Thursday, January 24, 2013

Winter Climbs 2013: Resting On Denali And Broad Peak

We have a few brief updates today from the ongoing winter climbs that are taking place in Alaska and Pakistan. After what seems like a slow start, the climbers are finding their strides at last and we'll soon know if they have a legitimate chance of topping out on their respective mountains this year.

On Denali, Lonnie Dupre took the opportunity to rest today as he acclimatizes to the higher altitudes. He's built himself a secure camp at 14, 200 feet (4328 meters) and has remained safe and sound inside his snow cave. Clear skies have allowed him to charge his electronic devices as well, as he gets ready for the next stage of the climb. Weather permitting, he'll start to move up to 16,000 feet (4876 meters) as early as tomorrow, as he watches the forecasts and the clock to see if he can complete the expedition before the end of the month.

The Italian-French team that is planning an ascent of Nanga Parbat continues their acclimatization on Ganalo. They're hoping to take one more rotation on that mountain, and possibly for the summit, before heading over to their ultimate prize. They report dicey weather in the region at the moment, although they have stashed gear higher up the peak and they have planned another push beginning today, when conditions were expected to improve.

There has been no updates on the progress of the Hungarian-American squad on NP. Last we heard they had retreated back to Base Camp after lousy weather turned them around on an acclimatization rotation. They are also still waiting for their generator to arrive, which will hopefully improve communication and make for a more comfortable time in BC.

Also on Nanga Parbat is Joel Wischnewski, who it appears will be attempting to snowboard down the mountain at some point. He is currently in Base Camp and categorizing the animals that he sees and hears there, including birds, ibex, wolves and crazy mountaineers. He hopes to head back up the mountain after he recovers from a bout of sickness.

Over on Broad Peak, the Polish Team arrived in Base Camp yesterday and are now getting themselves comfortable. The expect to start climbing in another day or two and are aiming to have Camp 1 established at 5600 meters (18,372 ft) by Sunday. After a long journey just to get to BC, they seem eager to get started with the actual climb itself.

Finally, not a winter climb per se, but definitely a cold one. Leo Houlding and his team have successfully topped out on Ulvetanna in Antarctica, completing a new line on that difficult rock face. The 1300 meter (4265 ft) mountain may not sound like much in terms of altitude, but considering how bad the weather can be and how cold the temperatures are, it was definitely a challenge. The team spent ten days working the wall, which is a technical climb for sure.

Congrats to the entire team on a job well done!

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