Winter 2013 | Broad Peak, Nanga Parbat, Laila Peak Camp-2s

Past week (Previous Report) has been quite eventful for some winter teams while others are a bit silent because of various communication problems. As of now, all teams are done with acclimatization process and are busy in establishing higher camps for summit push. Justice for All team leads progress on Nanga Parbat while Poles are quickly establishing higher camps on Broad Peak.

Broad Peak
Polish team, who were trekking around Concordia when last updated here, reached Broad Peak base camp on 23rd January as per plan and without any momentous incident. They were delighted to see weather forecast for coming days. Winds are supposed to remain under 20mph till 5th February even at an altitude of 7500m, which provides them the opportunity to establish higher camps early and earn more time for summit push. After arranging base camp, first group consisting of Adam Bielecki, Artur Malek, Tomasz Kowalski, and Amin Ullah Baig started the climb on 25th reaching 5400m. Next day Maciej Berbeka and Karim Hayyat progressed further but had to turn back 150m short of C1. (Pakistani mountaineer Karim Hayyat is an addition to climbers of this expedition. As Shaheen and Wielicki were not feeling well on 26th, Hayyat joined Berbeka in an attempt to reach C1).

Photos from Polish Blog.

Artur, Tomasz, Shaheen and Amin established C1 on 27th January. Pakistanis returned to BC while Artur and Tomasz spent night in C1. Next day they broke the trail to 5900m, before coming down to BC. On the way back they met Adam Bielecki and Maciej Berbeka who were going up to spend night in C1 and attempt C2 establishment next day. Someone's coming down, others' are going up - this is the Polish style of winter climbing. But Adam and Berbeka didn't climb to C2 on 29th as Adam had some stomach infection. Yesterday, C2 spot at 6200m was reached and some gear were left there. At current pace, C3 at 7150m would also be reached before 5th February - the probable date for bad weather start.

Nanga Parbat
On Rupal face, unfortunate snowboarder Joel Wischnewski had a major setback this week. On 23rd January when he was all set to reach 5000m, weather forecast proved to be incorrect. It was a snowy day and snow on Nanga Parbat means a sequence of avalanches in coming days. Same was the case here - Joel called 24th as 'avalanche day', when avalanches came down every minute and struck each corner of Nanga Parbat. But the problem worrying him wasn't the series of avalanches but his malfunctioning satellite phone charger. Soldering of a contact point was broken due to cold. At first Joel felt happy about this escape from 'phony' phone world but that also meant no with liaison officer and family.
On 25th February, Joel had to make the tough decision; to descend instead of going up (remember, solo-climber has already stated that 300m from ABC to C2 are tougher than 1000m above C2!). He had one extra charger in Rupal village. It must have been heartbreaking to haul his 25kg bag back down to BC. After spending a few days in Rupal - the village with few muddy house below Bazhin glacier - Joel returned to ABC on 28th. He is still in ABC, awaiting weather to improve

Photos from Joel:

Nanga Parbat
On Joel's left side, two Poles, Tomek Mackiewicz and Marek Klonowski, are climbing Schell Route. It seems that electronic equipment of Justice for All team is also causing problems. The duo hasn't post anything except a couple of position updates since 19th January. They were climbing above C2 on 23rd January. The temporary camps at C2-A (6000m), C2-B (6100m) and C2-C (6600m) were reached from 24th to 26th. Traditionally C3 on Schell's route is established somewhere between 6800-7000m.

Hungarian David Klein and Zoltan Robert Acs joined by Ian Overton of America are trying to reach the summit via line attempted by Reinhold Messner, Hubert Messner, Hanspeter Eisendle and Wolfgang Tomaseth in 2000 (and also by Simone & Denis in winter 2011-12). US-Hungarians' were awaiting a shipment at the time last update was posted on this blog. The shipment along with a replacement generator arrived once weather improved but like Rupal face colleagues, their communication devices couldn't survive the bitter cold. After borrowing some electricity from their Italian/French neighbors, team was able to post some logs. But by the time generator was set up, their laptop crashed. As of last position, they were at 5400m on 27th heading towards C2. It can't be said with surety that they were successful in establishing C2, but weather at this moment is bad and they must be in BC.

Second team on Diamir face is also following Messner's footsteps. Daniel Nardi and Elisabeth Revol started their climb on Nanga Parbat via Mummery Rib, route that was followed by Reinhold and Gunther in 1970 descent. French-Italian duo, who had left some equipment on Ganalo ridge during their previous acclimatization trip, retrieved it on 25th January. Following night Daniel asked Nanga Parbat for a permission to start the ascent attempt, promising that they would be lightweight. Climb on Nanga Parbat started on 26th.
Through a maze of seracs and crevasses, they climbed 1000m and pitched tent at 5200m to spend the night. Next day, after crossing glacier, they climbed through a mixture of rock, ice and snow. Night was spent it 6000m. On 28th, they reached 6400m but were forced to turn back as high winds and bad weather were expected. Images on Daniel's website give a hint of conditions there. Route was difficult and technical - quite perfect for artisans like Daniel and Elisabeth. Mesmerized and blissful they returned to base camp reaching at 2PM.
Images from Daniel's website.

Just below 6000m
Night at 6000m

Elisabeth; Photo by Daniel

Laila Peak
Like Poles on Broad Peak, the first winter expedition to Laila Peak is also having good weather (Broad Peak is just 30km away from Laila). Alex Txikon, who was in Skardu when previous report was published here, spent a day with Nisar Hussain's family. Last year, Alex was in BC when his fellow members Nisar, Cedric and Gerfried made the fatal summit push on G-I. Leaving Skardu on 25th, the team reached base camp at 4200m on 27th. Temperatures has been quite warm till now. On 29th, they made a small trip to 4500m while next day Alex and Jose climbed to 5200m - C1 spot. Another team went up to C1 yesterday and spent night there. Today Alex too moved to C1. Plan is to shift gear to first camp and establish C2.

Photos from Alex Txikon:

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