Winter expeditions on Everest and Co.: Patience is needed

Suddenly aged? Jost Kobusch
Suddenly aged? Jost Kobusch

Jost Kobusch hasn’t lost his sense of humor yet. “And I’m still waiting for better weather…,” the 29-year-old German climber wrote on social media, posting a fake portrait showing him as an old man with a gray beard. For the past week and a half, Jost has been killing time in the village of Lobuche, located at about 5,000 meters in the Everest Valley. Snowfall and gale-force storms are currently making mountaineering impossible in the region around the world’s highest mountain.

Tent ruined

Jost Kobusch in his tent on Lho La
Stormy tent night on Lho La

During Kobusch’s last ascent to Lho La, a 6,000-meter-high pass between Nepal and Tibet, the storm had ruined his tent. “I heard cracking, poles broke and tore a hole in the flysheet. The whole thing completely collapsed,” Jost wrote afterwards. “The wind was so strong I was lucky not to have flown back to Everest Base Camp with my tent like a magic carpet.”

The young German climber set out to climb Mount Everest solo and without bottled oxygen via the seldom-tried West Ridge route. In his first winter attempt two years ago, Jost had made it as far as the West Shoulder at around 7,400 meters. This time he has set himself the goal of cracking the 8,000-meter mark. But that is currently out of the question. The wind is still blowing hard, and heavy snowfall is also expected on Friday.

“Working hard”

Things are no different at the eight-thousander Manaslu in western Nepal. ” We start February with a significant snowfall, but with super high motivation and witnessing that the wind blows more strongly at higher altitudes and it snows more at lower altitudes”, the Spaniard Alex Txikon posted on Twitter yesterday. ” According to this we are proposing the strategy. Working hard!”

Italian Simone Moro, one of Txikon’s team partners, keeps fit with mountain runs in the tourist village of Kalinchowk at 3,840 meters, about 150 kilometers northeast of Nepal’s capital Kathmandu. The 54-year-old plans to return to Manaslu as soon as calmer winter weather appears there.

The two Nepalese teams around Gelje Sherpa as well as Mingma Dorchi Sherpa, who independently want to open a route suitable for commercial expeditions on the Nepalese side of Cho Oyu, have not yet entered the flank of the mountain.

Camp 1 reached on K2

K2 with snow banner (in 2004)

Winter is also showing its teeth on Pakistan’s eight-thousanders. After the German climber David Göttler and the Italian Hervé Barmasse abandoned their expedition on Nanga Parbat because of the bad weather forecast, only the commercial Nepalese team is left on K2, with its only client Grace Tseng from Taiwan. The team, led by Nima Gyalzen Sherpa, climbed to Camp 1 at around 6,000 meters, according to their own account. Also on the second highest mountain on earth snowfall is expected for the coming days and from the weekend also stronger winds.

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