Winter Climbs 2013: Stalled On Nanga Parbat

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The winter climbing season continued this past weekend with teams on various mountains finding different levels of success. As we move to the heart of winter, the weather continues to dictate the pace and ultimately the chances of successfully summiting. But with a month and a half still to go in the season, it is still too early to tell if any of the climbers will actually achieve their goals.

On Nanga Parbat, bad weather has been slamming the mountain for the past few days, bringing plenty of new snowfall with it. Reports indicate that more than a meter of fresh powder has been deposited on its slopes and as a result, most of the teams have elected to stay huddled in Base Camp or move down the mountain for the relative comfort of one of the nearby villages.

One such team is the Hungarian-American squad, which is now down a man thanks to the departure of Zoltan Acs. Zoli was forced to abandon his attempt at a winter summit of Nanga after frostbite from a previous expedition flared up in his feet. The condition was making the climb painful and slow, so he wisely decided to call it quits and head home to see a doctor. His mates David Klein and Ian Overton will continue on without him, returning to BC mid-week to resume their efforts.

The Italian-French team of Daniele Nardi and Elisabeth Revol have also descended from Base Camp to enjoy some relaxation at lower altitudes. After warming up on nearby Ganalo, they’re now acclimatized and ready to take on Nanga. But the fresh snow is preventing that at the moment, so they’re taking advantage of the time to rest and get ready for the next phase of their expedition. The forecast says the weather should improve on February 6, so they should be returning to BC shortly in order to take advantage of the improved conditions.

French snowboarder Joel Wischnewski remains on Nanga Parbat’s Rupal Face where he continues to face health issues. He says that he is bleeding from his intestines but refuses to entertain the idea of giving up on the climb and returning home to seek help. Joel has been struggling with all kinds of physical ailments on this expedition and this is just the latest affliction but he says that it isn’t preventing him from making progress and that he is now simply waiting out the bad weather in Camp 2 before going higher. Lets hope he knows what he is doing and that this story won’t end in tragedy.

Meanwhile, over on Broad Peak, the Polish team continues to push upwards. Their latest rotation saw some of the men fixing ropes above Camp 2 and they have now managed to complete that task up to 6550 meters (21,489 ft). Their last dispatch came on Saturday, so barring any change in the weather, it is likely that they are now above that point as well and may have established Camp 3.

Lonnie Dupre was finally successfully evacuated from Denali this weekend and is back home in Minnesota. His home team promises video footage from the climb and a debrief to come down the line, but for now they’ve posted the video below as a short interview with Lonnie following his third attempt at a January solo-summit of the mountain. It has some interesting insights from a man who has seen and done a lot in his career.

Denali 2013: Return from Lonnie Dupre on Vimeo.

Kraig Becker