2017 – Alex Txikon & Co at Camp 3 (7400m)

UPDATE – 13/02/2017

The Everest winter expedition without supplementary oxygen led by Alex Txikon continues to make progress. Together with the Sherpas Nurbu and Cheppal, and after a journey of about 5 hours from field 2 (6,400 meters), the Basque arrived at C3 this Sunday. Today, the trio slowly climbed from Camp 3 to Camp 4 at the South Col (7950m). They had planned to begin their final bid for the summit but due to strong winds, the trio failed to pitch the tent they had deposited at the col previously and were forced to descend to Camp 3 (7400m).

Just a few minuted ago, Txikon stated on facebook regarding the whole ordeal “…when we have arrived at C4 (7950m) we have done everything in our power to set up the tent, but the wind has not respected us and it has been impossible for us. Therefore, we have decided it was not the time to challenge nature at these heights and conditions, since we are nothing in dealing with it, and we could have suffered frostbite or even worse. For the moment, as I have mentioned earlier, we have descended to C3 (low) and we have not given up for anything in the world. The only thing we have done is to respect the nature that today was not waiting for us up there. At this hour I do not know what we are going to do tomorrow because I really do not know if we will be able to sleep now…”

Currently, the trio is reviewing their strategy, being in mind their current form and the prevailing weather conditions. Meanwhile, the rest of the climbers on this winter expedition, Sherri Nuri, Pemba Furba Sherpa, intend to climb directly from C2 to C4 to meet with Txikon and the other two Sherpas. The weather window is forecasted from 14 to 18 February 2017. In his recent Facebook post, Txikon stated, “It has been a hard day fighting against the wind with all our willpower. At times, it has become a tougher battle than the summit attack of last winter in the Nanga Parbat…”

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Everest in winter 2017 – Team at 7400m

From Alex Facebook page, recent updates state that the team arrived at Camp III at altitude of 7400m,  ” Finally we arrived at Camp III, Both me and Nurbu and Cheppal, the other team members who are part of our expedition (Nuri, Pemba and Furba will climb to South Col from Camp II. we are very strong physically and psychologically; the truth is that we form a great team! We have had to renew the equipment in several sections that have been swept by the storm, but our positivity remains intact. Now it’s time to review the part to see the strategy of the next few days based on my instinct and the predictions of our expert meteorologists, among them Vítor Bahía (vitorbaiameteo.pt) – for me a guru.

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Everest in winter 2017 – Txikon starts summit bid

The long-awaited moment has finally arrived. The Spanish expedition led by Basque mountaineer Alex Txikon to climb Everest in winter and without supplementary oxygen has started its decisive summit push begun in earnest. A weather window is forecast for 14 to 18 February 2017.

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So far this feat has only been achieved by one other person, namely Ang Rita Sherpa who reached the top on December 22, 1987. It has to said that even with supplementary oxygen the task in hand is huge, so much so that for the last 25 years Everest has never been climbed in winter. The first winter ascent of Everest, carried out on February 17, 1980 by Krzysztof Wielicki and Leszek Cichy from Poland, made history and simultaneously paved the way for a new era of Himalayan mountaineering, since it was the first ever 8000r to be climbed in the winter.

The mountaineers are now back on the mountain, committed to what may turn out to be the decisive summit bid. Shortly before setting off on Feb 9th Txikon tweeted: “IT’S TIME! Tomorrow, we leave for the 2C. From February 14-18 a window of good weather is foreseen. I need you here with me more than ever!”. According to their GPS tracker, the first group has now reached Camp 2. Txikon is accompanied by Aitor Barez and Pablo Magister, and six Sherpa: Norbu, Nuri, Chhepal, Furba, Lakpa and Pemba. Norbu has climbed to the top of Everest seven times previously and Nuri three.

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Soon afterwards there was an update on Alex’s twitter feed stating that the team has successfully reached C2 “With the feet at the 2C (6400m) & the heart in the top of the world. Now, it’s time to rest & to enjoy every step forward!”

We hope that you have loads of fun and rest at C2! Wish you all the best!

Alex Txikon’s Winter Everest Expedition 2017

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Summer expeditions are challenging as it is, but winter in the Himalayas is unpredictable, wild, and extreme. The extreme challenge to summit the world’s highest peak, Mt. Everest, in the dead of winters without supplemental oxygen is what inspired the Spanish climber Alex Txikon to take on this massive challenge. It is, without doubt, the most challenging task of his career. Txikon had summited Nangla Parbat in 2016 without oxygen and wants to follow up this achievement with Everest. The dangers that this task carries are immense, a fact that is further solidified by the news that Txikon was about to become mortal few days ago when one of the crossings to equip the ascent to Everest stumbled and nearly falling into a bottomless crevasse.

