The meteorological winter has begun, the calendrical is just around the corner. And yet it is still not quite clear how many eight-thousander winter expeditions will really take place in this cold season. The expedition announced in September by Mingma Gyalje Sherpa (Nepal), John Snorri Sigurjonsson (Iceland) and Gao Li (China) to K2, the only eight-thousander not yet summited in winter, is on the brink due to financial problems. “We have raised money from our pocket but calculating everything, we found it’s beyond our budget,” Mingma writes on Facebook. “As this is winter climb, there are huge hidden cost.” The 33-year-old, who has already scaled K2 twice in summer, has started a crowdfunding campaign (click here) to raise the obviously still missing sum of 75,000 US dollars.
Urubko: “K2 only goal number two”
Denis Urubko, who has a Polish and a Russian passport, and the Canadian Don Bowie (the two will be accompanied by the former “Miss Finland”, Lotta Hintsa – I, frankly, don’t know how seriously I should take this) have like Mingma and Co. a climbing permit for K2 – and for Broad Peak. “I would like to make it very clear that K2 is only goal number two,” Urubko said in an interview with “Przeglad Sportowy” from Poland. “If we manage to scale Broad Peak but are exhausted, it is better not to tackle K2. It would be risky and dangerous.”
French only with trekking permit?
With the French Vincent Saura and Jonathan Bordes, another team has announced a K2 winter attempt. Allegedly, however, the two mountaineers, who are still largely unknown in the scene, only have a trekking permit and thus no permission to climb the second highest mountain on earth. “Explorersweb” reported a few days ago that the French had been detained in Skardu because they had far too much equipment for trekking and bragged everywhere that they wanted to climb the mountain.
The Italian duo Tamara Lunger/Simone Moro will not have such problems. The two have permission from the Pakistani authorities to climb Gasherbrum I and Gasherbrum II. As reported, Tamara and Simone are planning a double traverse of these two eight-thousanders, as only the South Tyroleans Reinhold Messner and Hans Kammerlander succeeded in doing in summer 1984.
Kobusch on the summits of three six-thousanders
Meanwhile in Nepal, for German climber Jost Kobusch “it’s getting really into the last stretch” before his Everest winter expedition, as he wrote on Facebook. The 27-year-old has already been in the Himalayan state for two and a half months in order to acclimatize unhurriedly. During this time Jost soloed the first ascent of the 6,393-meter-high Amotsang in western Nepal. According to Jost, he also scaled the six-thousanders Chulu Far East (6,059 m) and Pachermo (6,273 m). Kobusch wants to approach Mount Everest from the south side, climbing via Lho La (a 6,000 meter-high pass to Tibet) to the West Ridge and then through the Hornbein-Couloir to the summit – without bottled oxygen and solo.
Jost himself doesn’t seem to believe in a summit success in the first attempt. “Let’s be realistic,” he told me before he left for Nepal. “If I reach 8,000 meters at all, that would be a mega success. It is a gigantic project. The first thing is to find out what is possible under these conditions. Maybe I’ll come back and then I’ll tell you: No, forget the route, it can’t be solved that way.”
Txikon’s third Everest winter attempt
In January, Jost will probably meet Alex Txikon. The Spaniard announced today that for the third time after 2017 and 2018 he will try to climb the highest mountain on earth in winter. In preparation, the 37-year-old will set off for an expedition to the Southern Shetland Islands in Antarctica next week. Alex and his team will then climb Ama Dablam (6,812 m) in the Khumbu area before heading to Everest Base Camp.