Winter Everest Summit Attempt [Updated]

After month long preparations and a long wait at BC, its action time on Everest. Alex Txikon, Ali Sadpara and the five climbing Sherpa Temba Bothe, Nuri, Cheppal, Pasang Norbu and Wolung Dorgie are enroute the summit of the mountain. If everything goes as per plan, they will be reaching the top on February 25th. Alex Txikon (and perhaps Ali Sadpara too) intend to climb the mountain without supplemental oxygen. If successful, they will be first to do so in calendar winter. Icefall doctors Gyelsen and Tenzing Gyelsen facilitated route fixing through Khumbu Icefall, but are not part of summit-bid.

Summit Push Plan
The seven climbers left Base Camp for the summit on February 21st. Although, weather window wasn’t perfectly favourable, the team decided to give it a go due to multiple issues. They had remained in BC for three weeks since acclimatization to 7900m. The climbing permit was due to expire on February 28th and its extension is a costly affair. Besides, there was no definite summit window in future beyond. The team has thus announced this one to be “first and the only” summit push of the season.

The climbers made it to C2 (6500m) on February 21st directly from BC. A couple of days ago, they had climbed to the camp to find tents blown away by strong wind of past weeks. Nonetheless, they were able to fix sections of icefall. Yesterday, on February 22nd, they remained in C2. Perhaps, trying to rest, recover and readjust to the altitude.

The ascent resumed this morning and the climbers are already approaching the C3 (7150m). As per plan, they will spend the night there and climb to C4 (South Col, ca 8000m) tomorrow (February 24th). After a few hours rest, they will leave for the summit, targeting to reach the top on 25th.

Weather forecast for upcoming days is neither too good, nor too bad. The conditions will be extremely challenging for the climb, nonetheless.

Preparations and Acclimatization
Alex Txikon, Ali Sadpara and team of Sherpa climbers and Icefall doctors reached the mountain in first week of January. By mid of the month, they had established C1 (6050m) and C2 (6500m), consuming considerably less time than previous year’s expedition.

After a little rest, the team went up nearby seven-thousander Pumori. On January 20th, Alex Txikon, Ali Sadpara, Pemba Bhote Sherpa and Nuri Sherpa reached the top. 7161m summit perfectly served the purpose of acclimatization.

After recovering from efforts on Pumori and waiting out bad weather in BC, climbers returned to Everest at the end of January. They opened route to C3 (7150m) on 29th, slept in the camp a day later and fixed the route till 7900m, just short of C4, on January 31st. They remained in Base Camp since their retreat on February 1st, till excursion to C2 on February 19th.

Team reached C3 (7150m) on February 23rd. However, strong wind and extreme cold forced them to turn back following. They are all well, resting in BC and pondering over future course of action. They may have to extend climbing permit for another attempt in March.

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