Winter 2017 Update: Everest Team Reaches 7800m, Manaslu Attempt Thwarted

Manaslu team has left the Base Camp, as five meter deep snow made the summit-bid impossible. Elisabeth Revol is on the way back to Kathmandu. Whereas, it has been an eventful week on Everest: a member of expedition was heli-evacuated from C2. Others made it to 7800m.

Manaslu
Elisabeth Revol hoped to make first complete winter ascent of Manaslu, solo and in alpine style. However, the continued snow and strong wind made the climb difficult and dangerous. It’s reported that Elisabeth launched a summit-attempt last week but could only reach 7300m.

“Days by days it's snowing [heavily]. Since we arrived here, 5 meters of snow has accumulated.” She wrote on her Facebook page, while returning to Kathmandu.

Elisabeth Revol was accompanied by fellow climber Ludovic Giambiasi - who climbed no further than C2 and two BC staff members.  The team started the return journey on January 23.



Everest
Alex Txikon and the Sherpa team have fixed route till 7800m. Another Spanish member of the team Carlos Rubio, however, had to be evacuated from mountain due to lung infection.

The Spanish-Nepalese team arrived at BC in first week of January. During first rotation, they fixed route through icefall till 5800m. In second push, they spent a night just below C1 - at around 5850m. Following day (January 14th), they set up C1 at around 6050m. Meanwhile, in an unfortunate incident, the liaison officer of the expedition, Padang Jung Rai, died on January 18th due to complications related to altitude illness.

In third foray, between Jan 18th and 24th, Alex Txikon and group of eight Sherpa (Nima, Ghense, Norbu, Nuri, Chhepal, Furba, Lakpa and Pemba) established two camps C2 & C3 and fixed the route till 7800m. However, the second Spanish climber, Carlos Rubio, suffered lung infection during ascent to C2 and had to be evacuated from camp. He is already back in Spain.

As per Alex Txikon, the strong wind on January 19th made the ascent to C2 challenging. “The wind blew very very hard, we were thrown to ground with strong bursts. We were solving different obstacles that the glacier proposed to us; solving crack to crack and finally, we were lucky. Once we passed the last bottomless crack, we entered the valley of silence.”

Next day, Alex, Norbu and Nuri started the work towards C3. The bergschrund at 6700m presented the first technical challenge of the day. It took them more than two hours to overcome the obstacle and enter Lhotse Face. Nonetheless, the weather conditions deteriorated and trio turned back from 6900m.

The team (partially) rested in C2 on 21st, as they moved the camp a little higher and Carlos Rubio had to be heli-evacuated that evening.

On 22nd, Norbu, Nuri, Chhepal and Alex established C3 at around 7300m. They spent a rough night as strong gusts of wind kept pounding the little tent throughout the night. Nonetheless, it was a clear and calm morning next day. While exhausted Chhepal decides to turn back, the other three resumed the rope-fixing. Despite strong wind and intense cold, they were able to fix the route till 7800m. They, then, descended to C2.

On 24th, they negotiated some damaged sections of icefall and reached the safety of BC. “It is too early to draw conclusions, let alone to make decisions. I think we should not rush; we have just start.” Alex Txikon wrote in his final dispatch.

Photos: Alex Txikon
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