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ExWeb series: The meaning of winter in 8000+ climbing, part 2
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Nov 18, 2004 10: 44 EST
Winter is approaching Himalaya and Simone Moro, Piotr Morawski, Jacek Jawien, Dariusz Zaluski and Jan Szulc are leaving only 2 weeks from now for another winter attempt of Shisha.

Recently we ran a series about Karakorum winter climbs, including facts and statistics. Questions arrived. What’s a calendar winter? What’s a “real” winter climb? Is it true that no one has stood atop an 8000er in winter since 1988?

So here goes a follow up on the Karakorum series: The meaning of winter in 8000er climbing.

Today part 2: Who did what in winter Himalaya since 1988.

The world’s seasonal calendar has winter beginning on December 21st, whereas Nepal and China’s permit winter season start is on December 1st.

Classic winter climbs are those made within the “calendar winter,” from December 21 to March 21. In the northern hemisphere, the Winter solstice is day of the year (near December 22) when the Sun is farthest south.

Strict Calendar rules give the Polish an exclusive on winter ‘firsts’. The last calendar-winter first summit on an 8000er was made by Krzysztof Wielicki. Polish, of course. He summited Lhotse solo on New Year’s Eve, 1988.

The following is a list of those who dared to summit 8000+ during the colder months (calendar winter or not) after that date, up to today.

Manaslu: Kazakh power 1995, Korea 1998 (Off calendar)

The always amazing Kazakh team made a super-successful climb on Manaslu on December 8, 1995. No less than eight team-members reached the summit that day. Korean Young-Seok Park, the first Korean to summit the 14, 8000ers, would reach the same summit, along with two Sherpas, on December 6, 1998.

No living soul on Yalung Kang 1989 (On calendar)

Succesful as well, but also a tragedy, was the summit on Yalung Kang – the scary Kangchenjunga West, 8505m - by fellow Korean climber Kyo-Sup Jin, along with Sherpa Ang Dawa and Tsering Tshemba on December 20, 1989. They all died during the descent.

Japan on Everest 1993: (2 off, 1 on Calendar)

On Everest, a huge Japanese team made it to the top in 1993 in three alternative days – in a ratio of two climbers each push - on December 18 (Fumiaki Goto and Hydeji Nazuka), 20 (Shinsuke Ezuka and Osamu Tanabe) and 22. The last pair to summit, Yoshio Ogata and Ryushi Hoshino, thus made a ‘calendar winter’ climb to the Roof of the World.

Cho Oyu: Spanish fiesta 1988-2002 (On Calendar)

If winter Everest seems Japanese territory, then Cho Oyu is a favorite winter playground for Spanish climbers, most of whom have also summited in the very middle of winter.

Fernando Garrido summited solo on February 6, 1988. Manuel Gonzalez, Manuel Morales and Manuel Salazar (the three ‘Manuels’ from the Andalusian team on K2 last summer) and Fernando Guerra, on February 8, 1993.

Luis Arbues would summit two days later. Argentinian Miguel Angel Sanchez reached the top on February 10, 1993, along with one of the two female winter 8000 climbers: Swiss Marianne Chapuisart.

Juanjo Garra and Jordi Magriñá would summit on January 26, 1994.

Cho Oyu: Alberto Iñurrategi 2002 (Off Calendar)

Last to summit, although not in official winter but in their ”coldest climb ever": Alberto Iñurrategi (14, 8000ers) and his regular climbing mate Jon Beloki. They summited on December 3, 2002.

The dark lady of Annapurna Central summit

As we mentioned before, there is a second lady climber who summited an 8000m peak in winter: Korean Young-Ya Kim. Her name is rarely listed though, as she summited not a Main 8000er, but a subsidiary point of Annapurna: the Central summit, on December 7, 1984. She reached the top along with four Sherpa, two of whom died on the descent.

Next: Wrap-up and some Everest winter temperature comparisons from AdventureWeather.

Image of a female climbers facial frostnip, and a male climbers frostbit toes, ExplorersWeb files.

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