He is planned to summit Mt. Everest on 14th of February without oxygen which is organized by Seven Summit Treks. The team will start climbing on the 10th of February from Everest Base Camp and reach camp 2. On the 11th, the team is planning to prepare to reach the summit. On the 12th, they have a schedule of reaching camp 3 which is 7200m above sea level. On the 13th, The team plans to stay overnight at camp 4 before heading out early morning for the summit push.

Presently, the team is waiting for the summit window at Everest Base Camp where Txikon and his colleagues will try to carry out the attack to the summit in the next window of good weather. The opening of a summit window is essential to avoid the winds of over 140 kilometers per hour which have been hitting at the summit in recent days.

Stay posted for updates on Txikon’s progress!

First Ascent of Koh-e-Zamiston

Pakistan Youth Outreach (PYO), in collaboration with Karakorum Expeditions, proudly initiated national women winter expedition to an unnamed, unclimbed peak, for the first time in Pakistan’s mountaineering history. The National Women Winter Expedition was lead by the renowned and only female Mountaineer of Pakistan to summit Mt. Everest, Ms. Samina Baig.

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The expedition was initially planned to 6050m Peak in the Shimshal Pamir region, known as “Mingligh Sar”; however, due to some logistic issues the plan was changed and decided to ascend an unnamed and unclimbed peak in the Boisom pass in Gojrave, Shimshal Valley (Upper Hunza, GilgitBaltistan). The peak was never climbed in the past even in the summers, however expedition in the winters is quite challenging and harshest weather conditions and never attempted.

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This expedition was launched under the slogan of women empowerment, to encourage gender equality and unity amongst the youth/women across Pakistan. Women winter mountaineering is symbolic for breaking barriers and stereotypes that are prevalent for women in Pakistan, it is aimed to encourage young Pakistani women to pursue mountaineering as a career choice and embark on such challenging & unconventional outdoor sports endeavors.

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The expedition campaign was announced on social media and women from all over Pakistan were invited to participate, with the plan to select one representative from each area, Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan, KPK, AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan. There were total four local girls finally selected from Pakistan and due to nature of the expedition to be one of its kind, two international women from USA and Norway also joined this historical event. International women participation enhanced cross culture understanding and unity and peace through outdoor sports, and showcased positive side of Pakistan around the world.

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The women winter expedition was first of its kind in Pakistan’s outdoor and mountaineering history, as before commencing the expedition there was a weeklong extensive basic mountaineering camp at Malangudi Glacier Shimshal. The purpose of training camp was to guide, educate and train the female participants for the expedition and to improve their technical and emotional skills before embarking them on such serious and extreme conditions.

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After the weeklong training, the team was all set to start the expedition to Mingligh Sar, however due to lack of availability of porters the plan was changed to next best available option of summit of an alternative unclimbed 5000m+ peak. At day first, starting from Shimshal village, after 5-6 hours continuous hike, the expedition’s first stop was at Zathgruben which is also world’s highest sports arena at 4,100m, and where the team acclimatized for a day. On the next day, the women team hiked to Vayn Sar Pass at 4,700m which was so far the highest point that any member of the women winter expedition team had ever summited.

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At Zathgruben, one of the member named Aafia Younis suffered knee injury due to which she had to decide to leave the expedition. On day third, the rest of the team started their journey in high spirits & best of the health to the base camp, which is at 4,446m, and stayed there for 3 days during which they hiked in the surrounding area for acclimatization. Finally the day arrived for departure to High Camp, which was setup in Boisam Pass at around 5,000m. Finally four members named Bismah, Komal, Siv and Samina were able to make it to the high camp as rest of the two members named Ariana and Sadaf had suffered health & altitude issues. The weather conditions at the high camp were very severe with cold air & temperatures in the range of -35C-40C.

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On the summit day, Samina Baig and Dr. Siv were fit to start the summit along with our high altitude guides Eid Muhammad, Gul Muhammad & Arshad Karim. Rest of the team had also suffered from altitude sickness. The 5 members summit push started at 9:30 am and in 6 hours at local time 18:30 pm, after continuous extreme vertical climb and combating harsh winter temperatures, Dr. Siv and Samina Baig had finally achieved the historical & momentous summit, which was recorded to be at a height of 5,600m.

