Pakistan 2012: Progress and Preparation


The weekend was a busy one in Pakistan, where the summer climbers are busy preparing for the challenges ahead. Some spent some time getting settled in their respective base camps while others have started the long process of shuttling their gear up the mountain. Things are starting to get busy there and it won’t be long before we start to see the first summit attempts of the season.

On Nanga Parbat Romanian climber Torok Zsolt is back in BC after spending some time at altitude. At the end of last week he was heading up to Camp 3 for an acclimatization round, but has since come off the mountain. He reports bad weather at the moment with steady rains in Base Camp and snow accumulations continuing up high. At least a meter of new snow has fallen over the past few days and it looks like the weather pattern could stay the same throughout this week. After that, the predictions are for good weather ahead, but it will take a few days before the snow settles and the route is safe to climb.

Over the weekend the Mazeno Ridge team got their first real look at what they’ll be attempting. The climbers shuttled gear and supplies up to Camp 1 and 2 and caught their first real glimpses of the ridge itself, which is called the “ultimate endurance challenge” of mountaineering.  In order to summit Nanga Parbat, the team will first have to negotiate a long ridge which includes a strong of eight sub-summits of 7000 meters (22,965 ft) or more. The image attached to this post is one that they shot while climbing along that ridge this past weekend.

Over on Broad Peak, Al Hancock and his team arrived in BC on Saturday and spent the weekend getting established and resting. Today the team is planning on sorting their gear and will likely prep the equipment to for hauling up to Camp 1 within the next day or two. Al reports that he has now shaken off the flu like symptoms that he was feeling on the trek into BP and is now feeling strong and ready to climb.

A Hungarian team that plans on climbing Gasherbrum I arrived in BC over the weekend as well. They are currently prepping their gear as well and will begin their ascent with their first gear-shuttles in the next few days. Also on GI is Italian climber Annalisa Fioretti, who is part of the Louis Rousseau team that I mentioned last week. Annalisa says that the team began shuttling gear to Camp 1 on Saturday, but  slow progress through a very dangerous icefall forced them to turn back before they reached their destination. The hope is that conditions will improve as the season goes along, but at the moment, access to GI seems to be very sketchy.

Look for more updates as weather conditions improve and teams get their legs under them. More to come soon.

Kraig Becker