Karakoram Summer 2019: Summit Push Already Underway on Nanga Parbat

The summer 2019 climbing season in Pakistan has barely started and we already have a summit push underway on Nanga Parbat. Despite the fact that conditions have been less than ideal across the Karakoram and Himalaya so far, several teams have now joined forces in an attempt to take advantage of a brief, but promising, weather window. Even though conditions have improved however, this will hardly be an easy climb to the top.

Over the weekend, climbers from four different squads set off from Base Camp with the goal of reaching the top. That group currently consists of Sergi Mingote and Moesses Fiamoncini, both of whom have other climbing partners who are currently down for the count and unable to make the summit push.

Those two alpinists were also joined by Ali Sadpara and Stefi Troguet, as well as Vitaly Lazo and Anton Pugovkin who hope to ski the mountain after they summit. That means the group is actually made up of mountaineers from four different teams, each of which came to the mountain with its own independent goals, but sees value in working together now.

The group reached Camp 2 a few days back, although getting to the point wasn’t easy. As with the other big mountains in Pakistan this summer, there is deep snow on Nanga Parbat, which made breaking trail extremely difficult.

Add in continued heavy snowfall and even thick fog, and you’ll start to get a sense of the conditions they’ve been dealing with. Those conditions delayed the team’s departure from C2 yesterday, although they did eventually manage to go up to Camp 3 at 6700 meters (21,981 ft). With barely any rest however, they continued up to Camp 4 today, which they established for the first time at 7200 meters (23,622 ft).

If the weather window opens as expected, they could push to the summit tomorrow, marking the first successful ascents of the very young climbing season in Pakistan.

Over on K2, Adrian Ballinger and his team have overcome some early challenges and have now arrived in Base Camp. He’s attempting a no-Os summit of the mountain this summer, but was delayed in his arrival, first by illness and later due to a lack of porters. Fortunately, he regained his health fairly quickly. We’re not sure how the team overcame the issue of losing its porters, but they have arrived in BC now and are ready to get started. 

Improved conditions on K2 have allowed Mike Horn and Fred Roux to set off for Camp 2 on that mountain. They left BC today and are making their way towards that point now. The duo have already been up to C1 and back to BC for a rest, so this is the next logical step in their acclimatization process.

That’s all for today. We’ll keep a close eye on things as they unfold. It seems like the weather is cooperating for now, but snow does continue to fall across the region and there is a lot of climbing yet to come.

Kraig Becker