Thursday, December 19, 2013

Winter Climbs 2014: Ralf Dujmovits To Attempt Nanga Parbat Solo

A week ago I wrote a piece sharing early details on two teams preparing to attempt Nanga Parbat in winter. In that story, I mentioned that German climber Ralf Dujmovits might possibly be headed to the 8126 meters (26,660 ft) mountain as well. That as now been confirmed, although Ralf will be undertaking the expedition in a highly difficult and unusual fashion. It seems he will have a go at the first winter summit on Nanga completely on his own.

In an interview posted yesterday on Stefan Nestler's blog, Dujmovits discussed his little project. The 52-year old climber, who is the first German to climb all 8000 meter peaks, knows Nanga Parbet well, which he believes will help him in this solo summit. Ralf notes that he, and wife Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, believe that NP is the most beautiful of the eight-thousanders, which has inspired him to return to attempt this daring climb.

According to the article, the German climber has just wrapped up an acclimatization climb on Aconcagua, the tallest peak in South America at 6962 meters (22,841 ft). After spending two nights on the summit, Ralf ended that expedition, he flew home briefly to see Gerlinde before leaving for Pakistan yesterday. He's now en route to Islamabad, where he'll finish up his prep work before heading to the mountain. With the official start of winter now just a few days off, he'll be eager to get things started for sure.

There is no doubt that Ralf is amongst the best climbers in the world with an incredible amount of experience on his resume. But, as he admits in the article, he is not known as a winter climbing specialist. He has had 32 expeditions to 8000 meter peaks, which will prove useful on this climb too. But the cold months on Nanga Parbet are unlike any other time of the year, which is exactly why it has yet to be climbed in the colder months of the year. Of all of the eight-thousanders, only K2 holds that distinction.

In the months ahead, it will be interesting to follow Ralf's progress and see how he fares. This will be one of the most demanding winter climbs that we've seen in some time, and it would be an outstanding achievement if he can pull this off.

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