Monday, February 08, 2016

Off on a Brief Canadian Adventure

I wanted to share a quick updated with Adventure Blog readers for what is to come this week. Tomorrow I leave for Quebec, Canada for a few days of winter fun. My adventure up north will include some dogsledding and snowshoeing, while exploring some of the great outdoor environments that Quebec has to offer. To say I am excited about the trip would be an understatement. 

I'm told that we'll have Internet access at various times while traveling, so if possible I will share some of my experiences as they are happening. It should be an incredibly fun excursion filled with lots of interesting activities and destinations, and I hope to provide some insights into what it is like there during the winter. 

As for the weather, the forecast says it is going to be cold. Like -15ºF/-26ºC cold. The region has also had in excess of 5 meters (16 feet) of snowfall so far this winter. That means it should be well suited for the activities that we have planned. It also means that I should get plenty of chances to test some gear while I'm there, so look for a slew of reviews to follow my return. 

I hope everyone has a great week filled with some adventures of their own. I'll be back before you know it, and sharing stories, news, and info. 

Video: A Photographer's Search for the Perfect Moment

If you're even remotely interested in photography, you probably have, at times, gone to great lengths to capture the perfect moment in an image. In this video, we join photographer David Fontneau as he travel into remote and wild places to seek those same moments himself. Along the way, he captures some amazing photos and video of landscapes that are simply breathtaking to behold. Capturing these images isn't easy, but the rewards can be seen in the final product. These are the moments that many people don't even notice, but the camera captures oh so well.

 
In Search of a Moment - 4K from David Fontneau on Vimeo.

Video: Official Trailer for Crossing Bhutan - Ultrarunning in the Himalaya

A few years back, four endurance athletes set out on a month long journey through the heart of Bhutan, a tiny kingdom in the Himalaya that is as rugged and stunning beautiful as any place on Earth. Their journey would cover more than 485 miles on foot, going border to border in a place that is unlike any other. This video gives us a glimpse of that journey and serves as a trailer for a full-length documentary about the project. Check it out below, and you'll be eager to see the entire film.

 
CROSSING BHUTAN Trailer from Crossing Bhutan on Vimeo.

Winter Climbs 2016: Soap Opera Continues on Nanga Parbat as International Team Breaks Down Again

There still isn't a lot of news to report from Nanga Parbat. The weather remains awful, and as a result the remaining teams are stuck in Base Camp, waiting for an opportunity to go up. Over the weekend, 15 cm (6 inches) of new snow fell on the mountain, which only adds to the recent accumulations that will make breaking trail challenging once again.

But the ongoing saga of the dispute between Alex Txikon and Daniele Nardi seems to have taken another turn. First, we heard that a rift had come between the two men, and that they would no longer be working together on the attempt to complete the first winter ascent of the mountain. Then, a few days later, we were told that the entire story was blown out of proportion, and that they were continuing to work together. Now comes word once again that Alex and Daniele have gone their separate ways, and it seems that there is bad blood indeed.

Stefan Nestler has been watching the events on Nanga Parbat play out all season long, and posting updates to his Adventure Sports Blog. Over the weekend he shared yet more news from the mountain, not the least of which was a quote from Alex that said “Although tried to give more than one chance to this cooperation, it was finally impossible," indicating that he and Daniele have indeed split.

We know that Txikon and his partner Ali Sadapara are continuing to work with Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger. What Nardi's plans are remain unclear at this time, but as far as I can tell at this point, he is still in BC and possibly planning to make a solo attempt on the summit. We'll just have to wait to see how that unfolds.

Nepali Government Slow to Honor Everest Climbing Permits From 2015

Stop me if you've heard this one before.

The Nepali government is once again dragging its feet on a decision to honor the cancelled climbing permits for Everest – and other peaks – from the 2015 season. As you'll no doubt recall, all expeditions were cancelled following the massive earthquake that took place there last April, leaving many mountaineers who were in the Himalaya to wonder what would happen next. After all, many of them spent upwards of $50,000 only to see their opportunity to reach the summit dashed by the natural disaster that devastated the country.

