Swiss Machine’ Ueli Steck killed in Mt Everest accident

KATHAMANDU: Ueli Steck (41), popularly known as ‘Swiss Machine’ in the mountaineering world was killed in an accident near Camp I on Mt Everest on Sunday morning, multiple sources at the base camp of the world’s highest peak confirmed.

A group of six rescuers discovered a body of the multiple-record holder mountaineer near Nuptse Face of the Mt Everest where he could have slipped and fell on the ice-covered slope. “The team has collected the scattered parts of the climber’s body.” A Fishtail Air helicopter has also been sent to Camp I to conduct a long line rescue, according to a source at base camp.

 

Swiss alpinist Steck and Tenzing (Tenji) Sherpa headed to Khumbu region to attempt to climb Mt Everest by never repeated West Ridge/Hornbein Couloir route without using supplemental oxygen in the spring climbing season. They also set out a plan to make a descend to the South Col before taking the once climbed direct route just below the Lhotse Face to obtain that summit record.

“Quick day from base camp up to 7,000 m and back. I love it, it’s such a great place here. I still believe in active aclimatisation. This is way more effective than spending nights up in the altitude!,” the climber posted on his facebook page on April 26.

Steck, who won two Piolet d’Or awards in 2009 and 2014, is also famous for his speed records on the North Face trilogy in the Alps. He won his second award in 2014 after making the first solo ascent of Mt Annapurna. Steck who was the first recipient of the Eiger Award for his mountaineering achievements in 2008, also completed his 82 Summits project, ascending all 4000 m peaks in the Alps, in 61 days in 2015.

According to him, he spent two nights in camp II. His facebook post on April 24 indicated that Tenzing suffered frostbite a few days ago.  “Hopefully Tenzing Sherpa frostbite is getting better soon so we can be together on the mountain again.”

In 2013, an ambitious plan to summit Mt Everest was foiled after Steck along with Italian alpinist Simone Moro and Jonathan Griffith engaged in a heated confrontation with rope fixing Sherpas.

Last year, Steck and his German climbing partner, David Göttler, spotted the bodies of Alex Lowe and David Bridges who died in an avalanche on Mt Shishapangma in 1999.

According to the Department of Tourism, Ueli Steck was a leader of one the Everest expeditions locally managed by Kathmandu-based Royal Orchid Treks and Expedition.

Steck was not only the greatest alpinist in the world but also a good friend of Nepal, senior Captain with Manang Air Ashish Sherchan who flew the alpinist to different locations on Mt Everest recently remembered.

“I can’t express what a loss this is to the mountaineering community, Ueli loved Nepal, Everest and the Himalaya,” renowned climber Alan Arnette commented from Colorado.

According to Durga Datta Dhakal, Director at the Department of Tourism, Ueli’s body was airlifted to Lukla.

original source

https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/swiss-machine-ueli-steck-killed-in-mt-everest-accident/

Alex Txikon’s on Final Everest Winter Summit Push

Alex Txikon’s team is back on Everest for what will be their last push to summit Everest in Winter. They need to top out by March 20 to claim that prize.

LATEST: Their GPS tracker still shows them at Camp 2 as of this post midnight, Wednesday March 7 Everest time. They should be on their way to the summit, somewhere near the Balcony, to miss the high winds. Let’s hope the tracker is not working or turned off.

 

Recovering from First Attempt

After a difficult first attempt, they retreated to Kathmandu, somewhat under duress (see this recap of that effort) for 8 days.  They ate, slept and recovered. A climber will usually keep their acclimatization for a few weeks once achieved, so the 8 day rest at 5,000 feet will not impact this acclimatization and allow him to recover.

Txikon swapped out original crew of Sherps for reasons not cited. Most likely the Sherpas, who work for Seven Summits Treks, are committed to work on Everest for the Spring season and need to rest up. They will start setting with Base Camp in a few weeks.

Txikon will be climbing with five Sherpas who will all be using supplemental oxygen, Txikon will not use supplemental Os. The plan is for Txikon and Nuri Sherpa to go to the summit. It appears that Txikon’s cameraman and  and other teammate will not be on the summit push.

Messner Visit

Reinhold Messner  was in Nepal and flew to Base Camp to wish Txikon the best as he left for Camp 2 on 6 March. Their last location per their GPS tracker showed them there. Remember, that tracker has been inaccurate several times over the past couple of months.

When they returned from Kathmandu, the team had to reestablish 60% of the route thru the Khumbu Icefall. The Icefall moves constantly, sometimes as much as 3 feet a day in some sections, so ladders will fall into crevasses and ropes will be lost.

This is the Last Attempt

Txikon posted on his Facebook page:

TIME TO GO FOR IT! We are already in the 2C where we will spend the night and leave at dawn. With the strength that Messner has transmitted to us, we have come upwards with our eyes set on the balmy 8848 meters that reaches our dream. In the last weeks, the weather has not played in our favor, but we have a very small truce until Wednesday; Moment in which we will try to finish the adventure. Nuri, my Nepalese companion, will accompany me to the top and German, Temba, Sanu and Pasang Nurbu will be our support.Until now, the wind does not stop and hit us hard, but the mere fact of having the opportunity to try, pushes us forward.Fingers crossed. I need you more than ever to be with me.Let’s go for the last attempt!

Weather

The largest challenge in climbing almost any mountain in Winter are the winds. This is what stopped them last time. Windchills were near -100F. It remains to be seen if the weather cooperates this time. As this forecast shows, the SUMMIT winds are forecasted to remain high with extremely cold temperatures over the next few days, but there is a tiny window on Wednesday morning.

At some point the Txikon will lose the physical strength for another summit attempt. He had already lost over 25 pounds on the first push. My general rule of thumb is that if you lose 10% of your body weight, you will not have the strength to summit. That said, Txikon is an unusually strong and fit climber as proven on his Winter summit of Nanga Pabart last year.

This is the latest from the computer model from Mountain Forecast for the summit of Everest:

 Nepal Wants more Money?

In a strange twist, the Nepal newspaper The Himalayan Times, is reporting that the Ministry of Tourism is asking Txikon to pay $11,000 for another climbing permit. They claim that the Winter permit he bought expires at the end of February.

Follow

Again, follow their ascent from his GPS tracker. Warning, this system has been somewhat unreliable throughout their climb.

Best of luck to Alex and team. The whole mountaineering world is pulling for their safe ascent, summit and return.

Climb On!
Alan
Memories are Everything

Original Source : http://www.alanarnette.com/blog/2017/03/07/alex-txikons-on-final-everest-winter-summit-push/

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!