Alex Txikon Winter K2 Ascent
Alex Txikon via Twitter

Four mountaineering expeditions have attempted to tackle the world’s second-highest peak in winter. Four have failed.

This January 2, Alex Txikon, the Basque climber famous for his ‘O-less winter Everest attempts, will try to become the first human to stand atop The Savage Mountain in winter. And he’ll do it by leaving one critical piece of gear behind: a four-season tent.

Instead of moving that colorful piece of canvas higher and higher up the mountain as he acclimatizes, Txikon and his Galician climbing partner Félix Criado will build igloos at each camp.

He explained his thinking to the Spanish-language outlet Mundo Deportivo:

In this way, according to the Txikon itself, the components of the expedition will be able to better withstand temperatures that can reach 30 degrees below zero and winds of more than 100 kilometers per hour. ‘Within the igloos, we can be at zero degrees and even in positive values ​​with the help of a candle,’ he said.

It takes a special kind of thinker to, when facing one of mountaineering’s greatest remaining challenges, think a key to success might be ditching your shelter.

Watch Txikon and the great Reinhold Messner discuss winter climbing strategy in the video, and read the full Mundo Deportivo article about his upcoming ascent here.

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