I'm sure as most of the climbers departed the mountains last spring went away thinking that their climbing permits would be honored at some point in the future. The precedent was set following the cancelled 2014 season on Everest after 19 porters were killed in an avalanche. Following those events, the Nepali government eventually announced that the climbing permits purchased for Everest and Lhotse that year would be honored for returning climbers for three additional years.

As you probably know, those permits are not cheap, and many mountaineers simply wanted reassurance that their investment was safe and the they would have another chance to climb Everest again. Last year, government officials took a very long time to make that decision, but eventually they came around and announced their plans to honor the permits. This year – to quote the great Yogi Berra – it's deja vu all over again.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Video: A Spectacular Journey Through Mongolia

Filmed over a three month period this past fall, this video takes us to Mongolia, where we get a look at the amazing landscapes, wildlife, and people that live there. From the bustling towns, to the remote mountains and desert, this is an amazing look at a country that remains wild and diverse, even in the 21st century.

MONGOLIA from Nessim Stevenson on Vimeo.

Video: The North Face Presents - Lost Gringos

This video is definitely for those who enjoy a good story with their beautiful clips of mountains. It follows ski mountaineer Sam Smoothy – and friends – as he travels to the Andes mountains in Bolivia to follow in his father's footsteps. Year's earlier, Sam's dad went to the mountains to make some first ski descents, and now his son is doing the same. The story is both inspiring and touching, with some great scenery as well. Get comfortable for this one, you'll want to watch it all the way through.

Video: Xavier De Le Rue Rides the 55º Mallory Couloir in Chamonix

Over the years, we've seen big mountain snowboarder Xavier De Le Rue ride some impressive lines in some incredibly remote locations. But for his latest video he stayed close to home in Chamonix, France where he took on the impossibly steep Mallory Couloir, on the North Face of the Aiguille du Midi, which features a 55º slope. As you can imagine, this run wasn't for the faint of heart, or those lacking in skills. Check it out in the video below, which first begins with some fun shredding in the Alps before making way to the main event.

Winter Climbs 2016: No Rift On Nanga Parbat International Team After All?

We have a new chapter in the emerging soap opera on Nanga Parbat. Yesterday, I posted an update from the mountain with news that one of the teams was having an internal dispute that had caused them to break apart. But today, comes word that those reports may have been premature, and that everything may be going according to plan.

Citing an update from ExWeb, I shared the news that Alex Txikon and Daniele Nardi were having disagreements over how to proceed on their attempt to make the first winter ascent of Nanga Parbat. The report indicated that a rift had grown between the two climbers, and that Nardi was leaving the expedition. Apparently, that news was either completely false, or way overblown, as Daniele has responded to the news.

According to Stefan Nestler's Adventure Sports Blog, Nardi has denied that there is any problem between him and Txikon, and that they are continuing to find ways to overcome the challenges they are facing on the mountain. Daniele says that he and Alex have cooperated on multiple expeditions in the past, and things between them remain good. He is quoted as saying “This year, I have considered him to be more than just a partner”, said Nardi. “We will find the best solution.”

It's good to hear that the relationship is intact and that they are proceeding as a team. If they hope to summit this monster, they'll need all of their considerable talents working together.

Meanwhile, Simone Moro shared a video of a massive avalanche coming down the Diamir Face on Nanga Parbat today. Check it out below for an idea of what these teams are facing.


Sherpani Named Nat Geo 2016 People's Choice Adventurer of the Year

Back in November, National Geographic revealed its selections for the 2016 Adventurers of the Year. That list was long, and distinguished, with such names as Dawn Wall climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson, long-distance paddler Freya Hoffmeister, and ultrarunner Scott Jurek. After the list of recipients of the awards are released however, Nat Geo also launches an online campaign that allows the general public to cast their votes for their favorite adventurer personalities as well. This award is known as the People's Choice Adventurers of the Year, and yesterday the winner was announced at long last.

