Showing posts with label Alex Txikon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alex Txikon. Show all posts

Winter Attempt on Everest Ends, North Pole Skiers Cancel Expeditions Too

I'm back from my adventure across the Southern Ocean to the Falkland Islands and South Georgia, and obviously have a lot to catch up on. Some major expeditions pulled the plug on their intended journeys while I was away, so before we turn towards new adventures about to begin, I thought it was best to post a recap of a few things that happened while I was away.

We'll start with an update on Alex Txikon's attempt to summit Everest in winter without the use of bottled oxygen. When I left the country a few weeks back Alex and his team were preparing to make a summit bid, even as the clock was ticking. He had been in the Himalaya since early January and with the end of winter looming, the Spanish climber knew that it was now or never.

Unfortunately for him, Mother Nature didn't cooperate and a projected weather window never materialized. High winds hit the mountain while the team was moving upwards, closing off all attempts to get anywhere near the summit. Worse yet, the weather forecast looked gloomy for the days ahead, so Alex made the tough choice of calling it quits – at least for now. Judging from his remarks following the expedition he plans to return to Everest in the future to give another winter summit a go.

Meanwhile, just as I was heading south, two teams planning to ski to the North Pole this year were embarking on their own epic journey's to the north. Sebastian Copeland and Mark George made up the Last Great March squad, while Martin Murray (along with dog companion Sky) were the other team heading in that direction. Both teams cancelled their trips just a few days into their expeditions however, meaning that once again no one will complete a full-distance journey to 90ºN this year.


Just a few days into their polar adventure, Sebastian and Mark had to call for an evacuation after Copeland began to suffer frostbite in six of his finger. Both men had been struggling with the cold conditions, which were hovering in the -60ºC/-76ºF range. That's cold, even by polar standards. The forecast had temperatures improving in the days ahead, but unfortunately the damage had already been done. Sebastian's fingers needed treatment, and the lone stove that the team had with them wasn't creating enough heat to keep them from shivering in the sleeping bags while they huddled inside their tents.

As it turns out Murray wasn't faring much better. The extreme cold had hit him and Sky hard as well, and he actually joined Sebastian and Mark on the evacuation flight. Their pick-up was delayed however because the conditions were so cold that the pilot worried that the fuel in his engine would freeze up en route. Eventually they were plucked from the ice however and returned to their starting point in Resolute Bay in Canada. It was a tough end to two expeditions that had been years in the planning. Just a few days after they left, temperatures warmed up considerably, but it was already too late for this season.

That's it for these three major expeditions we were following before I left. Now, we'll start looking ahead to big things to come, including the start of the spring season in the Himalaya.

Winter Climbs 2017: Messner Visits Txikon in Base Camp on Everest

The winter climbing season continues unabated in the Himalaya and elsewhere. The days are now ticking away rapidly, and with just two weeks to go in the season, the climbers on Everest are beginning to eye the finish line with the hopes of making one last summit bid before spring actually arrives. Meanwhile, in Alaska, another expedition is about to truly get underway.

Alex Txikon and his team have been on Everest since early January now, and have had all attempts to summit the mountain turned back due to bad weather. The team has seen its share of bad luck as well, with a couple of members being sent home after suffering injuries. In fact, the entire squad was recalled to Kathmandu a few weeks back, but after spending eight days in the Nepali capital, they returned to Base Camp last week to begin preparing for another summit push once again. They spent most of that time rebuilding the route through the Khumbu Icefall, but did manage to climb up to Camp 1 before going back down to BC.

It has been a very long and difficult season to say the least, and Alex and company are probably more than ready to wrap up this challenge and head home. If they have been feeling dejected in any way, it hasn't come through in their dispatches however, and the Spaniard has always maintained an optimistic demeanor, even when things looked like they were at their worst. Still, today he received a major shot to his morale when legendary alpinist Reinhold Messner paid them a visit in Base Camp. Just judging from his dispatch it is clear how excited Alex was to meet his idol, and it may just be the shot in the arm he needed to finally get him up the mountain.


