Winter 2013 | Poles Enroute to Broad Peak, Nanga Parbat Updates

While the four Nanga Parbat winter teams had already established base camps and acclimatization is in progress, the solitary team to Broad Peak is yet to penetrate into the Karakoram and start the actual journey. Nanga Parbat and Broad Peak are quite diverse in nature. Former being the western most eight-thousander lies in western Himalayan range and is quite distinct from its surrounding. Frequent avalanches, big wall, difficult climbing routes and abrupt weather changes are highlights of climbing Nanga Parbat. Contrarily Broad Peak is situated in the core of Karakoram. Even the town of Skardu is at least seven days from it, on foot. Long trek to BC, 1km summit, hurricane like winds with scarce good weather windows and surrounding views of giant peaks are hallmarks of Broad Peak.

Broad Peak
Winter descends on Karakoram with temperatures dropping as low as -30°C even in the plains of Skardu. Polish Winter Himalaism team is expected to arrive in Skardu today, where life has been at halt due to freezing temperatures. Poles are on time and their Skardu arrival is inline with original plan. Hopefully they wouldn’t be affected by political mayhem in Pakistan. Team will take a jeep ride to Askole and march onwards to Broad Peak with 20 porters. If everything goes as planned, they would be reaching Broad Peak BC within a week. Actual climb would begin somewhere between 23-25th January. This would be the time when team shall dispatch regular updates from Broad Peak.

Nanga Parbat
Winter climbing teams to Nanga Parbat are having their share of ruthlessness of winter at the foot of an eight-thousander but spirits are high and they are making steady progress. Justice for All expedition of Polish climbers was resting in Rupal Face base camp when last reported on 6th January. Since then they have established Camp-2 at 5750m and returned to base camp. Here is day-to-day update, as received from Marek.

7-Jan: Climbed to ABC
8-Jan: Moved up to Camp-1 at 5100m.
9-Jan: Weather wasn’t good. The day was spent relaxing in Camp-1.
10-Jan: Team moved to 5500m  and spent night in temporary deposit site; they called it Camp-1A.
11-Jan: Since there was forecast of strong wind and snow over the weekend, so team excavated snow caves to protect themselves from harsh weather.
12-Jan: As expected, the day was snowy and windy. In an attempt to widen the snow cave, it got damaged. But thankfully digging another snow cave didn’t cost much.
13-Jan: Weather improved and team succeeded in reaching top of couloir. Camp-2 was established at 5750m.
14-Jan: Route was tougher and team didn’t have sufficient rope. They decided to turn back in the afternoon and reached basecamp in darkness. It was Tomek Mackiewicz’s birthday. What a way to spend your birthday!
15-Jan: Resting in BC, enjoying some roasted fowls and updating blog.

Photos from Marek:

On opposite face of mountain, Diamir side, are US-Hungarians who arrived at base camp on the evening of 4th January. 5th January was day for establishing base camp and identifying logistics related issues. Ian’s balaclava and gloves were stolen, some stoves were out of order and mess tent supplied by agency was inadequate for a winter expedition. Furthermore the generator wasn’t working properly (& still isn't working) and bath tent was not what team expected it to be. Temporary arrangements were deployed to negotiate these problems. Zoltan had minor frostbite on his toes during trek to BC. Hence he hasn't been been climbing yet. Good news for Zoltan is that his missing barrel have arrived in Islamabad and would be transported soon.

January 6th - Ian and David tried to navigate a new and direct route to Camp-1, avoiding the traditional path via glacier. Mission was partially successful as they progressed to 4700m and deposited some hardware there (& returned to BC). 7th January was tougher but eventually a successful day as Camp-1 tent was pitched at 4900m. Next day was for rest and chores at BC, while Zoltan walked around to test his frostbitten feet. As per last update from team, Ian and David have climbed as high as 5000m before turning back. But that was 9th of January; regular updates are missing because of power issue.
Images showing team's progress:-

Solo climber Joel Wischnewski is a French snowboarder and is attempting Nanga Parbat via big wall i-e Rupal face. His extended stay at Tarishing due to missing baggage, was not so lovely causing mental stress and health issues. He tried to remain positive but such delays in the most important trip of your life could be frustrating. Joel’s baggage finally arrived on 8th January and he immediately moved to Rupal village. He suffered severe abdominal pain that night, possibly caused by a bacteria or virus attack during stay at Tarishing. Nonetheless, he shifted to ABC (3825m) next morning. On 10th January, Joel climbed to 4100m in search of a spot for Camp-1. He had to turn back at around sunset as it was getting late. That night was horrible for him, vomiting repeatedly in ABC. He was frail next day and couldn’t climb much. But the rest day brought the gift of fresh energy.

On Saturday 12th January, Camp-1 tent was finally pitched at 4150m. It was a flat spot with good protection from avalanches. Trips between ABC and C-1 continued for shifting gear upwards. On January 13th night an avalanche struck Joel's Camp-1 tent (and he was sleeping inside!). Luckily, no damage was done but it had been an exhilarating experience. Joel observes that avalanches (that are too frequent) mostly occur either at night or during noon hours in the day. Joel was in C-1 last night where he has been calculating a safer route to proceed further.
Photos from Joel:-

Second team to arrive in Diamir base camp is lead by Daniel Nardi, accompanied by Elisabeth Revol and photographer Federico Fantini. They reached here on 10th January. Next day, Daniel and Elisabeth made a trip to 5100m altitude on a nearby mountain. On 12th January, 150kph wind blew off one of their tents causing a bit of drama but at the end it was all safe and no major damages done.

On 14th January, Daniel and Elisabeth left for an acclimitization trip to Nanga Parbat's subsidiary Ganalo Peak (6608m). Plan is to climb to the summit in three days (on 16th); nights to be spent at 5400m and 6200m. It would supposedly be first winter ascent of this subsidiary peak. Upon their return to base camp, the two climbers would rest for two days after which they would be ready to launch the attack on 'real' Nanga Parbat. Photos from Daniel Nardi

Shorter but frequent bulletins appear on Twitter.
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