This year's top vote getter in this category was Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita, a female Sherpa – aka Sherpani – who is redefining what we know about the women of Nepal. Her list of mountaineering accomplishments is impressive to say the least, with successful summits on Everest, K2, Lobuche Peak, and a host of others. She is also one of the first students to attend the Khumbu Climbing Center, and became Nepal's first female climbing instructor as well. But what really stands out is her tireless efforts to help rebuild her home country in the wake of last year's devastating earthquake that left more than 9000 people dead, and destroyed whole villages.

Through her efforts, both climbing and humanitarian, Pasang Lhamu has become an important role model to the women of Nepal. She shows them what is possible, even in a country where women are still struggling to find their own voice and identity. Because of this, she has become a major personality in her country, where there were organized campaigns to vote early and often to get the People's Choice award for her. And it is much deserved!

Congratulations to Pasang Lhamu on receiving this honor, and to all of the 2016 National Geographic Adventurers of the Year.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Video: Traveling Overland From Switzerland to Mongolia

This amazing video was shot on what must have been an epic road trip from Switzerland to Mongolia. Along the way, the filmmakers captured thousands of fantastic images as they passed through  Italy, Greece, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Russia. The landscapes the discovered along the way will leave you breathless, and inspire a healthy dose of wanderlust too. This is what overland travel is all about, and it is utterly spectacular.

Latitude 45 - Switzerland to Mongolia from Milo Zanecchia on Vimeo.

Video: Mountain Bikes For Life

Even though this video is actually a promo for Orange Mountain Bikes, it is still a beautiful clip for anyone who enjoys riding a great trail every once in awhile. It opens with some sage words of wisdom about how to live your life, and then breaks into some epic riding on an unknown trail that looks like it is a lot of fun. After a good ride yesterday myself, I'm ready for more action on the trail.

Orange Bikes Four Life from Orange Mountain Bikes on Vimeo.

Gear Closet: ASAP Dash - The Fastest USB Battery Charger On the Market?

For me, one of the most life-altering pieces of technology that has appeared in my lifetime is the smartphone. Sure, mobile phones existed before the iPhone and Android appeared on the market, but those devices, coupled with great mobile operating systems and a creative app ecosystem, have fundamentally altered the way we work, play, and communicate on a daily basis.

But if those gadgets still have one fundamental flaw, its the with their battery life. As we use them throughout our day, they can run out of charge very quickly, ending up useless. Fortunately there are a wide array of portable USB battery chargers on the market that give us a quick boost of power when we start to run low. The downside of most of them however, is that they are yet another device that we need to keep charged, and if you've ever used one, they can take awhile to gather power too.

Enter the ASAP Dash, a portable USB charger that promises to be the fastest charging battery pack the market. The device is currently in the crowdfunding stage, but is well on its way of achieving the $30,000 goal that its designers need to get it into production. What sets the Dash apart from the competition is that it can save enough power to recharge an iPhone in under five minutes, or completely fill its 5000 mAh battery in just 15. That means you don't have to wait long for it to be ready, which is different from most other battery packs that I've used, which can often take hours to fully charge.

So how does it do it? Well, unlike most other portable chargers, the Dash doesn't rely on a slow micro-USB port to provide it with energy. Instead, it ships with a high capacity adapter of its own, which is capable of filling the internal battery in a matter of a few minutes. The final product will even ship with a car adapter so you can fill it up while on the road too.

What the Hell is Wingboarding and Will it Be the Next Big Thing in Extreme Sports?

Outside Online has published a story about an emerging new activity called wing boarding that is in the early stages of development. Inspired by the old Disney television show Tailspin from back in the early 90's, wing boarding is the brainchild of aerospace engineer Aaron Wypyszynski, who has designed a flying wing that is pulled behind an airplane with a person standing on it. In simpler terms, it is wake boarding in the air.

