Winter Climbs 2019: Search Continues on Nanga Parbat, Stalled on K2

More news to report from Pakistan today as the search for the missing climbers on Nanga Parbat continues more than a week after rescue efforts began. Meanwhile, over on K2 a summit bid is underway, but has been stalled out due to high winds.

We’ll start with an update on the ongoing search for Daniele Nardi and Tom Ballard although there isn’t much new to share today. Yesterday, Alex Txikon, Muhammad Ali Sadpara, Felix Criado, and Rahmat Ullah Baig all climbed up as high as Camp 2 on the mountain before launching drones to search the landscape. One of those drones went as high as 6500 meters (21,325 ft) but so far there still hasn’t been any trace of the two men. The search team did spot what appears to be a former campsite at C3, but there was no indication that anyone was there or had been there for quite some time.

After losing one of the drones in their search and encountering cold temperatures and a high risk of avalanche, the four climbers elected to descend back to Camp 1 to rest for the night. Today, the plan is to move over to the Kinshofer route today to search that area just in case Nardi and Ballard ended up shifting their path due to deteriorating conditions.

It has now been a week since search and rescue operations were first launched and more than ten days since anyone has heard from the missing climbers. At this point, the chances of finding them alive on Nanga Parbat are next to nothing, and according to reports Daniele and Tom’s friends and family are combing to grips with that reality. Once again, our condolences go out to them.

On K2, the Russian/Kazakh/Kyrgyatanian team is in the midst of a summit push, but have stalled out at Camp 3 due to high winds. The team is still holding out hope that they’ll be able to get a legitimate crack at the summit, but for now all they can do is sit and wait for better weather. Some of the team remains in Base Camp, while others are currently at roughly 7200 meters (23,622 ft) just above the Black Pyramid. That’s the highest point they’ve reached so far, so anything above that would be new territory for this season.

That’s it for now. We’ll continue to keep a close eye on both mountains over the next few days.

Kraig Becker