Winter 2017: South Col Bout, Everest Team Readies for Summit-Bid

Alex Txikon and fellow Sherpa climbers made it to C4 (7950m) in a quick single-day ascent from C2 last week. They deposited some gear for summit-push and returned to lower camps. The Spaniard retreated all the way to Base Camp that day, while Norbu, Nuri, Furba, Chhepal and Pemba spent another night in C2. The team rests and recovers in Base Camp, as they wait for summit window.
Photo: Alex Txikon (alextxikon.com)

Sparrows and Crows
The team left Base Camp on Thursday (February 2nd), aiming to reach South Col in fourth acclimatization rotation. It took them eight hours to negotiate the treacherous icefall and reach C2 (6350m). The camp - tent and the gear inside it - however, was swept away by hurricane winds. They spent considerable time searching for missing material spread all over the moraine. By the end, the team decided to rest in C2 for a day and to reach C4 on Saturday (Feb 4th).

“We spent Friday 3rd, in silence. We usually laugh, joke, but today nobody does so; It is normal, because what lies ahead is going to be very hard. It is 18.00 in the afternoon and we lie down to rest in sleeping bags, again silence; and with the silence comes the beautiful song of the sparrows. In C2 we are surrounded by sparrows and crows, which is scary!”
Photo: Alex Txikon (alextxikon.com)

The South Col Day
The 1600-vertical-meters push from C2 (6350m) to C4 (7950m)  started very early. The climbers were ready to venture into extreme cold at around mid-night. They obviously were worried about getting cold and suffering frostbite, thwarting the future summit-attempt possibility. The team thus started climbing quickly.

By 5:00am, while the wind had significantly increased the chill, climbers crossed C3. They continued the ascent at a rapid pace. “At last the sun appears in C2; That means that it is 9.10 and we are about 7800 meters; We have left on our right the C4 of Lhotse, and even in the shade, they are already 8 hours in the dark and shade.”

Climbers reached the South Col at around noon. “I leave the 15 kg I carried between tent, gas, rope and pull down with Chhepal” writes Alex Txikon. The Spaniard decides to return back to BC, after a brief rest in C2. Others spent the night in Camp and descended next day. Alex Txikon completed the C2-C4-BC round-trip in 18 hours.
Photo: Alex Txikon (alextxikon.com)
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