Over the past couple of years, Wypysznski has been developing prototypes of what he calls the WingBoard. In its current state, this flying platform spans 12-feet and weighs approximately 70 pounds. It has bindings attached to it much like a snowboard, and allows a full grown man to be towed through the air behind an airplane, doing all kinds of stunts in the process.

Outside says to date, the engineer has spent more than $25,000 on this project, which he hopes one day will be used at airshows with extreme athletes carving up the sky behind stunt planes. In a sense, it would be surfing through the sky, with safety features such as breakaway bindings and parachutes on both the pilot and the board, to ensure that no one gets injured in the process.

So far, only scale models of the WingBoard have been flown, with the most recent test involving a prototype that is 40% of the actual size of the end product. A similarly scaled model of a human was attached to that prototype, with the test running coming off without a hitch – including a full barrel roll. If further testing goes as planned, Wypysznski could begin producing and selling WingBoards as early as next year.

So? What do you think? Would you ride this thing? Check out the video below for a look at one of the models in action.


Winter Climbs 2016: Internal Turmoil for International Team on Nanga Parbat

There still isn't a lot of news to report from Nanga Parbat, where weather conditions have deteriorated to the point that all the climbers are now stuck int heir respective Base Camps waiting for a summit window to open. It is unclear as to when that will happen at this point, but for now everyone sits and waits.

That said, it seems that the weather isn't the only thing has deteriorated in recent days. ExWeb is reporting that a rift has grown between Alex Txikon and Daniele Nardi, causing their team to splinter.  Alex will continue to work with Ali Sadpara, Simone Moro, and Tamara Lunger, but it is unclear what Daniele's plans entail at this point. It is highly likely that he is headed home, but that has not been announced just yet.

The two climbers apparently had regular disagreements as to how to proceed with the expedition, and it appears there was even a lot of tension around behavior while in Base Camp. The friction between the two became too great to continue working together, which resulted in the parting of ways.

Meanwhile, a few days back Alex and Ali attempted to climb up to Camp 1 in order to clear the route from the heavy snow that had fallen. Alex feel through the snow and found himself almost completely buried and was having a difficult time even breathing. Fortunately, his friend was able to dig him out, and both men descended back to BC as a result.

A few days later, they were joined be Simone and Tamara when they made a successful push back up to Camp 1. The team carried some supplies to that point, and were able to fully reopen the route. Alex and Ali took the opportunity to scout the situation above that point and saw that they weather had altered the route considerably .They will likely have to do some serious work to get it ready for another summit push.

That's it for now. Hopefully we'll see the weather improve soon, giving them a chance to move up. But at the moment, the waiting game continues.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Video: Traveling through Bhutan and Nepal

This video certainly speaks to the hearts and souls of travelers. It takes us on a colorful journey through Bhutan and Nepal, two places where the people that live there are in touch with their spiritual side. Throughout the clip you'll see some impressive scenes of the people and places that make both of these countries so special and unique. From the snowcapped Himalaya to the lowland jungles, with just about everything in-between, you'll get a great sense of these truly amazing destinations.

And when you're ready to go to those places for yourself, Mountain Travel Sobek can make that dream a reality.

for that moment in Bhutan and Nepal. from Marko Roth on Vimeo.

Video: More Footage of the GoPro Karma in Action

We still don't know a whole lot about the GoPro Karma, the company's first entry into the drone market. We know it's coming sometime in 2016, and while those working on the drone are being somewhat coy, they have hinted that it'll operate unlike the traditional drones that we're use to so far. We'll just have to wait for GoPro to reveal more information in time, but for now we have another test flight video that was released yesterday. It purportedly shows footage shot using the UAV as it captures snowboarder Bobby Brown and some friends on the slopes. As with the first preview video, the images look clear, clean, and very stable. I can't wait to find out more.

