Alex Txikon is already at Annapurna Base Camp (8,091 m). The winter return to a ochomil It was forged at the Manaslu summit (January 6, 2023). “In two moments when I was able to look up to enjoy, well saying enjoy is a mistake, but to contemplate the landscape I saw the Annapurna. It was a connection and weeks later it irrationally led me to try this ochomil winter when I was walking on the Baltoro glacier,” Txikon tells MARCA from Annapurna.
That connection coincided with the feeling of emptiness that he experienced when arriving at the Manaslu Base Camp after stepping on its summit: “I was not satisfied or happy without knowing why. I did not find happiness. So much effort, three fruitless years on Everest plus another on K2, three on Manaslu and suddenly you achieve it and you have not done anything extraordinary, you don’t know how to channel those emotions. I realized that the most beautiful thing was the path,” says Txikon.
“Going into Annapurna and trying it in winter conditions, which has not been attempted since 1987, I think deserves a minimum of respect.“, analyzes Txikon while remembering the history of this mountain: “It was the first ochomil which was escalated in the year 50, as far as is known. We have three spring expeditions, especially the one on the 24th of the British in which Mallory and Irvine were seen above 8,650 meters….”
He Basque mountaineer already crowned this peak in 2010 in spring on the Edurne Pasabán expedition. On February 26, 2016, together with Simone Moro and Ali Sadpara, he was the first to climb Nanga Parbat (8,125 m) in winter, after trying without success in 2015. This 2023 he achieved the winter of Manaslu (after having tried in 2021 and 2022).
“Seeing this ratio, “I have to wait six years to summit Annapurna in winter,” he says, laughing.. “I started in this in 2011 and in 12 years I have done two six thousand, two seven thousand and two eight thousand. We go without any pressure but with the tension of doing our job as best as possible. We are not going to risk even half of half of what we did in Manaslu is more than clear to me,” he points out.
Txikon departed on November 29 from Bilbao. He has completed three weeks of acclimatization at altitudes that are not excessively high but have given him a good amount of nights at altitude. He acknowledges that the hard work was months ago to achieve sufficient means to launch the expedition of which six Nepalese climbers (Chhepal, Ang Gyalu, Passan Nurbu, Magkpa, Mig Temba, Lakpa and Pemba) and the Italian Mattia Conte are part. , as well as Andrés Navamuel, photographer and mountaineer.
He The challenge is to avoid the hours when temperatures plummet and the risk of avalanches increases.intertwined with the danger contained in the North Face route, which the Frenchmen Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal traveled in 1950.
“I’m noticing a complex winter. Easy to diagnose, a priori, because you have clear skies but the wind is strange. There is a tense calm in the air since we arrived here, like treacherous weather even though we see little precipitation. We will have to move quickly,” he analyzes. Among the options is un attack to the top in the last week of December since conditions usually worsen at the beginning of the year.
There is a tense calm in the air since we arrived here; we will have to move quickly
The climate puts on the table what happened this year on Everest where the highest number of deaths has been recorded to date: 18. “The essence of that mountain is still intact and pure. We have to govern the situation and channel this great colossus. I believe that overcrowding is not a burden, but in a country like Nepal we have to put in place a cover that leads to regulations and certain restrictions to do things as best as possible,” Txikon says.
The debate on the future of mountaineering is taking place at a time when historic peaks are being questioned due to the new measurements of the eight-thousanders and races against the clock are underway to summit one after the other. “You have to be a little more objective and write consensual and mountaineering stories with knowing how to do real mountaineering, without discrediting anyone. Mountaineering is undergoing a very beautiful evolution. There are many challenges to achieve, what is needed is more good work“, comments Txikon who does not know what will come after Annapurna: “God will say, depending on what happens we will begin to build a new path. I’m already old, I’m 42, and I still haven’t realized. “It’s what I have to consider and be aware of.”