There is not indication of when the next (and likely last) summit push will begin, but with two weeks to go in the winter, time is definitely starting to run short.

Meanwhile, up in Alaska, Lonnie Dupre and his climbing partner Pascale Marceau are en route to Mt. Carpe, a 12,552-foot (3825 meter) peak located near Denali. The duo flew into their starting point on Friday and skied 8 hours pulling heavy sleds to make their first camp at Wonder Lake. Yesterday, they reached Turtle Hill after another long day, and are now about 15 miles from where they will set up Base Camp.

One of the major challenges of this expedition is the remoteness of the mountain, with the unpredictable nature of the Alaskan winter also making things tough. But, if all goes as expected, they should be on the mountain later today, and will begin the climb tomorrow, weather permitting of course.

That's it for now. We'll continue to keep an eye on these expeditions moving forward. It won't be long until the curtain falls on another winter climbing season.

Winter Climbs 2017: Work Continues on Everest, Lonnie Dupre Launches Winter Ascent in Alaska

Now that the end of February is upon us, there are roughly three weeks left in the winter season, and climbers looking to complete an ascent during the coldest months of the year can hear the clock ticking. But, three weeks is plenty of time, and a lot can be accomplished over that period.

On Everest, Alex Txikon and his team have now completed a second day of work on the Khumbu Icefall. Alex and company have been working to restore the route through the icefall, which was disrupted while they spent eight days in Kathmandu. Yesterday, they worked at 5800 meters (19,028 ft), and seemed very pleased with their progress. Soon, they'll have regained access to the rest of the mountain, and will be watching the forecast for opportunities to launch a summit bid.

Meanwhile, Lonnie Dupre is back in Alaska and preparing to begin another winter expedition of his own. You may recall that he originally had planned to climb Mt. Hunter solo this year but was beaten back by the incredibly tough conditions that he found there. Now, he's launched an attempt to summit the 3825 meter (12,552 ft) Mt. Carpe instead, and this time he's not going it alone.

Carpe sits near Denali, the highest mountain in North America and a place that Lonnie is very familar with. In 2015 he made a solo summit of that peak during the winter, become the first to top out alone in the month of January. This time out, Dupre will be joined by Pascale Marceau, a Canadian climber with lots of experience climbing in the Canadian Rockies, where the duo have been training for the past two months.

The expedition is expected to begin on Thursday of this week, and will proceed as the weather permits. Lonnie and Pascale are expecting brutal temperatures, high winds, and possibly heavy snow while they attempt their winter summit. But before they can ever begin to climb, they must first fly into the town of Kantishna, located at the end of the Denali Park Road, then ski to the Muldrow Glacier via Wonder Lake, Turtle Hill, and McGonagall Pass. That's the same route taken by the team that completed the first ascent of Carpe back in 1913.

It goes without saying that I'll be keeping an eye on both of these expeditions as they develop over the next few days. I'll be leaving town for awhile starting next Tuesday, so I may not be able to update the final status on either of the teams, but hopefully we'll have an idea of their progress before that happens.


Winter Climbs 2017: Alex Txikon Back in Everest Base Camp

Spanish climber Alex Txikon hasn't given up on his dream of a winter summit of Everest without supplemental oxygen. After spending more than a week back in Kathmandu, he and his team have returned to the mountain and are now getting ready to make another attempt at the summit. The squad is well rested and ready to go, but now as March approaches the clock is truly ticking. 

In a blog post on his website, Alex says that he and his teammates took a helicopter from the Nepali capital back to EBC on Saturday. The climbers went from an altitude of less than 1000 meters (3280 ft) in Kathmandu to 5250 meters (17,225 ft) in Base Camp in about an hour's time. Thankfully, they are already well acclimated after weeks on the mountain so there wasn't much of an adjustment upon their return. 

