Winter Nanga Parbat | “My wife said, please don’t go to K2” | Interview with Simone Moro Part-2

Continuing from Part-1, where Simone talked about reason for going to Rupal face and his strategy about the lengthy Schell Route. He also stressed that Everest brawl has been forgotten long ago.
Simone Moro

5. Climbing a new route in normal season vs winter climbing ... how different (or similar) the two are?
Both of them are exploration, because they are about touching the unknown part of the mountain and also of yourself. New route in summer is about technical climbing but in winter, it is more about psychological and physical endurance and pain; it’s like being at the edge of inhumane situations for several weeks. This is why the evolution of winter climbs when compared with evolution of new routes in Himalayas is going at a tremendously different (slower) speed. We are still talking about two peaks that are virgin, in winter. While in case of new routes, there is hardly any face on an 8000er that is still virgin and untouched. It has been thirty years of struggle to achieve the summit of K2 and Nanga Parbat (and also Makalu was a similar case). The best climbers attempted them but went home without success. It means something.

So when I climbed those three 8000m peaks (Shishapangma, Makalu and GII), for me it was or it should have been enough (and it is, so). But you know, I think the Nanga Parbat can be the last winter expedition that I am trying on 8000m peaks (well, in case I am successful.)

6. Simone-Denis partnership has always been a convenient option. How much you and David know each other?
The situation that I am leaving with David is more or less like replicating the situation when I was leaving with Cory Richards to Gasherbrum II. Nobody really believed that Cory could make it to the summit and even less that he could do the fantastic job that he did, of capturing movies and videos and of taking photos. Also in the beginning I had to make a lot between Denis and Cory because they were different. Denis didn’t have that much trust in Cory.

The same thing I am doing with David, now. The difference is that I know him since 2010, which is not so much, though. He is a mountain guy like me … doing technical climbs instead of normal routes. He is also sponsored by The North Face like me and Emilio. We are in the same team. He is a German, and we know Nanga Parbat is a German mountain; so, he must have the right quantity of ambitions. David has also climbed with Gerlinde (Kaltenbrunner), who is very selective. He respects me. So, I think there are multiple combinations of potential positive factors.

It’s his first winter expedition, and it will be my responsibility to make him do right things with the energy and capacity he has both technically and physically. He is strong, I can guarantee it. He is also open to learn quite fast.

7. No team is ready for K2 challenge, this winter. When will that mountain be climbed .. any guess? Have you ever thought about trying it?
Well, it will be climbed … soon.

Yes, I have discussed with Denis to go to this mountain. The only reason why I am not going (yes, I am not going and why I decided to avoid to go to K2) is because few days after the summit of GII, my wife dreamed that I was dying during the winter ascent of K2. She never said anything about my climbing - about what to do, what to climb, which decision to take in my life, nothing. But it was first and the only time that she immediately said to me, “Simone ... if you want to continue your winter climbs, do it … because you are very well specialized and you are doing well … but please don’t go to K2.” I asked why … She said, “Because I saw this dream that you died during winter attempt on K2”. So after that dream I decided to go to Nanga Parbat (in 2012).

This year I had two options … May be I do not believe in a dream so much, but still I have faith in the sensibility of the humans. It’s the animal part of humans, that I believe a lot and may be Barbara is quite predicting the same thing with the dream. When I had options, I thought why should I go and take risk on K2 while Nanga Parbat is still there. So I decided to go to Nanga Parbat. This is honestly and purely the only reason why I didn’t go for K2. Otherwise, I already had the plan with Denis … We had discussed the route and the strategy and the money, everything was planned. I could easily go - without problems of budget or partner or route or logistics. Anything can be said, I don’t believe but I prefer to believe. I don’t believe but in case I have the options, I chose the alternative one.

8. You were involved in rescue at record altitude, last spring. Later, your helicopter suffered an accident. Will you be flying in Khumbu region, next spring?
Yes, the idea was to fly with another helicopter; which means taking another helicopter (from Europe to Nepal) and flying with it, but logistically and financially it’s not feasible. The entire problem was created by that sudden and unexpected accident, because the helicopter was completely and only mine. The huge loan was also to be paid only by me. So I had to deal with insurance thing and it wasn’t a simple case.

For several months, I had been worried to make the regular payments of the helicopter month by month, without having the helicopter generating the income to payback the loan. It was the real earthquake of 2013; not some punch on some peak.

Thankfully, I did everything right and all issues with insurance are solved now. But the clearance happened just two months ago. So I took some weeks now, to think about next step. To buy a helicopter is not like buying one tent or something, because it’s one decision that can make your life good or end in a disaster. I was close to the disaster but thanks god I did everything properly. So, now even that problem is behind, and maybe I can enjoy the benefits of this experience, if I may call it so.

I think I will start with another helicopter but not in next spring because I don’t have the time because of Nanga Parbat expedition. But yes, I will go back and will be there in May - flying again with the helicopter of Fishtail and I will also realize a movie about this project that I created from nothing and against everything.
Photo: Simone Moro

Thank you Simone for the time, and thanks again Amanda, for doing the interview on Explorersweb's behalf.

Simone Moro's Interview Part-1
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