Pakistan 2012: Summit Push Begins On Mazeno Ridge


It was a relatively quiet weekend in Pakistan, where it seems the climbing teams are all in a lull between acclimatization rounds, weather windows and gear carries. But the week ahead looks like it’ll be a bit busier as the mountaineers get back to work.

One of those teams is the Mazeno Ridge trio of Sandy Allan, Rick Allen and Cathy O’Dowd, who began their summit push today. Their weather report indicates that the next two weeks will be a mixed bag, with unstable conditions throughout, but nothing too nasty as to prevent them from going up. Their likely to need a good portion of that two weeks to complete the climb, as they’ll be forced to negotiate a very long approach that includes eight 7000 meter (22,965 ft) peaks before the take on the crown jewel of the climb, Nanga Parbat, which stands 8126 meters (26,660 ft). Expect regular updates on their progress in the coming days.

Once climber who won’t summit Nanga this year is Romanian Torok Zsolt, who posted earlier today that it is with a heavy heart that he has to call it quits on his solo climb this season. Torok waxes poetic about his love for the mountains and his enjoyment of climbing Himalayan peaks alone. But he says that the weather has continued to be bad and that the upper portions of the mountain are unstable and unsafe. He experienced those conditions first hand last week when he climbed above Camp 3 and found himself in some precarious positions. After making it back to BC safely, he now estimates that it will be a minimum of ten days before NP is safe to climb, and he simply doesn’t have the time or resources to stay and see the expedition through to the end.

Over on Broad Peak, Al Hancock is celebrating Canada Day in Base Camp with his mates. They’ve been shuttling gear up the mountain and now have Camps 1 and 2 established now. They’ll spend the next few days resting before proceeding up again. If the weather holds, they should have C3 built by the end of the week and they’ll start thinking about their summit bid as well. For Al, BP is just a warm-up for K2, which will come later in July if everything stays on plan.

Louis Rousseau’s Gasherbrum squad, which includes Annalisa Fioretti, has made steady progress as well. They spent the weekend shuttling gear up to Camp 2 and should most likely be headed back to BC as well after getting their gear ready for the Japanese Couloir. With that work out of the way, they’ll  rest up and watch the weather before making their first summit push too. That could come later in the week as well.

It seems the next week or so is going to be very interesting. Stay tuned for more updates.

Kraig Becker