The team has spent the past couple of days repairing their route through the Khumbu Icefall in preparation for their next summit push. That has allowed them to get back into the flow of moving on the mountain, and the route had fallen into disrepair while they were away in Kathmandu. The constant shifting of the ice in the icefall causes the ropes and ladders found there to shift or even collapse, but once the route is reestablished, they'll start thinking about the next move. 

The forecast looks promising in the days ahead, but it is unclear at this point when an actually attempt on the summit will begin. Once a path through the icefall is created, the team will be free to begin moving back up the mountain, but they'll still need to keep an eye on the weather to ensure they have a real shot at topping out. The next summit bid is likely to be the last, so careful strategy and planning is required. 

We'll keep an eye on the team's progress and post updates in the days ahead. It shouldn't be long now until the definitive summit push gets underway. 

Winter Climbs 2017: Everest Expedition Back in Kathmandu, Vow to Return to Base Camp

It has been a strange and turbulent week for Alex Txikon and his climbing partners. This time last week, the Spaniard, along with Nurbu and Chhepal Sherpa, were waiting for weather window to open to make a push to the summit. But when good conditions failed to materialize, they found themselves retreating to Base Camp to escape brutal winds and cold temperatures. But on the descent, Chhepal was injured by a falling rock, which forced the entire team back to Kathmandu, with the expedition apparently coming to an end. But Alex has vowed to return and says that his dance with Everest is not over just yet.

The unexpected return to the Nepali capital came about when news of Chhepal's injury reached the owners of Seven Summits Treks. Fearing for the safety of its employees, the entire squad was recalled to Kathmandu via helicopter, with Alex going with them. Once there, it seems there was a disagreement with how to proceed – or whether or not to continue with the winter attempt on Everest at all. But Alex says on his Facebook page that they are all preparing to return, and that his business has not yet been concluded. 

The most recent update indicates that the team is still in Kathmandu, but that they intend to return to Base Camp very soon. Exactly when they'll arrive back in BC remains to be seen, but the forecast does not indicate that a good weather window is imminent for the coming week, so they may well take their time before heading back up. They'll travel by helicopter once again as well, so it is possible that the conditions could delay the flight too. Still, Alex and company are as determined as ever to reach the summit, so look for them to be back on the mountain as soon as possible.

As I write this, there is exactly one month left in the winter season. That is plenty of time to still make the ascent as Alex has envisioned it, which is without the use of bottled oxygen. But, the expedition has taken its toll. Living on the mountain for six weeks has been a challenge, with brutal weather conditions at times. Worse yet, the Spanish climber says that he has lost 12 kg (26.4 pounds) so far, which isn't great for his overall health either.

We'll keep an eye on the team's progress and post updates as warranted. Right now, the next step is just getting back on the mountain. From there, we'll have to wait to see what happens.

Winter Climbs 2017: Txikon Not Done With Everest Yet!

Yesterday I reported that Spanish climber Alex Txikon and his climbing partners Nurbu and Chhepal Sherpa, had abandoned their summit bid on Everest after encountering high winds at Camp 4. At the time, the team was descending back to Base Camp, and it was unclear whether or not they would stay on the mountain or head home, as previously Txikon had said this would be the only attempt at the summit. But now, they're all safely back in BC and it is clear that the expedition is not over just yet.

Once back in Base Camp, Alex sent a Twitter message in which he says that he has not yet given up on the climb, and that he'll wait and see what the days ahead bring before leaving Everest. He also posted a detailed report of the team's summit bid, which includes insights into what they faced while above Camp 3. You may recall that the Spaniard was part of the team that made the first winter ascent of Nanga Parbat last year, and he said that was much easier than what they faced on Everest. At times, he and his Sherpa companions couldn't even stand due to the high winds, and with temperatures dropping to -45ºC/-45ºF conditions were brutal. Fortunately, they all made it back down safely, although another member of the team is now going home due to injury.

