Winter Climbs 2014: Poor Weather Descends On Nanga Parbat

EP Rupal Shell

The winter climbing seasons is progressing quickly,  and the teams in Pakistan attempting the first ascent of Nanga Parbat have already spent more than a month on the mountain. As is usual with a winter climb, weather dictates when progress can be made, and until recently that weather had been fairly cooperative. But things have taken a turn for the worse at the moment, putting the climbers back in Base Camp, where they wait patiently for an opportunity to resume their expeditions.

The North Face team of Simone Moro, David Göttler and Emilio Previtali have been making solid progress on the mountain thus far. Simone and David have shuttled gear up to Camp 2 last week when the weather was good, and spent a few nights at altitude acclimatizing to the thin air. They had hoped to go as high as 7000 meters (22,965 ft), although it seems that they weren’t quite able to reach that point. Still, they seem pleased with the work they have put in so far, and with just under two months to go in the winter, they aren’t watching the clock too much just yet.

David granted an interview to German adventure sport journalist Stefan Nestler, during which he shared some thoughts on the climb so far. He indicated that he and Simone had gone as high as 6400 meters (20,997 ft) in their last acclimatization rotation, but they were forced to return to BC with the onset of poor weather. David also noted that his team is getting along great with the Polish squad they are sharing Base Camp with. Both units have been sharing intel and the duties of installing the fixed ropes up the slope.

Speaking of the Poles, their Justice For All team hasn’t made an update in awhile, but ExWeb says that most of the team has gone up to 6100 meters (20,013 ft), with one member even spending some time in C2. Much like the TNF squad, they are acclimatizing as best they can while carrying gear up the slopes, and always keeping an eye on the weather. The forecast indicates that it will remain bad through  the weekend, with a potential window opening at the start of next week.

Meanwhile, Italian climber Daniele Nardi has arrived in Pakistan and is making his way towards Nanga Parbat. He’ll attempt a solo, alpine style ascent along the Diamir Face, which means he won’t be sharing BC with the other teams. That side of the mountain is reportedly quite unstable this year, but Daniele will give it a go none the less. Hopefully he’ll be safe during his stay on the mountain.

That’s all for now. We’ll be keeping an eye on developments on Nanga Parbat in the days and weeks ahead. This could be the year that someone finally climbs the “Killer Mountain” during the winter.

Kraig Becker