Winter Everest Summit-Bid: Strong Wind Forces Climbers to Turn Back from C4, Not Over yet!

Summit push on Everest continues, although strong wind near South Col (C4) forced the climbers to turn back to C3. “After reaching the C4, the wind hasn’t given a truce and we have just gone down to the C3 until the storm subsides. Soon, more news.” Alex Txikon messaged from the lower camp this evening.

C2 & A Day’s Rest
The summit-push team is climbing in two groups. Alex Txikon, Nurbu Sherpa (7 Everest Summits) and Cheppal Sherpa are the first team. They started the ascent from Base Camp on February 10th, and climbed directly to C2. Next day, the trio rested in C2. The second group, Nuri, Pemba and Furba started from BC on 11th and reached the camp.

C3
Alex, Nurbu and Cheppal climbed from C2 to C3 on 12th. “We have had to renew the equipment in several sections that have been swept by the storm, but our positivity remains intact. Now it’s time to review the part to see the strategy of the next few days,” Alex Txikon wrote on Facebook. They spent the night at 7400m - pushing the campsite 100m higher than previous rotation. Second team remained in C2.

Initially, it was planned that Alex, Nurbu and Nuri would go for summit. Cheppal or Pemba may also join them depending upon conditions. Nonetheless, Alex, Nurbu and Cheppal were getting in position for summit-attempt now.

Strong Wind: C4 & Back
The team, in consultation with their meteorologist, assumed that February 14th will be the finest day for summit attempt. However, wind were forecasted to remain strong on 13th.

“It seems that 14th may be good for summit. But 13th will not be good, with strong winds, and maybe that day we will not be able to reach the C4.” Alex said in his dispatch before departure from BC, “there will be only one summit attack and we will try to climb as we have done so far.”

Alex, Nurbu and Cheppal, nonetheless, took the risk and decided to go for C4 today and to launch the final push at night. While precise details are not available as of now, Alex Txikon's tracker showed that the team’s progress to South Col remained slow. They eventually made it to 7950m, but the strong wind forced them to retreat. The team wasn’t able to set up the tent there.

Back in C3, Alex Txikon says that they will wait for wind to recede and go for the summit again. The position of other three climbers is not known - whether they are still in C2 or went up to C3.

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