According to the report, there was an avalanche on the descent that nearly wiped them off the mountain. While Alex came away mostly unscathed, Chhepal suffered a head injury and will depart for Kathmandu today. The team is now down to just five members as this war of attrition with the mountain wears on.

For now, the team will sit and wait, and watch the weather once again. Alex seems determined to give it another go despite his earlier predictions of a single summit push. Despite having to abandon the attempt on the summit, the team did climb back up to C4 and spend another night at C3, which should help their overall acclimatization. If the weather cooperates, they'll make another go of it once they are rested.

Like Alex and his team, all we do is wait for more news too.

Winter Climbs 2017: Is It Over on Everest?

Yesterday, I posted an update on the progress of Alex Txikon and his team, who have been attempting a rare summit of Everest during the winter months, and without supplemental oxygen no less. When last we checked in, the team's summit bid had stalled out due to high winds, and they were forced to retreat to Camp 3 to seek shelter. Now, comes word that they are descending back to Base Camp, and that the expedition may be over.

As reported in that previous story, Alex, along with Nurbu and Chhepal Sherpa had reached C4 at 7950 meters (26,082 ft). But when they got there, the discovered that the winds were so strong that they couldn't even pitch their tents, so they elected to turn around and head back down to C3 to rest. At the time, the plan had been to wait for better weather to make the final push to the top. The winds were expected to remain strong through today, but good weather was in the forecast for later in the week. But now, the forecast may have shifted and the team seems to be heading back to BC.

According to ExWeb, Alex and his companions started back down the mountain this morning with the intent of going all the way back to Base Camp. Once there, they'll weigh their options and decide what to do next. There is a good chance however that they will elect to call off any future summit bids, as when they set off on this attempt the Spanish climber indicated that this would be their final push. If that's the case, it may be just a matter of a few days before they pick up their gear and start the trek home. On the other hand, they may decide that they have enough stamina, determination, and supplies to give it another go, provided the forecast looks promising.

For now, we'll have to wait to see how things proceed. We should know more in another day or two. It has been a long winter in the Himalaya for Txikon and his team, but they have also been climbing very strong and things have looked promising. Perhaps they're not quite done yet.


Winter Climbs 2017: Waiting Out the Weather on Everest

A summit push is underway on Everest, where Alex Txikon and his team are attempting a winter ascent of the highest mountain on the planet. But the current ascent hasn't been an easy one, and although a weather window is still expected to open later this week, the team is currently in Camp 3 at 7400 meters (24,278 ft) waiting for an opportunity to climb higher.

Posting on Twitter, Txikon says that the team actually made it all the way up to Camp 4 at 7950 meters (26,082 ft), but because the winds were so high he, along with Nurbu Sherpa and Chhepal Sherpa, were forced to retreat. Winds in excess of 70 km/h (43 mph) made it impossible to build their tents and take shelter there, so they have dropped back down to C3 to rest and wait out the current storm. That may take another day or two, as conditions are expected to remain the same through Tuesday, meaning they could move back up to C4 by Wednesday, with a final push to the top coming on Thursday.

Alex is attempting to summit the mountain without the use of supplemental oxygen, which is hard enough during the prime climbing season in the spring, let alone in the winter. This feat has only been accomplished once in the past, so we could potentially see history in the works. Of course, there is a lot of climbing to be done yet and the weather has to cooperate, but the team is reportedly fit, in good spirits, and ready to go. They have said however, that this will be there one and only summit bid, so hopefully everything comes together to give them a legitimate chance of topping out.

We'll continue to keep an eye on Alex's progress. If the weather forecasts are true, it seems likely that he'll hold in place tomorrow as well, although if the winds do subside, the team could move up to C4 and be ready to take advantage of the anticipated weather window that is coming later in the week. I'll post more news as it comes, but for now, take a look at the video below to get an idea of what Everest is like during the winter.


