Winter 2013 | Daniel and Elisabeth Retreat, Bad Weather in Karakoram

Scaling Nanga Parbat in winter is proving to be far more challenging than many of us would have predicted. Sixteen teams aiming the first winter ascent of Nanga Parbat had returned unsuccessful, three of them this year alone, while one endeavor is underway; a solo climber who is supposedly still on the mountain. Similarly, five out of six winter expeditions to Broad Peak spent weeks waiting in BC for a potential weather window to carry out summit push. Polish team is doing the same right now. Two teams targeting first winter ascents on lower peaks are adding further attraction to this climbing season.

Nanga Parbat
Italian Daniel Nardi and French Elisabeth Revol have formally called the expedition over, now. From the proceedings of past couple of days and a look at weather forecast, it was quite obvious that the duo wouldn't be able to make it to the summit. After reaching C2 (6000m) on 10th February, they needed at least two days of good weather to realize summit dream and some additional days for a safe descent. But such opportunities had always been almost nonexistent in Nanga Parbat winters. Hurricane winds that were approaching 100kph on 11th receded next day but only to 70kph. Such winds combined with -48°C temperature forced the climbers to descend to C1. Forecast suggested no improvement in weather for weeks; hence the climbers returned back to BC same night.
Elisabeth pronounces the exposure to winter climbing as “an experience of life time”. According to her the excess of snow during bad weather reduced the available duration for climbing and later hurricane wind and extreme cold forced them to retreat but it has taught her to be patient and humble. Daniel, who suffered some frostbite on a finger and toes, cherishes the romanticism of alpinism on Nanga Parbat and hope to be back there in future.

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Return to BC; Photo by Daniel
Images from expedition can be enjoyed on Daniel's flickr set.

This winter four teams were trying their luck on Nanga Parbat. With the departure of French/Italian duo, while Justice for All and US-Hungarian teams have already called it off, the only person supposedly still on mountain is the French snowboarder Joel Wischnewski. Joel started his climb above C2 (4300m) on 6th February, without any electronic device except satellite phone for communication with liaison officer. While many people are concerned about his wellbeing, I am quite positive that he is doing well and is busy in climbing the big wall. Joel is a strong climber with patience and aptitude to exist in harsh conditions. We would be hearing from him, once he comes back to C2.

Laila Peak
After the luckless summit push, the descent of Spanish Team from C2 to BC proved to be equally demanding as going up. They reached BC in strong storm. Weather is still bad and is forecasted to remain similar till the end of this week. A weather window might appear around 17-18 Feb. "Of course we're going back (up on the mountain)", Alex Txikon announces the future plan. For the moment, they are resting and trying to recover the strength and energy consumed during five challenging days on Laila Peak.


Broad Peak
There isn’t much ‘eventful’ from Polish team as they await good weather days. Two clear days with summit winds below 30kph are expected around Sunday/Monday.
Weather Forecast for Broad Peak summit

Amin Brakk
A Russian team flew to Islamabad on 7th February, hoping to ascend the great wall of Amin Brakk (5850m), reports Explorer’s Web. They have established their base camp today. Details about Amin Brakk shall appear in a subsequent post.


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