Winter expeditions: Down – and over?

Sunrise on Mount Everest
Sunrise on Mount Everest (in fall 2019)

This Monday marks the end of the meteorological winter. All attempts to reach an eight-thousander summit in this cold season were unsuccessful. On Mount Everest, Jost Kobusch returned to the valley today after spending three days and nights at almost 6,500 meters.

“The weather forecast predicted higher speeds at the last minute, which would have made a climb too much of an unnecessary risk,” Jost writes on Facebook. “After all, the route remains technical. And believe me, it was definitely exciting enough to climb down the hard ice backwards and in the dark at high wind speeds.”

The 29-year-old German climber had already declared when setting out on his last ascent that he no longer saw a realistic chance of reaching the summit at 8,849 meters. In the best case, he could perhaps reach higher than during his first attempt two years ago, Jost had said. In 2020, he had reached the West Shoulder of Everest at just below 7,400 meters. But nothing came of it now, the strong wind did not abate. “It was really stormy and maybe a touch worse than I had hoped,” Kobusch summed up his expedition: “But at the end of the day, I learned a lot and am very grateful for the experience.”

Gelje Sherpa and Co. turn back again on Cho Oyu

The squalls today also stopped the second summit attempt of Gelje Sherpa’s team on the not far away, 8,188-meter-high Cho Oyu. The Nepalese climbers turned back on the East Ridge. Exactly how high they reached is not yet clear – reportedly at around 7,800 meters.

Whether Gelje and Co. will make a third attempt remains to be seen, as does whether the other Nepalese team on Cho Oyu will make another push towards the summit. Both teams had started this winter independently of each other with the intention of opening a route on the Nepalese side of the eight-thousander that would also be suitable for commercial teams.

Commercial team back at K2 Base Camp

The commercial team on K2, the second highest mountain on earth, has abandoned its summit attempt over the weekend and returned to base camp, according to reports on social media.

As reported, the team of the Nepalese operator Dolma Outdoor Expedition around expedition leader Nima Gyalzen Sherpa with his only client, the Taiwanese Grace Tseng, had waited in Camp 3 at about 7,300 meters for a summit chance. However, the weather apparently did not cooperate. The team itself has not yet commented.

P.S.: I have subsequently added Jost Kobusch’s comments.

Update 5 March: Grace Tseng announced via Facebook that her winter attempt on K2 has failed. “I’ll be back in the summer,” wrote the Taiwanese.

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