Video: Yosemite in HD

I thought that this video was particularly fitting since the National Park Service just announced a record number of visitors to the parks last year. This four-minute clip takes us to Yosemite, one of the most spectacular landscapes that you could ever hope to see. Here, the stunning vistas of the park are on perfect display, with some breathtaking timelapse imagery that gives us a look at how light and shadow play across the valley. Truly a place that everyone should see at least once in their lives.

Yosemite HD from Project Yosemite on Vimeo.

Alex Honnold and Colin Haley Set New Speed Record on the Torre Traverse in Patagonia

It has been a good couple of weeks in Patagonia for Colin Haley. Not only did he set a speed record on Fitz Roy, completing a round-trip ascent of that mountain with Andy Wyatt in just 21 hours and 8 minutes, he also put up the first solo ascent of Torre Egger as well. That would be enough accomplishments for anyone's career climbing resume,  let alone just one month. But he wasn't finished just yet, as Haley was later joined by his friend Alex Honnold to set yet another speed record, this time finishing the Torre Traverse in an incredible 20 hours and 40 minutes.

What's the Torre Traverse you ask? Only one of the toughest challenges in all of climbing. In this case, it involved a north-to-south traverse of Patagonia’s Cerro Standhardt, Punta Herron, Torre Egger, and Cerro Torre in a single push. Those peaks are pretty much a collection of the toughest and most well known rock climbing walls in the region, with each being a considerable challenge on its own. Linking them up adds a new dimension to that challenge. So much so that it has only been done once before. That was back in 2008 when Haley made the same climb with Rolando Garibotti, spending three days on the attempt.

The Traverse has been a project in the works in Patagonia for decades, with some of the top climbers first envisioning it way back in the 1980's. At that point, one of the peaks – Punta Herron – hadn't even been climbed as of yet. Over the years there were a number of attempts to put all the routes together that were necessary to make the traverse, but it took until 2008 for it to all come together. It hadn't been repeated since, until Monday, when Haley and Honnold did it, and in a very impressive time.

According to National Geographic, the two climbers went camp-to-camp in 32 hours, with heir record time representing their actual time climbing. Considering the challenges that the Traverse presents, and the skill sets and climbing knowledge that Alex and Colin bring to the table, it seems likely that this record will stand for awhile.

Find out more details of the climb in Nat Geo's article here.

Antarctica 2015: Emma Kelty at the Pole

It wasn't easy, and it took longer than expected, but South Pole skier Emma Kelty has finally reached her goal. The British adventurer skied the last 12.5 nautical miles (23 km/14.3 miles) yesterday, capping a 700+ mile (1126 km) journey that began back in November. Over that period of time she has traveled with a teammate who came and went, and two different guides, but her focus, determination, and persistence eventually paid off. Congratulations to Emma on a job well done. She'll now hop a flight back to Union Glacier before proceed to Punta Arenas, and then home.

I'd been saying for a couple of weeks now that her arrival at the Pole would pretty much drop the curtain on the current Antarctic season but as we learned a few days ago, there is yet one more expedition to come. Australian Charles Werb will set out from Brisbane tomorrow on his way to Cape Town, where he'll have a brief stop over before leaving for Novo Station. His plan is to drive part of the way to the South Pole, and then use a specially designed sled with a sail to propel him the final leg of the trip. It should only take him about 7-14 days to make the journey, and if everything goes as expected, he'll get underway on Sunday of this week.

It has certainly been a very long, and at times eventful, season in the Antarctic. Of course, it will mostly be remembered for the tragic death of Henry Worsley, who succumbed to illness that he picked up on his long journey. He will not soon be forgotten.

