The news out of Pakistan continues unabated today with the confirmation of the successful summit of Nanga Parbat along the Mazeno Ridge route and updates on the progress of other teams in the region.
For nearly a week now we’ve had conflicting reports on the status of the Mazeno Ridge team. First they summited, then they didn’t and now they have once again. This time for real. Although one of the team members, Cathy O’Dowd, elected to descend back to Base Camp, her companions, Sandy Allan and Rick Allen, stayed on the mountain and persisted to the summit despite bad weather and awful snow conditions. The duo topped out at 6:12 PM local time this past Saturday, becoming the first to complete the incredibly long and tough Mazeno approach which includes eight sub-summits in excess of 7000 meters (22,965 ft) in height. At the time they were running low on both food and fuel but refused to give up their one chance at success while the weather was still tolerable enough to allow access to the top.
This news puts an end to the speculation about the team’s whereabout and safety. Glad to hear that everyone is okay and that success was achieved on this very difficult climb. Congratulations to Sandy and Rick for such an outstanding effort.
Elsewhere, the Field Touring Alpine team is in the midst of their summit push on Broad Peak where they’ve reached Camp 3 today. They’re currently camping at 7000 meters in high winds and snow, and tomorrow they’ll actually dismantle their camp and move it higher before making an attempt at the summit. The team will likely establish Camp 4 at 7400 meters (24,278 ft) where they’ll keep an eye on the forecasts and wait for a window to open this weekend.
Over on Gasherbrum I, Louis Rousseau and the rest of his team are safely back in BC and sharing the details of their failed summit bid. From the sounds of things, the mountain wasn’t exactly kind to the climbers who saw five of the six teammates knocked over by an avalanche just below Camp 3. After evaluating the conditions and seeing an increase in winds and snows, the group decided to turn back, but it still took two days for them to safely descend back to Base Camp. Several of the climbers now see their departure dates looming and are currently weighing their options. They’re keeping a close eye on a summit push that is currently underway on Gasherbrum II, which has yet to see a summit this year as well. If the 15-man squad that is attempting that peak is successful, then Rousseau and the rest of his teammates may shift their plans to make a quick summit bid on GII instead.
Finally, over on K2 the teams are moving again. Tunc Findik and his climbing mate Azim Gheychisaz are currently in Camp 2, while Peter Hamor and his mates have gone up to C1 today. Everyone appears to be doing well as they continue their acclimatization rounds. The real challenge is ahead.
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