German alpinist begins rare winter ascent of Everest

Kathmandu, Dec 17 (EFE).- German alpinist Jost Kobusch has returned to the Khumbu region to become the first person to reach the world’s tallest peak, Mt Everest, via a new route in the dead of winter without using supplemental oxygen.

The 29-year-old climber plans to use a new southwest ridge route in the solo ascent.

Only 12 people, nine Japanese, two Polish, and a Nepali, have scaled Everest from the Nepali side during winter, government data showed.

“Kobusch reached the Everest base camp on Friday,” Rishi Bhandari, managing director of Satori Adventures, which is handling his climb, told EFE.

Temperatures in the death zone of Mt Everest can drop to minus 40 degrees Celsius in winters.

Heavy winds and tonnes of snow deposits make winter climbing more challenging and risky than the popular spring season, climbing officials say.

Last winter, there were three winter expeditions planned on Mt Everest without supplemental oxygen.

These included Spanish alpinist Alex Txikon and his two other Spanish climbers Oscar Cardo and Jonatan Garcia Villa.

But the daredevil mission was called off due to threats of avalanches following the accumulation of fresh snow deposits on the world’s highest peak.

Kobusch had reached the high point at 7,329 meters last winter.

Nepal’s winter season officially begins in December and ends on Feb.28, and the climbing permits issued for a winter expedition become invalid.

The government charges only $2,500 per person for climbing Everest using other routes in winter.

Krzysztof Wielicki of Poland first climbed the world’s tallest peak in the dead of winter on Feb.17, 1980.

The last successful winter ascent was by Shinsuke Ezuka of Japan on Dec.20, 1993, tourism department records show.

Kobusch completed his acclimatization by climbing a 6,000 meter tall Mt Purbung.

“After the successful first ascent of the Purbung, I continue towards Lukla. Everest, here I come!,” Kobusch wrote on his Facebook page on Dec.15.

According to Bhandari, Kobusch will move ahead by fixing ropes in a solo daredevil attempt.

“There will be no classic base camp this year. So no camp with cooks, a food tent and cooking tent. But just my small tent. This means significantly less equipment,” Kobusch wrote.

According to Bhandari, Kobusch does not have prior experience of the summit to the world’s tallest peak.

The Department of Tourism issued him the Everest climbing permit on Dec.7.

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