History of Winter Climbing Nanga Parbat | Episode 4

Unlike very few expeditions to K2, Nanga Parbat has a long history of winter attempts. The mountain’s ease of access is its principal attraction. It has been attempted 21 times since winter 1988/89; 12 of them in past four years. Except Polish winter expedition of 1996-97, none of the teams had a real prospect of reaching the top.

Previously

At the start of winter climbing season, last year, we reviewed 17 winter expeditions to Nanga Parbat till then. The posts can be accessed here.

History of Winter Climbing Nanga Parbat | Episode 1
History of Winter Climbing Nanga Parbat | Episode 2
History of Winter Climbing Nanga Parbat | Episode 3

An avalanche coming down Diamir face, Winter 2013/14; Source

Winter 2013/14

18. Ralf Dujmovits
Last winter, famous mountaineer Ralf Dujmovits returned to Nanga Parbat with a different approach. He acclimatized on Aconcagua (6960m) by spending four nights at 6000m and two nights on the summit, and arrived at Diamir BC ready for a solo alpine style summit push via Kinshofer route. It was first expedition to Diamir Valley after the murder of eleven mountaineers at the Base Camp in June 2013.

Ralf reached BC on Dec 24th. Darek Zaluski also accompanied him as Base Camp companion. Initial investigation revealed that Kinshofer route was full of blue ice and was unsuitable for the German climber’s plan. So, he decided to go for Reinhold Messner’s line of 1978 ascent. On Dec 30th, Ralf and Zaluski deposited some gear at 5500m.

January 1st was first sunny and clear day since the team’s arrival at BC. They observed that two ice towers immediately above 6000m on Messner route were in dangerous condition and prone to serac fall activity. Ralf’s entire route below ice towers, including C1 at 5500m, was entirely exposed to ice-avalanches. Owing to high risk, Ralf Dujmovits decided to cancel the expedition on January 2nd.

19 & 20. Polish Expedition and The North Face Team
There were two independent expeditions to Nanga Parbat’s Rupal Face, last winter, although they worked together on Schell route. Marek Klonowski and Tomek Mackiewicz returned to the mountain under the banner of Justice for All. The team also included four other Poles Jacek Teler, Pawel Dunaj, Michal Obrycki and Michal Dzikowski. Due to some personal issues, Marek Klonowski and Michal Dzikowski left the expedition in January. Others continued the climb in collaboration with The North Face team, Simone Moro and David Gottler. Emilio Previtali was the BC manager and blogger for North Face team.

Poles were first to reach the BC. They led the progress on the mountain, fixing ropes and establishing camps, till 5800m. Simone Moro and David Gottler progressed further to C3 (at 6700m) on January 28th. The route wasn’t in good condition, as Tomek Mackiewicz called it ‘another planet’ as compared to a year ago. “Much more difficult!” he said.

In February, climbers made three attempts towards the summit, but were forced to retreat each time because of difficult metrological conditions. Good weather windows were too small to reach high camps. During final summit push at the end of February, Tomek Mackiewicz and David Gottler ascended to 7200m, but didn’t have sufficient time for a summit-bid.

The North Face team called off the expedition on March 3rd; however, Tomek Mackiewicz wanted to stay till the end of calendar winter. On March 8th, Polish climbers decide to launch another summit push, which turned into a search and rescue mission when Pawel Dunaj and Michal Obrycki were hit by an avalanche enroute to C1. Both Pawel and Michal sustained serious injuries. After helicopter couldn’t fly to BC for two days, the injured climbers were carried down to Tarashing in stretchers and driven to Skardu hospital.

21. Daniele Nardi
After the thrilled experience of 2012-13, Daniele made a second attempt on Mummery Rib, last year. However, like Ralf Dujmovits, dangerous conditions didn’t let him make any significant progress. He arrived at BC on January 28th, much later than typical winter expeditions. After acclimatization on Ganalo Peak, he launched a summit attempt on Mummery Rib during the last week of February. Daniele was forced to turn back at around 5450m, after closely escaping an ice avalanche. On February 27th, he decided to abandon the expedition.

NEXT:-
History of Winter Climbing Nanga Parbat | Episode 5

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