I'll be keeping an eye on Charles' progress over the next few weeks as well. While not quite as long and grueling as some of the others we've followed this year, it should be interesting nonetheless.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Video: Hiking to Everest Base Camp

If you're looking for one of the best hikes in the world, then consider the trek to Everest Base Camp in Nepal. Along the way, you'll hike past some of the tallest and most iconic mountains in the world, passing through wonderful Nepali villages, and meeting some of the country's amazing people too. It is truly a trip of a lifetime, and as you'll see in the video below, one that is even more stunning than you could ever imagine. This travel clip takes us along with a couple as they make the journey up the Khumbu Valley to reach EBC, an adventure that puts them in the shadow of the highest peak in the world. After watching this, you'll understand why so many people take this route each and every year.

Everest Base Camp - Journey of a Lifetime from Jerome Furog on Vimeo.

Video: Trail Angel - Finding Inner Peace on the Appalachian Trail

For many of us, the outdoors provide solitude and tranquility that we don't always get in our daily lives. They are an escape that reconnects us with nature and the world around us. In this video – brought to us by REI – we meet Paul Stiffler, better known as Ponytail Paul, who discovers his own personal peace on the Appalachian Trail, where he has taken on the role of "Trail Angel" helping many thru-hikers to accomplish their goal of walking the AT end-to-end. The short film shares Paul's story, and gives us a glimpse of the joy he gets from helping others.

Trail Angel from REI on Vimeo.

Himalaya Spring 2016: Alan Arnette Posts Pre-Season Preview

Even though the calendar says that it is only February, the 2016 spring climbing season in the Himalaya really isn't all that far off. In less than two months, climbers from all over the world will be finalizing their travel plans, packing their gear, and saying goodbye to loved ones as they head off to Nepal and Tibet to begin what is sure to be another very interesting year in the tallest mountains on the planet.

By most accounts, it is shaping up to be a quieter year on Everest, where tragedies the past two seasons have put an abrupt end to climbing operations. Several of the leading outfitters that operate on the mountain say that the number of clients they'll be guiding this year are down, as many are taking a wait and see attitude. That said however, I'm sure Everest will still be a very lively place to be this spring, with lots of great stories to follow.

In preparation for the start of the season, Alan Arnette has already kicked off his now legendary coverage of the proceedings on the mountain. Yesterday, Alan posted his preview of the 2016 spring season ahead, which fittingly enough begins with a recap of some of the major stories from the past few years – including a much publicized brawl between Sherpas and prominent climbers, the deaths of 19 Sherpas as a result of the collapse of a serac in 2014, and the devastating aftermath of the deadly earthquake that struck last year.

Each of those events has left its mark on the climbing community on Everest in the past few years, causing some to sour on attempting to summit the tallest mountain on the planet. But many of us believe that these are just temporary setbacks that will be overcome as we move forward.

In his article, Alan takes a look ahead at the 2016 season, which he too expects to have low numbers for several reasons. The lingering impact of the earthquake – at least in terms of public perceptions – is a major one of course, but also because Nepal is in the middle of a significant fuel crisis, with a shortage of gas making its way into the country thanks to a blockade from India. On top of that, expedition companies are being forced to raise their prices too, which of course has an impact on how many people sign up for an expedition as well.

If you're someone who keeps up with the Everest scene each year, you'll definitely want to give this a look. It provides some great insights into what is happening in Nepal presently, and how the currently political culture there is shaping the climbing season ahead. As always, it shouldn't have any shortage of intrigue and surprises.

Join Tusker Trail's Climb For Valor - Summit Kilimanjaro This Spring


One of the most compelling experiences for any adventure traveler is a climb to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa. Standing 19,341 feet (5895 meters), Kili is the tallest mountain on that continent, and while it is a non-technical climb, the trek is a significant challenge nonetheless. Still, it is within the reach of just about anyone who is in reasonably good physical condition, and has the determination to get to the top.

