Winter Climbs 2013: Poles Reach Camp 2 On Broad Peak


It may only be Wednesday but it has already been an active week on most of the major winter climbs that are currently underway. With things winding down on Denali, our attention is turning to Pakistan, where the teams are just getting started on their ambitious climbs. With six weeks left in winter, there is still a lot of work to be done, but so far there has been solid progress by a number of squads.

Today we’ll start on Broad Peak, where the Polish team is going about their expedition in a systematic and methodical fashion. After establishing Camp 1 last weekend, most of the squad has already completed at least one acclimatization round and have started their next rotation. For the past few days they have been fixing ropes up to Camp 2, located at 6200 meters (20,341 feet), successfully reaching that point yesterday. The climbers who shuttled the first gear to C2 will now return to Base Camp for a rest, while their compatriots bring up the next loads and start the task of fixing the ropes to C3. It is a very professional and efficient approach to the climb, which will hopefully pay dividends in a few weeks time. For now, the weather is holding steady and they are making good progress.

Over on Nanga Parbat things are starting to pick-up as well. The Hungarian-American team still isn’t sharing a ton of updates, but we do know that they have been working their way to Camp 2 as well. They did get some good news a few days back in the form of a working generator which one of the Sherpas was able to repair. That should make things more comfortable in BC at least, even if it hasn’t facilitated more dispatches just yet.

Snowboarding mountaineer Joel Wischnewski has shared a few dispatches from the Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat over the past few days. Not a lot of information on his progress but interesting anecdotes from the mountain none the less. He is up in ABC at the moment, having descended from an extended stay in Camp 2. He seems to be relieved about being safely back down the mountain, but has had to clear his mind of a few things before he begins the climb once again. While he’s battled sickness in recent days, he has not been able to focus on the task at hand. But after spending some time off the mountain with a friend in Rupal, he now seems reinvigorated to begin anew.

Joel has regularly posted about the animals and their tracks that he has seen in and around his camps and he reports that an ibex has been a regular visitor. The animal has been sifting through his trash looking for tasty things to nibble on and has even made off with one of his socks. The sock was sitting on his tent so it could dry in the sun and the ibex decided it might be fun to make off with it. Wischnewski discovered it further down the trail as obviously the creature decided it wasn’t edible at some point.

The Italian-French team with aspirations of climbing Nanga Parbat is finally headed to the mountain. They’ve been acclimatizing on Ganalo and had hoped to summit that peak as part of their preperation. They gave it quite a go, but deep snow and bad weather turned them back before the summit. Now they’ll head to Nanga where they’ll rest a day or two before starting up the mountain, which is their true goal for the winter season.

Finally, Lonnie Dupre may have canceled his plans for a January summit on Denali, but he is still waiting for a flight home. He made his way down to Base Camp yesterday and is hoping for the weather to clear so a plane can come pick him up. He’s sharing BC with Japanese climber Masatoshi Kuriaki, who is there to attempt a winter ascent of Mt. Hunter (4442 meters/14,573 ft). The forecast indicates that the weather may improve tomorrow or Friday, allowing Lonnie to head home at last.

That’s all for now. More updates soon!

Kraig Becker