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Expedition team settles down in Base Camp: Climbing action ahead

Alex Txikon, together with a large team, reached Base Camp at the feet of Ama Dablam (6,848m) on Jan16 and now prepare to start the climb, weather permitting, next Wednesday. The climbers and a trekking group reached Base camp at 4,600m, safe and healthy, after enjoying six days of trekking in great weather. Contrary to Alexs previous winter expeditions up the Khumbu valley, they have found the trail covered in snow from Namche Bazaar, at approximately 3.400m.

Its worth noting the remarkable performance of Jess, Jos and Alejandro, the three young disabled trekkers belonging to Amiab association. Together with four coaches, they are currently staying in base camp but soon will depart towards Gorak Shep, at 5,100m, which they expect to rearch on Jan 23.

The snow-covered terrain has allowed Alex and the team to put into practice one of the lessons learnt last winter on K2. In just four hours, weve built an igloo for the night, Alex announced. They are not so easy to build, but Id say were kind of experts by now.

Last year, the team found out that Igloos provided a comfortable shelter in Winter Himalayan base camps, with a stable temperature inside, better isolation from the wind and noise and, subsequently, a healthy rest which improved their physical condition to tackle the climb ahead conditions. While some of our climbing mates shivered as the night fell, we enjoyed a constant -2C inside the igloo.

Otherwise, Base Camp is perfectly installed and organized thanks to Katmandu-based 7 Summit Treks, the expedition outfitter in charge of the expeditions logistics.

As for climbing plans, the team is celebrating the Puya ceremony on Monday, Jan 20. Funny enough, on Jan 20 two years ago we stood on the Summit of Pumori, Alex recalled. The climb this time will have to wait at least until Wednesday though, due to forecast announcing a turn for the worse in weather conditions on Tuesday. Weve got plenty of time to climb this impressive peak. Some team members have already scouted the route up to Camp 1 and the mountain is in excellent conditions, Txikon said. All going well, the entire team would set off towards Camp 1 for the night on Wednesday, and then further up, they just said. However, according to the expedition leaders calculations, the climb should be completed by the end of January.

While most team members are new to Ama Dablam, the current climb is a long hoped-for reencounter for Ramon Portilla, a Pioneer of Spains high-altitude climbing, who attempted Ama Dablam 23 years ago (back then he turned around 100 meters shy from the top) and who has joined the expedition last-minute. Ramon didnt believe me when I told him that, sometimes, one may trek up the Khumbu valley in winter with just a t-shirt on, Alex said. Now he does, and he is also starting to believe that this time he is going to make it to the summit of Ama Dablam. Definitely, he can count of the whole team here to support him.

The expedition leader remarks the positive atmosphere within the team, despite the large number of members: Oscar Cardo and Jonatan Garcia (also going for Everest right after Ama Dablam), Ramon Portilla, Felix Criado, Sergio Perez, Francisco Miguel Fernandez, Alejandro Albacete, David Javega, Jesus Morales, Jose Manuel Zapata and Francisco Hurtado, plus Nepalese Pasang Sherpa and Chhepal Sherpa. Climbing in such a great atmosphere is so rewarding, Txikon claimed. I just hope we will enjoy every single day ahead as much as we have done since we first met in Kathmandu ten days ago.

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  • : Alex Txicon

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