Is it over? As Jost Kobusch’s GPS tracker showed today, he descended from the Everest West Shoulder to Lho La. On the 6,000-meter-high pass between Nepal and Tibet he had set up his Camp 1. Yesterday, Monday, the 27-year-old German climber had reached an altitude of about 7,300 meters, but had then climbed down again to his Camp 2 at about 6,800 meters.
Kobusch had set himself the extremely ambitious goal of climbing the highest mountain on earth solo and without bottled oxygen, via the rather rarely climbed West Ridge and the Hornbein Couloir in the North Face. Before his current try he had spoken of the “final attempt”. This was also in line with his announcement before the expedition to break down his tents on Everest by the end of the calendrical winter next Saturday at the latest.
Sherpa winter team out of nowhere
Also Alex Txikon‘s winter permit ends next Saturday. The Spaniard left today for his announced last summit attempt. The 31-year-old’s GPS tracker shows Camp 1 on the normal route at about 6,000 meters as his last location. Alex also climbs without bottled oxygen. He himself spoke before the departure of nine Nepalese companions: five from his own team – and the four Sherpas of the “Breathless Winter Everest” team.
The Sherpa team had appeared out of nowhere. Only on Sunday it had been announced that expedition leader Tashi Lakpa Sherpa, an eight-time Everest ascender, as well as his also experienced companions Mingtemba (“Mikel”) Sherpa, Pasang Nurbu Sherpa and Halung Dorchi (“Sanu”) Sherpa would fly by helicopter to base camp to try a speed winter ascent. Until 29 February they want to reach the summit, Tashi Lakpa by his own words without bottled oxygen. The Sherpas have pre-acclimatized in the Argentinean Andes.
“No right to veto”
It looks a little bit like the Nepalese team has everything handed to themselves on a silver platter. After all, Txikon and his companions have prepared the route up to an altitude of about 7,000 meters in weeks of arduous work. His team was quite surprised by the news from Kathmandu, said the Spaniard, but then showed himself willing to cooperate. ” I am not the one to veto anyone, Everest is not mine and does not belong to anyone, but we will also try to manage and collaborate, as a larger team has more possibilities,” Alex wrote. “In any case, we must now focus all our energy on the mountain, on getting as high as we can and, above all, on getting home safely.”
Update 26 February, 3.00 pm CET: According to his GPS-Tracker, Alex Txikon reached Camp 2 at 6,479 m. Last night there was a lot of fresh snow on the mountain, Txikon’s team announced. Therefore, the climbers left later than planned. – Last position of Jost Kobusch: on the edge of Lho La.