This article first appeared on http://explorersweb.com. The original can be read here.
After an emotional week leading the searching operations on Nanga Parbat, Alex Txikon is back to what he calls “home” — not the green hills and ragged cliffs of his home Basque Country, but the frozen rocks and glaciers of K2. He and his team are making a last-minute bid to climb K2 in winter.
The hardships of the Karakorum winter show on Alex Txikon's face. Image taken last week during the aerial search on Nanga Parbat
This is the last opportunity to write a bright epilogue to an otherwise somber winter season, after the powerful Eastern team led by Vassiliy Pivtsov packed and left Base Camp yesterday, and the bodies of deceased Daniele Nardi and Tom Ballard rest on the slopes of Nanga Parbat.
However, barely a week away from the beginning of the spring equinox, the odds are stacked against the remaining K2 hopefuls. Although the five Nepali climbers made it to Camp 2 while Txikon and Criado flew to Nanga Parbat, there have been no details about the highest point reached.
Alex Txikon is back at “home, frozen home” on K2. Photo credit: Alex Txikon
In fact, the expedition plans for the next few days have been not revealed, and the gaps are filled with questions rather than news: How far have Txikon’s team fixed ropes on the route? Have Pivtsov’s team left some ropes that Txikon and company could use? When does their permit expire? Would they consider to keep climbing into the spring season?
Nanga Parbat search video
Last weekend, Alex Txikon submitted a long, detailed report of the search operations conducted on Nanga Parbat. The climbers also shared a video showing how it felt to be looking for the missing climbers with all resources available, including the avalanche hazards of searching on foot the route previously followed by Nardi and Ballard.
by Angela Benavides