Winter 2013 | Departure, Summit Pushes, Progression

It has been around 50 days since the start of calendar winter climbing season. Teams have been fighting subzero temperatures, hurricane gales, a lot of fresh snow, stiff ice and above all the loneliness on the slopes of Nanga Parbat, Broad Peak and Laila Peak. Unlike the usual guided commercial expeditions, these winter climbers are on a low budget and with limited resources. Some of them might not be able to reach the summit but their efforts would never be futile gestures. If a person stands atop in coming years, we would say “the honor belonged no less to those others who, on previous occasions, and coming from diverse lands, had struggled and suffered and died on this same mountain, for this same end.” (words of Ata Ullah on the eve of K2’s first ascent in 1954.)

Nanga Parbat
After seven intriguing weeks on the mountain, Justice for All team ended the expedition today. They will be evacuating the BC soon and would catch a flight back to home in less than a week. Justice for All was the first team to arrive in Pakistan and kickoff winter climbing season this year.
On 7th February morning, Tomek left the bivouac at 7147m - above Mazeno Gap - to march towards summit in strong but tolerable wind. Forecast of the day proposed summit winds to proximate 75km/h on 8th; unfortunately available time wasn’t enough for him to reach summit and descend safely. On 8th February, Tomek reached BC late in the evening. He was successful in gaining an altitude of 7400m before turning back.
Tomek Mackiewicz and Marek Klonowski announced today that they wouldn’t be able to carry out another assault on Nanga Parbat.  They’re out of resources and don’t have any food or money left. Though they couldn’t touch the summit, but after the gallant solo attempt by Tomek, the duo would be welcomed like stars back at home.
Photos from team's weblog :-
Towards Summit

Joel Wischnewski is probably still above C2. Solo-climber intended to climb lightweight beyond C2 and hence carrying communication equipment (other than sat. phone) alongside climbing gear might not have been possible for him. Hope that Joel is feeling healthier, his stomach isn’t causing many complications, and he is safe and making decent progress.

Daniel Nardi and Elisabeth Revol couldn’t recommence the climb via Mummery Ridge on 8th February either, majorly due to deep snow and avalanche hazard. There, indeed, were a couple of mammoth avalanches and one of them was so huge that its pressure waves reached BC and shivered the tents. They supposedly would have started climbing today. This might possibly be the final excursion of the duo, before heading home.
Food; Photo by Daniel

American Ian Overton and Hungarian David Klein resurfaced in BC on 7th February, after the brief outing to Chilas. 8th February was an ‘uneventful’ day at BC. Their plan was to go up today. In previous attempt, they only managed to deposit some hardware at around 5500m. Their current outing would focus on C2 establishment and try to reach C3.

Laila Peak
On Laila Peak, the Spanish team’s progression is also slowed by deep snow. After leaving BC on 7th February, they succeeded in reaching C1 at 5200m without much difficultly. But beyond C1, deep snow and blizzard awaited them. Nonetheless they continued the tough climb in deep snow, air gusts and snowfall. Today, they have established C2 at 5600m. Tomorrow team would assess meteorological conditions at sun-up and would choose accordingly, whether to push for the pinnacle or retreat to BC.

Broad Peak
The setback caused by thwarted C2 doesn’t appear like having any bad effect on Polish Winter Himalaism team’s energy level. The ice warriors have made significant progress in merely two days of decent weather. All eight climbers (five poles and three Pakistanis) worked hard to regain the time lost in C2 restoration. They rebuilt C2 on 7th February and established C3 at 7000m yesterday. Today, all members are back in BC as conditions have deteriorated; visibility is poor and winds are strong.
The ‘rhythmic’ part of expeditions concludes here; team is all set for a summit push. But for this they have to wait unwearyingly; the arrival of mandatory weather window might take weeks. Meanwhile the team would be analyzing the weather reports and if found beneficial, they might organize the route beyond C3 (7000m) or establish a fourth camp at 7600m.

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