Jan 17, 2024: The Annapurna winter expedition involving a team of eleven, including climbers, Sherpas, and a photographer, had to be called off due to severe weather conditions. The decision to abort the mission was attributed to winds exceeding 100 km/h and temperatures dropping to minus 40 degrees Celsius, making the ascent perilous. Thaneswar Guragai, General Manager of Seven Summit Treks in Nepal, highlighted the unsafe conditions, with winds beyond 35 km/h being considered a significant risk for climbing. The team had to halt their ascent at 6,900 meters, around the height of Camp III.

The expedition was a joint effort between Seven Summit Treks and Spanish alpinist Alex Txikon. The diverse team included climbers from Brazil and Italy, along with Sherpas and a photographer. Txikon officially announced the abandonment of the expedition on his Facebook profile, acknowledging the challenges and risky conditions on the mountain. He emphasized the importance of prioritizing safety and making the decision to “say yes to life.”

Annapu 1
Image Source: Alex Txikon

The unfortunate turn of events during this expedition brings to mind the historical significance of winter ascents on Annapurna. Notably, the first winter ascent in 1987 by Polish climbers Jerzy Kukuczka and Artur Hajzer, as well as the tragic winter ascent by Japanese climbers in 1987, where two climbers lost their lives on the descent. Since then, no one has successfully reached the summit of Annapurna in winter. Scaling an 8,000-meter peak is inherently challenging, and winter expeditions pose additional difficulties with extreme cold, high winds, and potentially heavy snowfall.

Image Source: Alex Txikon