Alex Txikon reaches 6,400 meters in Annapurna

Alex Txikon, Chhepal, The Love, Passan Nurbu, Magkpa, My Fear, Lakpa, Pemba and Mattia Conte they are already Return to Annapurna Base Camp (4,200 meters) after having completed the first rotation at altitude, which has taken them to 6,400 meters, in their attempted winter ascent to this ‘eight thousand’.

The team of eight climbers left Base Camp on December 23, “without a clear objective, beyond working as much as the mountain would allow us,” Txikon commented upon their return. The Basque mountaineer carried more than 30 kilos on his back, but that did not prevent him from reaching C1 (5,150m) at 3 p.m., “with more than 1,000 meters of positive slope.” They have marked the entire route of crossing the glacier with bamboo stakes for the following rotations at altitude. “During the climb I remembered a lot of what has been my best spring, when we summited with Edurne Pasaban on Annapurna and Shisha Pagma,” explains Txikon.

They spent Christmas Eve in Field 1. “We had lentils and rice for dinner, we had a great time,” says Txikon. On December 25, the group was divided into two, each of the climbers carried 25 kilos of material to Camp 2 (approximately 5,600 meters). “I don’t really like the location of the C2 on a hillside… I spend the night thinking about it and getting restless,” Txikon admits.

This Monday the entire team, despite the strong wind, headed to Camp 3. “Thank goodness The gusts have not been constant. We left with 1,200 meters of rope to equip, and 2 snowbound tents to deposit in C3 at 6,400m,” explained the Basque mountaineer.

“The sensations are good, but we cannot trust ourselves. It has been 4 days (December 22) since we arrived at Base Camp. We have already spent four days (December 23, 24, 25 and 26) and 3 nights at altitude. We have until Field 3 equipped and we are all very strong. Time has been with us and that is key. But the mountain will tell us yes or no… Now it’s time to regain strength and as soon as we can we will push up again,” says Txikon.

Annapurna has not been crowned in winter since 1987

Annapurna (8,091 meters) has not been trodden in winter for almost 37 years. On February 3, 1987, Poles Jerzy Kukuczka and Artur Hajzer set foot on the summit in an expedition that also included Krzysztof Wielicki and Wanda Rutkiewicz, but they did not reach the summit. That same year, the Japanese Noboru Yamada, Toshiyuki Kobayashi, Yasuhira Saito and Teruo Saegusa crowned Annapurna on December 20. For purists it would not be a fully winter summit as it was achieved one day before the start of astronomical winter.


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