Editions:  Austria · Denmark · France · Germany · Italy · Norway · Spain · Sweden · Switzerland
Advertisement

Spanish climber calls off winter Everest summit bid

Share this article

 Spanish climber calls off winter Everest summit bid
Photo: Alex Txikon / Facebook
10:35 CET+01:00
A Spanish climber on Tuesday abandoned his bid to make the first winter ascent of Mount Everest in 25 years after "lethal weather" forced him to retreat.

It is the second time in as many years that mountaineer Alex Txikon, 36, has been forced to call off his attempt to scale the world's highest peak in winter without the use of tanked oxygen.

The last successful winter summit was in 1993 by a Japanese team. But only one climber has previously reached the peak in winter without using supplemental oxygen: a Nepali mountaineer in December 1987.

"Alex has ended his expedition. He reached up to Camp Four but the weather did not favour him," Mingma Sherpa of Seven Summit Treks, which managed the logistics of Txikon's Everest bid, told AFP.

Txikon and his team reached 7,950 metres (26,083 feet) at the weekend, roughly 900 metres below the summit.   

 

 

READ ALSO: Spanish extreme sportsman becomes first to ski down Norway's Troll Wall

Weather forecasts had indicated that strong winds would calm early Sunday, allowing them to press on to the summit.   

But winds up to 100 kilometres (62 miles) per hour forced the team, which included experienced Pakistani climber Muhammad Ali Sadpara, to return to base camp.

"We are back at base camp from C4 (Camp Four). Very strong winds and lethal weather made it almost impossible to go for the summit," Sadpara posted on Facebook.

The temperatures near the summit of Everest in winter regularly plunge below minus 40 celsius (-40 Fahrenheit) while the wind chill makes it feel even colder.

In those conditions exposed skin freezes in less than five minutes, putting climbers at serious risk of frostbite.

Limited oxygen at high altitudes also increases the risk of frostbite as the body directs oxygen-rich blood toward its core and away from extremities.   

Txikon was climbing without supplemental oxygen used by many climbers to reduce the effects of Everest's extreme altitudes.    

The five Nepali Sherpa guides climbing with the Spaniard were used tanked oxygen. It is not clear if Sadpara was too.   

In 2016 Txikon and Sadpara became the first climbers to summit Pakistan's Nanga Parbat (8,125 metres) -- nicknamed the "Killer Mountain" -- in winter, a feat they achieved without using additional oxygen.

Hundreds of climbers flock to Everest each year hoping to reach the top of the world. But most attempt it during a narrow window of calm weather between late April and May.

Mountaineering is a major revenue-earner for impoverished Nepal, which is home to eight of the world's 14 peaks over 8,000 metres.

Every Thursday we'll deliver a free dose of news and views from Spain straight into your inbox. The newsletter will inform you about what's going on in Spain and (hopefully) entertain you with a selection of features. Sign up here.

Get notified about breaking news on The Local

Share this article

Advertisement

From our sponsors

Game-changing flight tips for smart business travellers

Whether you're flying for business or pleasure, you don't need to break the bank when booking your next transatlantic flight. As one travel blogger explains, there are ways to fly in style without forking out for a first-class ticket.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement