Winter 2013 | First Winter Ascent of Laila Peak, Rescue Operation on Nanga Parbat

Amidst the unfortunate stories of winter teams to Pakistani eight-thousanders this year, here comes a story of success from Laila Peak (6096m). Considered to be amongst most beautiful peaks on earth, the Laila Peak in Hushe Valley, has been climbed for the first time in winter (source). Alex Txikon and José Manuel Fernández of Spanish expedition reached the summit after an extremely difficult climb from C2, today. Meanwhile, keeping fingers crossed for a good news from Rupal face, where a search and rescue mission is in progress.

Nanga Parbat
This winter four teams were attempting first ascent of western most Himalayan eight-thousander, Nanga Parbat. Three of them, US-Hungarian Expedition, Justice for All Expedition and team consisting of Daniel Nardi and Elisabeth Revol have already aborted their mission and left the base camps. While Joel Wischnewski, the solo climber from France went up from his C2 at 4300m on 6th February and hasn't been in communication since then. Unfortunately, the last update about correspondence with Joel proved to be incorrect. The rescue operation hinted by Daniel, Joel's brother, is currently underway as details have been published on Explorer's Web. If you haven't read all steepboard.com posts, the Explorer's web report would give you a better idea about Joel's humble and careful approach towards the mountain. Let's pray that the the disruption in communication is merely due to issues related to satellite phone or excessive snow and the valiant snowboarder is doing well on the big wall. Weather forecasts on Nanga Parbat at various altitudes can be viewed here.

Broad Peak
The good weather window around 17/18th February arrived as expected and Polish winter team had a couple of busy days on Broad Peak. Two teams, first consisting of Adam, Artur, Shaheen and Amin; second of Maciej, Tomasz and Karim started climbing from BC with one day interleaved between their departures. On the night of 16th February first team was in C3 - ready for a summit push, while second team had climbed to C2. On 17th, Adam and Artur made the first summit push of the season. They were stopped by a huge crevasse at 7820m. History: Third Polish expedition to Broad Peak faced a similar situation in 2011, when Robert Szymczak and Ali Sadpara had to retreat from same altitude. Meanwhile the backup team of Tomasz and Maciej established a higher camp at 7400m for summit push. Today, they tried to climb towards summit but high winds, reduced visibility and cloud cover forced them to turn back well below the 7820m mark.
All team members are returning to BC as weather is expected to remain bad for some time.


Laila Peak
José Fernández, Alex Txikon and Juanjo San Sebastián left BC on 16th January with intentions to go atop Laila Peak on 18th. Ramón Portilla had a cold finger and couldn't join the team for a second summit push to 'world's most beautiful mountain'. Juanjo San Sebastián too had to turn back shortly after starting the climb because of a knee injury. Alex and Jose battled with deep snow for seven hours to reach C1 at 5200m. On 17th, they climbed to C2 somewhere around 5600m in improving weather. Today morning, Alex and Jose started the summit push. Alex called his home time at around 1430hrs local time while he was still moving upwards to summit.
As per latest update, the duo has safely returned to C2 after 14hours. They have successfully SUMMITED the Laila Peak. It's the first winter ascent of one the most beautiful peaks in the world. The summit push in chest deep snow took 10 hours upward while 4 hours downward. Summit was reached at 4PM local time. "have reached the C2 after 8 at night, 35 below zero, after fighting against winds up to 60 km/hr." Tweeted Alex. Read full account of summit push by Alex's home team here. Previous summit push by the Spaniards was aborted 100m below summit.
Amin Brakk
In a brief update, russianclimb shared that the winter team to Amin Brakk has decided to try a new route 50m away from Sol Solet, the route they had initially planned to climb. The work on new route begun on 15th February.

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