Alex Txikon abandons Annapurna winter expedition

Alex Txikon at Annapurna I
Alex Txikon at Annapurna I

“I cannot afford to expose my companions any further,” writes Alex Txikon on Instagram today, “and so, after discussing and meditating all morning, we have decided to say yes to life, leaving behind our pretensions of continuing to try.”

On Thursday, Txikon’s team had abandoned the ascent towards the summit of Annapurna I at Camp 3 at 6,400 meters and returned to base camp. In the days before, it had stormed heavily on the 8,091-meter-high mountain in western Nepal. The material deposited in Camp 3 a week earlier had been blown into a crevasse.

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Annapurna winter expedition: rotation or summit attempt by Alex Txikon and Co.

Annapurna massif (Annapurna I on the left)
Annapurna massif (Annapurna I on the left)

The Spaniard Alex Txikon and his team set off from the base camp of Annapurna I this morning Nepalese local time. In strong winds, they reached Camp 1 at an altitude of around 5,000 meters. According to Txikon’s media team, they had to pause for an hour on the way due to a strong avalanche.

This is the climbers’ third so-called rotation on the eight-thousander in western Nepal. The main aim is to acclimatize further. On the last round a week ago, the team brought equipment up to Camp 3 at around 6,700 meters. Due to stormy gusts in the summit area, the climbers did not continue their ascent but returned to base camp.

Even before the new ascent, the team kept the possibility of a summit attempt open. “We’ll see the weather forecast,” said Italian Mattia Conte in a video posted on Instagram yesterday. “Slowly, slowly, without stress!” The winter weather is expected to be relatively calm over the next few days. After that, it should snow again.

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Winter attempts on the eight-thousanders Annapurna I and Gasherbrum I

Annapurna massif
Northwestern view of Annapurna (the main summit on the left)

“Although December is a very good and pleasant month in Nepal – I would say it is the best month of the year – the wind has made us suffer a lot,” Alex Txikon wrote on Instagram the day before yesterday. “It has blown between 70-80 km/hour, and we stopped very close to Chulu Far East, 6,059m. It is a nice mountain, but the wind has made us suffer … The most important thing is that we have spent many nights at high altitudes.” The 42-year-old Spaniard and his team are currently acclimatizing in the region around the eight-thousander Annapurna I in western Nepal for a winter attempt on the tenth highest mountain on earth.

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