8000er winter expeditions: Already or not yet in base camp

Denis Urubko at Broad Peak

The year tips over into the next. It’s high time to take another quick look at the 8000er winter expeditions that will keep us on our toes in early 2020. The Kazakh-born Denis Urubko, now a Russian with a Polish passport (or a Pole with a Russian one), the Canadian Don Bowie and the Finnish Lotta Hintsa have set up their base camp at the foot of Broad Peak. All three fought with diseases during the trekking over the Baltoro Glacier and had to swallow antibiotics. But apparently they have the worst behind them. Denis and Lotta set up a first material depot at 5,100 meters. “We’re trying to get our last member Don Bowie into fighting condition,” Lotta wrote yesterday on Instagram. “Today was the first day my lungs felt clear, and I should be ready to climb in a few days,” Don let us know last Saturday.

The Italian duo Tamara Lunger and Simone Moro should have reached the base camp at the feet of the Gasherbrum group today. Yesterday they reported from Concordia Square, the penultimate stop on their Baltoro trek. They have set their sights on the winter ascent of Gasherbrum I and if possible also Gasherbrum II.

“It feels great”

Jost Kobusch

At Mount Everest, German climber Jost Kobusch made his first exploratory trip to the foot of Lho La, a 6,006-meter-high pass to Tibet, according to his live tracker on 28 December. From there he intends to climb the Everest West Ridge towards the Hornbein-Couloir in the North Face – solo and without bottled oxygen. “I love to challenge ‘accepted thinking’. I’m really excited and happy that everything is starting now. It feels great and meaningful,” the 27-year-old wrote on Facebook on Christmas Day.

Txikon’s summit success in Antarctica

Alex Txikon in Antarctica

Still far away from their winter destinations are the Spaniard Alex Txikon and the Nepalese Mingma Gyalje Sherpa and their companions. Alex and Co. scaled a “peak that we don’t know if anyone has climbed before” on the second day of Christmas in Antarctica, as the Spaniard wrote on Facebook. From Antarctica, Txikon will travel to Nepal to tackle Everest for the third time after 2017 and 2018 – after a winter attempt on the 6,812-meter-high Ama Dablam. Like Kobusch, Alex also wants to climb without bottled oxygen. In winter 2019, Txikon had tried in vain to climb K2 – the only eight-thousander never scaled so far in the cold season. Mingma Gyalje Sherpa and his team members want to go there. Before the turn of the year, Mingma returned from his expedition to Aconcagua (which he finished without summit success due to difficulties of his double amputee client Xia Boyu from China) back to Nepal.

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