Winter Climbs 2013: Nanga Parbat Turns Back All Comers

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It appears that the winter climbing season is all but over on Nanga Parbat as another team is turned back on their summit push, bringing an end to their expedition. It appears as though a projected weather window on that mountain has not opened and despite the fact that there is still another month to go in the season, winter is proving to once again be too tough of a challenge on that peak.

Earlier in the week we learned that both the Poles and the Hungarian-American team had pulled the plug on their Nanga expeditions. Today comes the news that the Italian-French squad of Daniel Nardi and Elisabeth Revol are going home as well. The two had hoped to climb up to Camp 3 in hopes of getting into position for a summit bid that would begin today, but the weather was simply too inhospitable to actually give them a chance at the summit. High winds and heavy snow continue to pummel the mountain, making an attempt all but impossible. On top of that, bitterly cold temperatures (-76ºF/-60ºC) have caused the team some problems as well. It seems that both climbers are suffering frostbite on fingers and toes, which must be addressed immediately.

After spending several days stuck in Camp 2, Daniel and Elisabeth descended back to BC yesterday and will now start the process of heading home. It is a reluctant departure for both of them, but it has been an exhausting expedition too. With snow in the forecast well into next week, a successful climb simply seems out of reach this year.

Meanwhile, there still hasn’t been any word out of French snowboarder Joel Wischnewski who started his three day summit bid last week at this time. He is climbing the Rupal face and is no doubt experiencing the same conditions that have caused the other teams to go home. Hopefully he is simply having issues with his communications gear and is otherwise in good condition. To say that he is overdue would be putting it lightly. Keep your fingers crossed.

Finally, the Polish team on Broad Peak is still in Base Camp, resting and watching the skies. They have most of their work done but are now simply waiting for a weather window to open that will allow them to go back up the mountain. Their next move could be a summit push, as they will hope to establish Camp 4 then continue on to the top, provided weather conditions improve. Until then, they’ve shared the video below to give us an idea of what it is like on BP this winter.

Kraig Becker