Winter Climbs 2016: A Team Departs Nanga Parbat

The biggest story of the winter climbing season is of course the on going efforts on Nanga Parbat, where multiple teams are attempting to become the first squad to complete an ascent of that mountain during the coldest, harshest season of all. So far, there has been stead progress made on a number of routes, and the weather has been mostly favorable.

But things are starting to change, and the conditions that Nanga is so well known for have begun to appear at last. And if that wasn’t enough, one of the teams has already decided to pull the plug on their expedition, returning home before they ever had a chance to go for the summit. 

The duo of Adam Bielecki and Jacek Czech have left Nanga Parbat following a couple of set backs, most prominently amongst them is the fact that Jacek has been ill for some time now, and Adam suffered an injury to his hand last week when fellow climber Daniele Nardi fell while the duo were fixing hopes to Camp 3. (See video here) On top of that, the duo had hoped to make a light and fast, alpine style climb, but were unprepared for everything this big mountain had to throw at them.

With resources already tight, and the weather starting to turn, they elected to leave instead. But Bielecki has vowed to return, saying he has caught the “Nanga Parbat bug.” Perhaps we’ll see him on the mountain again soon as a result.

For his part, Italian climber Daniele Nardi suffered minor injuries as a result of the fall too. He is resting in BC to allow his body to overcome some aches and pains in his back and neck that were the result of his 80 meter (262 ft) drop. Nardi is feeling lucky to be alive, but he remains on the mountain pressing ahead with his attempt nonetheless. 

Meanwhile, the Polish Justice For All team is reporting high winds on the Schell Route. They squad has attempted to shuttle gear up to Camp 3, but has run head-on into the jet stream instead. They report sustained winds of 100 km/h (62 mph), which is making it nearly impossible to make any kind of progress at the moment. They’re currently waiting out the weather with the hopes of going up again soon.

Alex Txikon and Ali Sadpara are continuing to make progress on the Kinshofer Route. Yesterday the fixed another 500 meters of rope above Camp 2 as they continue to work their way towards what will eventually be C3. They now have ropes in place to take them up to 6500 meters (21,325 ft), and after spending the night in C2 will now descend to Base Camp for some much needed rest and recuperation before starting up again. Incoming weather will probably keep them in place for a few days at least.

Finally, ExWeb is reporting that Tomek Mackiewicz and Elisabeth Revol have launched a potential summit bid on the mountain. The duo set out from BC on Saturday and are now making their way up the mountain. If the continue to make good progress, and the weather cooperates, they have the potential to complete the first winter ascent of Nanga Parbat later in the week.

We’ll just have to be patient to see if that happens, but of course I’ll keep readers updated at the story unfolds. Tomek and Elisabeth are notorious for going as light as possible on their expeditions, and as a result they often don’t take a sat phone or other equipment to keep us updated. For now, we’ll just have to wait until we get more news.

Kraig Becker