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The previously extreme winter conditions, which is a proud moment in the history of Pakistan’s mountaineering. Mohammed Eid who is an experienced high altitude guide and had also been part of K2 expedition & climbed till Camp 3, mentioned it to be a very tough and technical peak and equivalent to K2 Black pyramid in technical difficulty. The women expedition team under extreme winter conditions finally conquered the previously unclimbed & highly technical peak, which is a proud moment in the history of Pakistan’s mountaineering. The peak is proposed to be named as Koh-e-Zamiston or ‘Winter Peak’, to mark it’s significance of first ever summit in winter.

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Under the leadership of Samina Baig, the women winter expedition has proved that there is a bright future for young Pakistani women in the field of mountaineering, and that they are capable of breaking barriers and setting new standards in this field. This expedition is just the beginning of many more successful endeavors to come, and Pakistan Youth Outreach along with Karakorum Expedition is working on such similar future expeditions/projects for women empowerment in the filed of mountaineering in Pakistan.

we want to extend our warmest thank you to #Toread www.toread.com.cn for clothing equipment sponsorship for our expedition. we thank Langsetrope #ClimbingTechnology for their support. also our thank you to ArmaSkin Antiblister socks. Thank you to Modern oats for the nice breakfast for the high camp
Thank you to all Great cooking staff,high altitude guides,porters
#Karakorumexpeditions #firstAscent #Pakistanyouthoutreach #Toread #langserrope #Climbingtechnology #AntiblisterSocks #ArmaSkins

Nepal earthquake :Avalanche killed Sherpa

Dear World,

You may or may not have heard that there was a small(ish) 5.4 earthquake 19km or so from Namche Bazaar at around local time.

I would love to be able to say that everything is fine and that we are unscathed … but it is with a huge sense of grief and loss that I have to report that Thundu Sherpa has died.

Thundu and Ciaran were heading for the summit of Ama Dablam and were above Camp 3 making good progress when the earthquake occurred and caused them to be hit by some dislodged pieces of ice, both of them sustaining injuries.

Without going in to the details too much Ciaran was battered and bruised but sadly Thundu suffered a head injury that meant that he didn’t survive. They were climbing as a pair, a metre or so from each other and both of them were very unfortunate to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Five minutes either way and it would have just been a close call.

Ciaran managed to raise the alarm by radio and we immediately called our agent in Kathmandu who mustered a helicopter.

Meanwhile Jon and Lakpa Onju, because of their respective localities at the time, arrived on the scene within an hour of the call and were able to assist as much as possible.

The helicopter arrived at Base Camp and then flew up to the site to assess what was going to be the best course of action. When the helicopter returned to Base Camp they stripped the doors off, emptied out any excess weight and got ready to perform a long line rescue operation. A crew member went up attached to the line and after some delicate manoeuvring at 6,300m was able to detach himself at the site and hook Ciaran on to the line. Ciaran was brought down to Base Camp where he was given some medical treatment for his various injuries and the helicopter returned back to the site to bring down the long line guy with Thundu. Jon and Lakpa Onju then made their way back down the mountain.

The people at Base Camp (both staff and group members alike) worked in an exemplary manner. Some volunteered to go up to Camp 1 and Camp 2 to be in place for other duties that needed tending to. There were people monitoring the radio stations, taking notes to keep a record of events, making tea and coffee for the helicopter crew, administering first aid and generally working together as a team. Suffice to say that now the dust has settled everyone is in a deep sense of shock and saddened by our loss.

Thundu leaves behind a wife and 2 boys, aged 8 and 14, who live in Kathmandu. Whilst there is a modicum of insurance available for the family it won’t get the children through the rest of their schooling. To that end I am putting out an appeal for donations, however small, so that the family can rest assured that they aren’t going to face financial hardship. If you are able to help then please go to www.justgiving.com/timmosedale and mark your donation ‘For Thundu.’

On a final note – I would prefer not to receive any comments to the effect that a Climbing Sherpa has died whilst Westerners are pursuing their dreams. Ama Dablam is a climbers mountain and all the people in my team are suitably well qualified by experience to be here. The Climbing Sherpas are not being used and abused in the duties that they perform, they are proud of the work that they do and have worked for my Sirdar for many many years forming a close knit team. This was a tragic accident as a result of an act of nature. We are surrounded by an amazing panorama of massive mountains and when the earthquake happened there weren’t multiple avalanches and landslides. There was one incident … and our team were sadly involved.

Thundu Sherpa … you will be sadly missed. May you rest in peace.

'Thundu on the summit of Cho Oyu 6 weeks ago.'
'R.I.P Thundu. You were one of a kind.'