A WINTER attempt at the highly-dangerous summit of Annapurna has been called off by its expedition leader who says he didn’t want the desire for the achievement to overcome the safety of the team attempting it.
Skilled alpinist Alex Txikon decided enough was enough after struggling on numerous trips to ‘Camp 3’ on the notorious Nepalese mountain – the 10th highest peak in the world.
Despite having seven weeks left in the winter window for the expedition, the 42-year-old Spanish climber declared an end to the ascent after he and his team were engulfed by two avalanches.
Annapurna is often referred to as the world’s deadliest mountain. More than 70 people have lost their lives trying to reach the top – including Irish climbing legend Noel Hanna last year – and fewer than 400 people have ever set foot on the summit.
“To get an idea, it is one of the most dangerous and crazy places you can imagine, if an avalanche catches you, it releases shrapnel in blocks of ice of different sizes, bigger than a car that wipes you off the face of the earth ipso facto, we have taken too many risks already, one thing is that it catches me, but not my companions,” Txikon said of his decision to end the expedition.
“This time I got off doubly (two avalanches almost made us stop breathing). The Annapurna has told us enough, we have tried, we have the strength and desire, but maybe I lack hunger for the summit.
“Probably we lack hunger for the summit but, as I said, one thing is that all those present are mainly here for me and if I go, nothing happens, another thing is that they go, that is not a good person to satiate our ego of summit.
“We fought for it, we carried everything ourselves, we equipped everything ourselves. I made a mistake by myself and we all got up. I think that to stay would be reckless given the exceptionally good conditions, but at the same time so compromising and risky.
“Annapurna is in constant transformation, and it is so bare, which makes it a fragile and threatening mountain wherever we pass. In addition, the sky, except for the last two days does not stop roaring, I can not afford to expose more to my companions and so after talking and meditating all morning, we decided to give a yes to life guaranteed, and leaving behind our pretensions to continue trying.
“Special thanks to all my colleagues, Chhepal, Magkpa, Ang-gyalu, Mayla, MigTemba, Lakpa, Tashi, Moeses, Mattia, Eneko, Andres, 7summits staff, we have suffered and also enjoyed, to those who have followed us and to sponsors and friends.”
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