Winter Climbs 2017: Alex Txikon Launches Summit Bid on Everest Tomorrow

It has been a very busy month and a half in the Himalaya for Spanish climber Alex Txikon. He has worked extremely hard since his arrival in Everest Base Camp in early January, and now all of that hard work is about to come to a head. According to reports, Txikon will set off on his summit bid tomorrow, with an eye on topping out sometime next week.

At the moment, the weather on Everest is still a bit dicey, but that is expected to change early next week when a period of relative calm is expected to settle in across the area. To take advantage of this rare winter weather window, Alex, along with Nurbu and Cheppal Sherpa, will leave Base Camp on Saturday, Feb. 11. The following day, the trio will be joined Nuri, Pemba, and Furba Sherpa, and the entire team will progress up the mountain together.

If they are able to stick to a typical Everest schedule, they should be in Camp 4 by next Tuesday,  just as the weather window is set to appear. That would give them the opportunity to summit on Wednesday and get back down the following day. However, the current conditions may not allow them to reach C4 at 7950 meters (26,082 ft), so that schedule may be a bit too optimistic. That said, good weather conditions are expected to arrive early in the week and extend until next Saturday.

A winter summit of Everest is rare enough these days, but Alex is making an even rarer attempt by going to the top without the use of bottled oxygen. That has only been accomplished one time in the past, when Ang Rita Sherpa did it back in 1987. That summit was made on the first full day of winter however, and not in the heart of the season.

It appears that this may be the one and only summit bid however. In the article linked to above, Alex is quoted as saying, "The die is thrown, there will only be one attack on the summit." If that is accurate, than this truly is it. We'll all know how it turns out in a few short days.

Good luck to Alex and the entire team.

Winter Climbs 2017: Txikon Back in Base Camp, Ready for Summit Attempt

At the end of last week I wrote that Spanish climber Alex Txikon had set out from Everest Base Camp to take advantage of a brief weather window that had opened on the mountain. At the time, there was some speculation that he might be making an attempt on the summit, although I suspected it would be his final acclimatization rotation instead. Now, after a very busy couple of days on the mountain, we know two things: The weather window has closed and Alex is ready to make history once again this winter. 

Txikon and his band of Sherpa climbing partners left BC last Thursday to make a push up the Lhotse Face. The team made solid time as they enjoyed good weather on their way up the mountain, first staying in Camp 2 for the night, before proceeding up to C3 the following day. Ultimately, they would establish Camp 4 at 7950 meters (26,082 ft) on Saturday, where they would deposit gear that will eventually be needed for the coming summit push. Once they dropped off the equipment, they immediately turned around and descended back down the mountain, with the Sherpas remaining in C2 while Alex himself continued back to Base Camp.

Now, all the members of the team have safely reached BC, where they are awaiting a storm that is expected to arrive early this week. That storm will bring high winds, lots of snow, and very cold conditions. But, it isn't expected to be a large weather pattern, and the forecast says it will move on later in the week. That means that another weather window could open within a few days, giving the team a chance to go for the summit at long last. 

Alex says that he is now full acclimatized but he needs rest before launching his summit bid. He'll get time to regather his strength while the weather is bad. Once the storm passes and he's had a few days to recuperate, the final push will begin. The Spaniard says that he is now ready to go and the stage has been set. All he needs is a stretch of good weather conditions and he will have a go at the summit. 

As if climbing Everest in the winter isn't challenging enough, Alex is also doing so without the use of bottled oxygen, something that has only been accomplished once in the past. You may recall that the Spanish climber is use to making history during the winter, as last year he was part of the squad that put up the first ascent of Nanga Parbat during that season as well. 

For now, just like Alex and his teammates, we have to sit and wait. But the next time he leaves BC, it should be for an attempt on the summit. I'll let you know when that happens and will have regular updates on his progress in the days ahead. 

