It has been a challenging week on Nanga Parbat where the weather took a turn for the worse and sent several teams home for good. But one climber remains on that mountain and is determined to stay through the end of the season, despite the fact that conditions are less than ideal.
It has been a week and a half since we last heard anything out of French snowboarder Joel Wischnewski, which has been a cause for concern amongst those of us who are following the winter expeditions closely. His last dispatch indicated that he would be moving up the Rupal face on Nanga and that we could expect news in three days time. That deadline came and went without an update and considering how sick he was before setting off, it is understandable that we would wonder about his condition.
But Raheel Adnan, writing on his Altitude Pakistan blog, says that Joel is fine, feeling good and just waiting for a weather window. He is reportedly camped at about 5300 meters (17,388 ft), which is a lower altitude than expected, with plenty of food and supplies to hold him over. As suspected, the charger on his cell phone isn’t working properly, which has been part of the problem with keeping in communications. He has been signaling back down the mountain using a light however, letting his support team know that he is okay.
It seems that Joel is extremely determined to climb this mountain and if the weather cooperates, he’ll be there to take advantage of the opportunity.
(Update: As you’ll see in the comments section below this post, there has been a miscommunication between Raheel and Joel’s support team. There has been no communication between him and his logistics company, which leaves us wondering once again where he is at and what his condition is. What started as a possible ray of hope that everything was okay, has gotten a bit dimmer after Raheel’s update. Lets continue to keep our fingers crossed that Joel is okay.)
Meanwhile, over on Broad Peak, the Polish squad continues to sit and wait in Base Camp. Their forecasts indicate that the weather will remain bad for another few days, at which time they can finally proceed back up the mountain. The next set of duties include fixing ropes to Camp 4, erecting tents and building a gear cache at that location and then waiting for an opportunity to make a summit bid. Once the skies clear, they’ll be more than rested and ready to complete that task.
In the meantime, they’ve posted some great photos that detail the route to the top which you can view in this blog post. They also posted the amazing image below of the final approach to BP’s summit. Beautiful stuff to say the lest.