Winter Climbs 2014: It’s Over On Nanga Parbat

Nanga Parbat Indus Gorge

The 2014 winter climbing season is now officially over. In the wake of the avalanche accident that occurred last weekend, the Polish climbing team on Nanga Parbat has elected to pull up stakes and head home. With just a few more days left in winter, and the weather remaining uncooperative, the team decided there simply wasn’t going to be another opportunity to summit, and with two of their members recovering in a Pakistani hospital, they didn’t have the man power to safely finish the expedition either.

The end of the climb, which has lasted more than three months, was officially announced on Jacek Teler’s blog. He left Base Camp last week in order to ensure Pawel Dunaj and Michal Obrycki reached a hospital where they could be treated for their injuries suffered in the avalanche. While he was there, Tomek Mackiewicz stayed behind to help break down camp and organize the retrieval of all of their gear. By now, the men are starting to make their way home, where they will regroup, rest up, and consider possible future options.

The lack of success by several teams on Nanga Parbat this winter has left the mountain still waiting for its first ascent during that season. Amongst the 8000 meter peaks, only K2 still holds that distinction as well. Tomek has vowed to return to give it another go next year, but for now, Nanga has once again turned back all challengers. Fortunately, the mountain didn’t claim any lives this year. It is a dangerous place to be in the winter, and while the avalanche put a scare into the Polish team, they were lucky to come away without worse injuries. The “Killer Mountain” is one of the toughest climbs in the world, particularly in the winter, but at least no one lost their lives trying to summit this year. Lets hope that trend continues.

Kraig Becker