Winter Climbs 2017: Txikon in BC After Reaching Camp 3

Spanish mountaineer Alex Txikon has set a blistering pace for himself so far on Everest this winter, but he is currently back in Base Camp after reaching a milestone in his current expedition to that mountain. And while things have been going well so far, the biggest challenges are yet to come, and he hasn't accomplished all of his goals just yet. 

After arriving in Nepal a little over a month ago, and spending the first week and a half of the expedition trekking to Everest Base Camp, Alex and his climbing partner Carlos Rubio, along with a small but very dedicated team of Sherpas, began their expedition in the early part of January. Since then, the squad has completed a route through the difficult Khumbu Icefall, and shuttled gear up to several high camps as part of their acclimatization efforts. With good weather aiding the cause, things were evolving rapidly and surprisingly well early on.

But as we learned last week, Rubio was forced to leave the mountain when he developed a medical condition that was serious enough to prevent him form continuing the climb. That dealt a severe blow to the team's morale, but Alex is a seasoned alpinist and has soldiered on without his friend. In fact, while Carlos was getting evacuated from the mountain, Txikon was on his way to Camp 3, and even higher. Last week he reached that point, and 7300 meters (23,950 ft). Once there, they deposited some gear and spent the night, allowing their bodies to grow accustomed to the thin air. Later, they went up even further, reaching 7800 meters (25,590 ft), before returning to Base Camp for a much deserved rest. 

Since then, Alex has stayed in BC and is regaining strength while watching the weather closely. He also wrote a blog post in which he discusses the team's efforts so far, and provides some insights into what they've been going through. While from the outside, it seems they've had a fairly successful and relatively easy go of it so far, the reality is that climbing Everest is hard work, and doubly so during the winter with limited support. The mere fact that this team has to build and maintain its own route through the Icefall speaks volumes of the challenges that they've faced. During the regular climbing season in the spring, an entire team of very experienced Sherpas are dedicated to that very task. 

Alex also expressed his appreciation of the team that he has around him. It isn't large, but it is very dedicated, with everyone working very hard and focused on achieving their goal – a summit of Everest in winter without the use of supplemental oxygen. 

As of now, there is still more than a month and a half to go to achieve that goal. To do that, they'll need to overcome extremely cold temperatures, poor weather conditions, and sheer physical exhaustion. Can they do it? We'll just have to continue watching and waiting to see if it happens. If Alex and his team do summit however, it'll be the first time in decades anyone has done without oxygen during the most difficult season of all. 

Winter Climbs 2017: Carlos Rubio Leaves Everest, Elisabeth Revol Departs Manaslu

The list of winter mountaineering expeditions continues to get smaller and smaller this year, as one team has completely abandoned its attempt to summit a Himalayan giant, while another loses one of its climbers due to illness.

We'll begin with an update from Elisabeth Revol, who had been hoping to summit Manaslu this winter. The last we heard from Revol and her teammate Ludovic Giambiasi they had arrived in Base Camp on that mountain, where heavy snow had been falling for the better part of the month of January. It turns out, that snow didn't let up much, and high winds only made the experience worse. According to The Himalayan Times, the duo were able to climb as high as 7300 meters (23,950 ft) as part of their acclimatization efforts, but the weather simply didn't cooperate enough to allow them to continue past that point. Worse yet, the long term forecasts indicate the rest of the winter could very well maintain the current weather pattern, making their attempts fruitless. Revol and Giambiasi have already depart the mountain and are on their way home.

Meanwhile, over on Everest, the team of Alex Txikon and Carlos Rubio have had their own brand of drama. Yesterday, Rubio had to be evacuated from Everest Base Camp due to a severe lung infection. The young ski-mountaineer shared a video update from a hospital in Kathmandu where he assures everyone following the expedition that all is well and that the issue isn't serious. Still, it was bad enough that he did have to seek treatment and abandon his attempt to climb and ski Everest this winter.

