Home NEWS Winter Progress on Annapurna: Txikon’s Team Racing Toward Camp 3

Winter Progress on Annapurna: Txikon’s Team Racing Toward Camp 3

by thesummiters.com
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Winter Progress on Annapurna: Txikon’s Team Racing Toward Camp 3

Despite the holiday season, the Winter Annapurna climbers are making relentless progress, capitalizing on stable weather conditions. Their pace suggests the possibility of reaching the summit and descending before the arrival of the New Year.

Alex Txikon and his team wasted no time arriving at Base Camp on December 23 and promptly departing for Camp 1 on the next morning.

Annapurna's north side looks quite dry above Base Camp. Photo: @navamuel.andres
Annapurna’s north side looks quite dry above Base Camp. Photo: @navamuel.andres
Camp 1 on Winter Annapurna. Photos: @navamuel.andres

As of today, above Camp 2

Yesterday, on December 25, Txikon’s team ascended the glacier and established Camp 2 at 5,600m, as reported by Txikon’s support crew. They faced significant challenges, maneuvering through deep snow in three demanding sections while heavily laden.

Txikon observed generally favorable conditions, albeit somewhat windy. Presently, they are in the process of securing ropes toward Camp 3.

Approximate location of Txikon’s Camp 2. Photo: @navamuel.andres
Approximate location of Txikon’s Camp 2. Photo: @navamuel.andres

The stretch between Camp 2 and Camp 3 involves navigating a complex network of seracs and exposure to potential avalanches from above, known as the most technical and hazardous section on Annapurna’s standard route. It was in this zone last spring that Indian climber Anurag Maloo fell into a crevasse but was miraculously rescued.

The team anticipates reaching Camp 3 today. Ordinarily, climbers return to Base Camp for rest and to gather equipment and supplies required for establishing Camp 4 and commencing the final ascent. However, in an interview with the Spanish paper Marca two days ago, Txikon expressed the possibility of attempting a summit push during the last week of December.

The Basque climber aims for swiftness due to concerns about potential deteriorating conditions in January.

Summit Plans

A summit attempt remains on the table but would necessitate utilizing the supplies, ropes, and additional oxygen already transported up.

The favorable aspect is that Annapurna, at 8,091m, stands as a “lower” 8,000-meter peak. Typically, Sherpas activate their oxygen support above 7,000m, but this time they might consider forgoing it. Alex Txikon has never relied on supplemental oxygen in his climbs, be it summer or winter.

Their limited acclimatization from their time on Chulu Far East would be a key factor. Although the team didn’t reach the 6,019m summit due to high winds, Txikon remains hopeful that they acclimatized sufficiently for Annapurna.

Additionally, the peak’s dry nature might present sections of hard ice requiring fixing. However, uncertainties exist regarding the amount of available rope, unless they opt for using old ropes from the previous spring, given the absence of expeditions to Annapurna last fall.

Likewise, for Camp 4, there’s a possibility of relocating some tents higher up from Camps 1 or 2. Alternatively, they might consider bypassing Camp 4 if they feel exceptionally strong. However, during the winter season with short daylight hours, having a tent secured at Camp 4 serves as a crucial backup plan.

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