Winter 2016 | The Reason behind Tamara’s Retreat, Nanga Parbat Climbers on the Way Back (Updated)

The successful Nanga Parbat teams have started the return journey. Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger are in Islamabad. Alex Txikon and Ali Sadpara should arrive here in a couple of days. Pieces of Nanga Parbat’s first ascent story pop up, as climbers interact with media.

“A decision that few in the world would have been able to make”
Tamara Lunger stopped around 100m short of Nanga Parbat’s summit. In a recent interview, she explained the details and the reasons for her retreat.

On summit push morning, Tamara had some stomach issues and vomited before departure. Nonetheless, she pushed on and was just 45 minutes away from summit when overall pain and extreme fatigue took over.

“Some pain over the entire body and a small trauma, which together with stomach problems and the great cold contributed to the decision to stop around 70/100 meters from the peak, bringing myself back at my own, independently, without the trouble of putting Simon, Alex and Ali’s lives at risk.” Tamara said.

"A decision that few in the world would have been able to make," says Simone Moro about Tamara’s decision to retreat despite being so close.

The Italian climber says that, on descent, she slipped while crossing a crevasse – around half meter wide - near C4. She was dragged for a distance of around 200 meters. Thanks to fresh snow which slowed her fall, she could halt herself and wasn’t seriously injured. (Edit: The article previously stated that Tamara fell while going up. However, she clarified that the accident happened on descent.)
Nanga Parbat Diamir Face. Source: Winter 2016 Expeditions

The summit day
Alex Txikon shared the details of ascent in an interview with Desnivel. The summit day on Kinshofer route is usually not a technical climb and can be done without fixed line or team roping together. However, the harsh conditions left the Spaniard longing for a rope, “for safety, to make occasional rappels”. Ice in Bazhin was firm and riddled with cracks. It was slightly windy with gusts up to 40km/hrs, making the day chillier. Alex Txikon thinks that starting the summit-bid at 0600hrs local time was a critical decision. Had they left C4 early, like around 0300hrs last year, climbers would have been exhausted by sunlight.

When asked about feelings at the summit, the Spaniard says they were too drained and occupied for a celebration. They still had to get down. “Thankfully Simone took the camera there because I never took mine out. I had a few seconds of a little excitement, but it was so hard to let your hair down. And especially the descent, until you get to C4, you cannot relax. Once in the C4, you start to ponder, ‘see if next day I wake up with strength and I can go down to the Base Camp,’ because the mountain is not finished in C4, or C3, or C2, but it ends at the BC.”

The Final Rituals
But the expedition wasn’t over for them even on February 27th when they reached BC. Team brought down everything from C4 & C3, made a deposit at C2 (tent, shovel, some gas -can be reused in future). On Feb 29th, they went up again to bring down maximum rope from 5500m & the C1. With aching feet and mild frostbites, team said, going up was is difficult but we "think it's an obligation".

K2 Dream!
With Nanga Parbat done, the attention now refocuses to K2. Is Alex Txikon thinking about it? “Somewhat yes, but right now we are still here: still have to climb up, go home, we must fulfill our obligations ... the return ticket have it on March 12 and take the opportunity to go to Skardu and be with the family of our cook and Ali.” Replied the Spaniard.

However, Simone Moro says he’s out of this race. “I leave it to Adam Bielicki, Denis Urubko and all the young alpinists to come. I do not like playing with the feeling of my wife, who dreamed that I would die on K2 (in winter).” 
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