Yesterday I posted an update on the winter climbing scene in Pakistan where several teams are hoping to make the first winter ascent of Nanga Parbat this year. So far those attempts have been stymied by bad weather conditions that have included high winds, cold temperatures and lots of snow. But with the forecast improving over the next few days, it seemed as if the climbers were preparing to truly get their acclimatization process under way at last. For one climber however, the risks on Nanga are just too great, so he has elected to pull the plug and go home.
As noted in my previous update, German climber Ralf Dujmovits was hoping to make a solo climb of the mountain and had recently arrived in Base Camp where he had been weighing his options for the best approach. What he found was that his intended route was far more difficult to find that he had anticipated and that it was was more dangerous as well. Ralf discovered that there were two massive ice towers precariously balanced just above where he would be climbing. He also estimated that it would take him approximately a day and a half to move past those towers, which would have been an awfully long time to be stuck under their shadow. So, weighing all of this information out and considering how fearsome Nanga Parbat is in the winter under the best of circumstances, he decided it was best to pull the plug on the expedition rather than tempt fate.
With the decision made, Ralf will now leave Pakistan and head for home. He knew that climbing the mountain solo in winter was going to be a major challenge no matter what, but the conditions even more dangerous than he had anticipated. I think the term “discretion is the better part of valor” is an apt one here.
This won’t be the only solo attempt on Nanga this season however. Daniele Nardi will be arriving in Pakistan later in the month and he will attempt a solo summit along the Diamir face too.
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