History of Winter Climbing Nanga Parbat | Episode 5

Twenty five teams have attempted Nanga Parbat in winter during past 27 years, and except a couple of teams, no one had a real chance to reach the summit. We had reviewed the expeditions prior to winter 2014/15, last year and can be read at following links.

History of Winter Climbing Nanga Parbat | Episode 1
History of Winter Climbing Nanga Parbat | Episode 2
History of Winter Climbing Nanga Parbat | Episode 3
History of Winter Climbing Nanga Parbat | Episode 4

Last year, there were four teams on Nanga Parbat; three on Diamir side and one on Rupal.

Winter 2014/2015

22. Tomek and Elisabeth
It was Tomek Mackiewicz’ fifth consecutive winter on Nanga Parbat. After three unsuccessful attempts on Schell route, he returned to Diamir side last year. Together with Elisabeth Revol, he climbed the route between Diamir and Rakiot flanks, which was first attempted by Reinhold Messner, Hubert Messner, Hanspeter Eisendle, and Wolfgang Tomaseth in summer 2000.

After an acclimatization rotation to C2, the two climbers launched summit-bid on Jan 9th. First night was spent in the middle of Diamir glacier. On day two, they climbed along right bank of glacier for a long time to reach C2 under Ganalo Peak. Following day, they tackled huge crevasses towards C3, at the foot of actual route. Due to strong wind, they didn’t go any further on fourth day.

On day five, the climbers reached C3 (at around 6600mm). A day later, they were bivouacking at 7200m. On eighth day, they went up (hoping to make a summit push), but turned back from 7500m. They had miscalculated the distance and were too late for summit.

In second summit push, they reached 7800m on January 17th. However, bad weather and long distance to summit forced them to retreat. After an eventful descent, where Tomek fell into a deep crevasse but survived without any major injuries, they eventually made it back to BC.

23. Alex Txikon, Ali Sadpara and Daniele Nardi
Alex Txikon, Ali Sadpara and Daniele Nardi made one of the most successful winter Nanga Parbat summit-bids in recent history. At 7800m on Kinshofer route, they were within a couple of hours distance from summit but a wrong turn led them to a dead end. Meanwhile, Ali Sadpara reportedly suffered altitude sickness; preventing any further attempts.

Like two previous expeditions, Daniele Nardi’s original plan was to climb Mummery Rib. After acclimatization and depositing gear at the foot of mountain, he launched summit push in first week of February. However, he couldn’t go beyond 6100m.

Alex Txikon, Ali Sadpara and Muhammad Khan reached BC at the end of January. They invited Daniele, after his failed attempt on Mummery Rib, to join them on Kinshofer route. Working together with three Iranians, the team overcame hurdles of excessive snow, technical challenges and bad weather to fix 2500 meters of rope till 6700m. At the end of February, their first summit push was thwarted without significant progress due to bad snow conditions.

Alex Txikon, Ali Sadpara and Daniele Nardi launched second summit-bid on March 8th. Excessive snow had made the ascent further challenging. The three climbers reached C4 (at 7200m) on 13th. They launched the final bid at 3AM and were approaching summit ramp by 8AM. However, they took a wrong turn and lost the route to summit. The team retreated to BC after Ali Sadpara showed signs of altitude sickness in C4.

24. Iranian Expedition
Iranian climbers Reza Bahadorani, Iraj Maani and Mahmood Hashemi reached Diamir BC at the end of January. They worked on Kinshofer route with Alex Txikon’s team.

After acclimatization and route fixing, the team launched summit push at the end of February. However, bad conditions didn’t let them reach C2. While Alex Txikon and Daniele Nardi opted to wait further, Iranian team announced their departure on February 28th. “We think the mountain is covered by too heavy snow, it is dangerous, and besides, information coming from our country tells weather is not going to change next days. That’s why we think is not possible to make it this time.”

25. Russian Team
Four member Russian expedition of Nickolay Totmjanin, Valery Shamalo, Serguey Kondrashkin and Victor Koval, who attempted Schell route, was the only team on Rupal side. Their progress till Mazeno Pass was swift and smooth. By January 20th, they had already deposited summit push gear at 7150m. However, their wait for summit-bid continued, as weather showed no hints of improvement for more than a week.

On January 27th, the four climbers went up, anticipating an improvement in weather. They were running out of resources and couldn’t wait any further. By 31st, they had converted 7150m deposit into C4 and were waiting for “wind 100 km/hour, snow blizzard, no visibility” to recede. The conditions, however, didn’t improve and the four climbers descended to Base Camp in adverse weather on February 3rd. With no summit window in sight, they called off their expedition a couple of days later.

Photo: Polish Winter Expedition 2007
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