Last February I was fortunate enough to make that journey myself, traveling with the amazing guides, porters, and support staff of Tusker Trail, which is – for my money – the best outfitter operating on the mountain. Every aspect of a Tusker climb is top notch, including the incredibly knowledgeable guides, excellent cooks that have been trained by the Culinary Institute of America, and the tents and other gear that are used along the way. In fact, I've never seen a company take such good care of its clients, conducting twice-daily medical checks to ensure they are healthy, strong, and capable of continuing the climb.

To say that I came aways impressed with Tusker's operation would be a vast understatement, and it was clear that they put a lot of effort into making each trek special for the travelers. But, I wasn't on just any Tusker trek. I went to Kilimanjaro to take part in the inaugural Climb for Valor, a special fundraising expedition that was conducted in support of Duskin and Stephens Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting the families of fallen U.S. Special Operations Soldiers. On last year's Valor Climb, Tusker raised more than $50,000 for the organization, with all the proceeds from the trek going to that great cause.

The first Climb For Valor was such a success that the Tusker team is doing it again, and this time you can come along. Not only will you get the chance to climb Kilimanjaro with the best outfitter there, you'll be doing so for a good cause as well.

The 2016 edition of the climb will take place April 24 - May 4, and will cost participants $4990. Additionally, the goal is to raise another $50,000 for the Duskin and Stephens Foundation, so participants in this very special climb are also requested to help raise funds to meet that goal.

When you join this trek, you'll also be joining two U.S. soldiers who were wounded in the line of duty. Those two men will be a part of the team, and you'll get to hear their stories first hand throughout the journey. I can tell you from firsthand knowledge that it is a very moving and inspirational part of the experience.

The Climb For Valor already has a number of participants joining the team, but there are still several slots available for those who are interested in climbing the tallest mountain in Africa, and helping families of fallen soldiers along the way. For more information, visit the Tusker Trail website.

Winter Climbs 2016: Playing the Waiting Game on Nanga Parbat

The winter season has arrived in full force on Nanga Parbat, where a handful of teams are still hoping to complete the first winter ascent of that mountain. Unfortunately, their chances don't look good over the next few days, as a massive storm has arrived in the region bringing high winds, extremely cold temperatures, and plenty of snow with it. So for now, the climbers are all stuck in Base Camp, waiting for a weather window open. That isn't expected to happen for another few days at the earliest, but after that another summit push could potentially begin.

Perhaps the biggest news from the mountain is that the Polish Justice For All team has left the Rupal Face and are heading for home. The squad was the first to arrive on Nanga this winter, and had been making steady progress, even reaching as high as 7500 meters (24,606 ft). But upon descending, they team realized that they were running low on essential supplies, and that their time was getting short. With bad weather in the forecast, they knew they wouldn't get another chance, so they elected to leave BC last week.

The Rupal Face hasn't been completely abandoned however, as just as the Poles were departing, another climber arrived. Brazil-born, U.S. citizen Cleo Weidlich reached Base Camp late last week, bringing three Nepali Sherpas along with her. She's hoping to become the first to stand on the summit of Nanga Parbat in winter, but will be doing so in a light and fast fashion. Reportedly, she acclimatized in Nepal before heading to Pakistan, but her late arrival puts the potential for success in question.

Over on the Kinshofer Route, two strong teams have now officially joined forces. A five-person group consisting of Alex Txikon, Daniele Nardi, Ali Sadpara, Simone Moro, and Tamara Lunger are cooperating with one another in an attempt to reach the top. For now though, they are all huddled together in BC, waiting for the weather to clear. Alex, Daniele, and Ali are acclimated and ready to go, although Simone and Tamara may need a bit more time at altitude before they are ready.

For now, each of the teams is sitting, waiting, and watching the weather. The forecasts calls for conditions to remain mostly unchanged until the weekend, but after that things are a bit murky. As you can imagine, conditions have to be right to climb Nanga Parbat during the summer, let alone the harsh winter season. And as of right now, it looks like the first winter ascent is as far off as it has ever been.