Winter Climbs 2014: Summit Push Round 2 On Nanga Parbat

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The weather continues to be dicey on Nanga Parbat, where the teams have been in Base Camp for most of the week, waiting for a shift in conditions. It seems there may be an opportunity to make a summit bid coming this weekend, so with that in mind, two of the squads are on the move ahead of a potential weather window. If that window opens, we could see the first winter ascents of Nanga on Saturday.

The Polish Justice For All team has sent Tomek Mackiewicz and Pawel Dunaj up the mountain and after safely reaching Camp 1 yesterday, they are now halfway between C1 and C2 today. The same duo were part of the summit push last week, but were turned back due to high winds and extremely cold temperatures. They report that the summit is still shrouded in clouds, but elsewhere around the mountain it is calm. On Saturday, winds on the summit are expected to drop to 30 km/h (18 mph), which is about as quiet as Nanga will get in the winter.

Meanwhile, the North Face team is also on the move and looking to take advantage of this potential weather window. Simone Moro and David Göttler also reached Camp 1 yesterday and are with the Poles at their intermediate camp today. Their reports indicate it took them just 2.5 hours to move from BC to C1, which is a sign that conditions are far better than they were last week and the boys are more acclimatized as well. That bodes well as they continue their push upwards over the next few days, although it should be noted that no one has been above 7100 meters (23,293 ft) yet, so there could be difficult conditions above that point that have yet to be discovered.

Jumping over to the Diamir Face, Italian climber Daniele Nardi is close to wrapping up his acclimatization work on Genalo Peak. If the weather holds out for him, he should complete that process in the next day or two, then return to Base Camp before launching his alpine style summit attempt when the weather permits.

The forecasts indicate that this new weather window will be a narrow one. It will probably only last for two days tops, which is why the climbers are moving into position now. They’ll have to make a dash for the summit and get back down as quickly as possible, or risk getting caught in poor conditions on the more exposed portions of the climb. I suspect that if there is a chance at reaching the summit, the Poles and the North Face team will work together on that final go. For now, we’ll just have to wait to see what happens. Keep your fingers crossed that these men get back down safely, summit or no.

Kraig Becker