While the news of Rubio's departure is a sad one for the team, Txikon has continued climbing at a regular and steady pace. On Sunday, he reached Camp 3 at 7400 meters (24,278 ft) on the mountain, and is acclimatizing nicely so far. Unlike on Manaslu, Everest has been relatively calm thus far, with manageable winds and snowfalls. Txikon is hoping to summit the mountain without the use of supplemental oxygen and so far things are progressing about as well as could be expected. 

With Revol's withdraw from Manaslu and Lonnie Dupre's departure from Mt. Hunter in Alaska, Txikon's Everest expedition is the last major winter climb that we're following this season. Hopefully it will continue to unfold in a safe manner, otherwise we'll be waiting for the spring season for any significant news from the Himalaya. 

Good luck to Alex and the remainder of his support team as the continue to press forward on the Big Hill. 

Winter Climbs 2017: Txikon and Company in Camp 2 on Everest

With Lonnie Dupre abandoning his attempt to summit Mt. Hunter in Alaska this winter, we have one less expedition to follow this season. Still, there are major climbs taking place on Everest and Manaslu that should keep us occupied over the next two months, which is exactly the amount of time remaining until winter comes to an end. That may seem like a long time, but with winter weather often keeping teams stuck in Base Camp for extended periods, those days and weeks can disappear in a hurry. But for now, at least one team is making good progress towards their goal.

It has been about a week since we last had an update from Elisabeth Revol regarding her winter expedition to Manaslu. At the time, she had just arrived in Base Camp and was reporting heavy snow falling on the mountain, with 2.5 meters (8.2 ft) of snow falling in the first half of January alone. But since then there has been no further updates on her team's progress, so we can only presume that things are proceeding, but how well the expedition is unfolding remains a bit of a mystery for now. Hopefully we'll hear something soon.

On the other hand, Alex Txikon has done a good job of keeping us up to date on the progress of his small team on Everest. After completing a route through the Khumbu Icefall last week, the group made its way up to Camp 1 for an acclimatization rotation. After securing a campsite there, and depositing some gear, Alex and his climbing partners – Carlos Rubio and Nurbu Sherpa – descended back to BC for a rest.


Fortunately for them, the weather has been fairly cooperative so far however, so it wasn't too long before they were headed back up the mountain. Yesterday we received word that they had established Camp 2 at 6400 meters (20,997 ft) and have spent the night there as part of the ongoing acclimatization process.

It is possible that if the weather holds, the team will stay at that spot for another night or two, before once again returning to Base Camp. This is all according to plan, and much like an Everest expedition that would take place at any other time of the year. The difference being if the weather does make a shift, Alex and company will probably see incredibly cold temperatures and heavy snow start to fall. How they react to that change in weather, and jus how severe the conditions are, will play a major role in the eventual outcome of the expedition.

Txikon is hoping to summit without the use of supplemental oxygen, something that has happened only one other time during the winter months. If he can pull it off, it will be no small feat, as temperatures will likely be around -60ºF/-51ºC at the top of the mountain when a summit bid finally does come. It is impossible to judge when that might happen, although if they manage to stay on their current schedule, we could see an attempt in about two weeks time. The weather will ultimately dictate the schedule however, so don't count on that happening just yet.

We'll continue to keep an eye on Everest and watch Alex's progress closely. So far, he has to be pretty pleased with how things are proceeding.

Video: Up to Camp 1 on Everest in Winter

One of the expeditions we're following closely at the moment is Alex Txikon's attempt to summit Everest during the winter without the use of supplemental oxygen. The team has been making good progress so far, and having reached Camp 1, are now back in BC resting. In this video, we join Alex, and his partners Carlos Rubio and Nurbu Sherpa as they pass through the dangerous Khumbu Icefall and up to C1 – a path that the Spaniard calls "the Runner of Death." The footage in this short clip is dramatic and wild, but it gives you a great look at what these climbers are dealing with right now on the highest mountain on the planet.