Pakistan’s rugged Karakorums may have denied a 8000er ascent this year but all has not gone in vain. Alex Txikon and Jose Fernandez have recorded the first winter ascent of the Laila Peak, when they finally made it to the summit of the 6,097m high in the late hours of February 18th.
“We made it back to the Camp-2 at eight and a half hours and a little light from the five and a half or quarter to six. It’s been very very hard. We are exhausted. Joseph has three fingers touched and I can hardly move. It was very very hard but we are very pleased and proud of the work we have completed, with the feel of having come to one of the most beautiful and challenging summits of our lives”. said Jose.
Alex and Jose faced some of the most difficult challenges just before making it to the top where the temperatures dropped to a painful -35 Celsius and wind speed soared to 60km/h, piercing through their gear.
“We arrived at four in the afternoon. It has been hard. It has been very windy, in many areas there was lot of snow and there was very difficult stretches from the technical standpoint. We had to do twelve long more than 80m. The final stretch was very infernal. The last two, we have done with snow above the chest. We got to where we could move. The GPS showed us at an altitude of 6,100m”.
The successful winter ascent of the Laila peak marks this year’s first and probably the only winter ascent in the deadly Karakorums of Pakistan.