Winter Climbs 2013: Moving Up On Nanga Parbat

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As predicted, the weather is starting to shift across Pakistan, bringing better conditions on one peak and worse on others. The teams are currently adjusting their schedules and plans to meeting these changes, which of course are to be expected during the winter months.

On Nanga Parbat conditions are said to be improving, which is giving climbers an opportunity to move back up the mountain. The Hungarian-American squad has been resting the past few days in Chilas while they waited and watched the sky. Their latest update indicates that they are heading back up to Base Camp today where they’ll get settled back in and hopefully proceed back up the mountain.

Similarly, French snowboarder Joel Wischnewski says that he is moving up but in his case that means climbing from Camp 2 up to Camp 3 on the Rupal Face. Joel has been weathering out the storm at altitude and seems to have made it through without too much trouble. He does continue to send disturbing dispatches about his health however, which is worrisome really. He doesn’t seem to be eating enough, he can’t keep much food down and he is suffering from Crohn’s disease as well. That seems like a mix that could lead to some serious problems, so lets keep our fingers crossed that he gets up and down safely in the days ahead. Wischnewski is focused on his climb and is determined to stay to the end, but his health is a major concern right now.

There is also a Polish team attempting the Rupal Face and they have been making solid progress this season as. Dispatches are light on details, but it seems that they are already in Camp 3 are hoping the shift in weather will bring an opportunity to go higher as well. For now though, they wait.
Jumping over to Broad Peak, the Polish climbers on that mountain are bracing themselves for a change in the weather and not for the better. After establishing C2 and fixing ropes up to 6550 meters (21,489 ft) they have now returned to BC for some rest as well. Until now they’ve had relatively calm winds and good weather, but that is expected to change starting today. As they say in a recent dispatch, the “fun is over,” and now things get difficult. At one point the forecast indicated good weather tomorrow, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. They do hope to continue rope fixing in the next few days however, hopefully getting to Camp 3 at 7000 meters (22,965 ft) soon. The video below gives you an idea of what the climb has been like thus far.

With just over six weeks left in winter, there is still a lot of work to be done. Patience will win the day for these climbers of course, but the weather has to cooperate first.

Kraig Becker