Thursday, January 02, 2014

Winter Climbs 2014: News From Nanga Pabat

The winter climbing season is now in full swing with most of the attention this year being focused on Nanga Parbat. As previously noted, there will be three teams attempting to make the first winter ascent of that 8126 meters (26,660 ft) peak, with all of them now on the mountain and taking a long look at the challenges that await them.

The Polish Justice For All Team, which has been in Pakistan the longest, is reporting that they have gone as high as 5500 meters (18,044 ft), where they have stored gear in anticipation of eventually shuttling it up to Camp 1. But poor weather, including high winds and heavy snows, have kept them in Base Camp for now. The forecast indicates that things should be improving over the next few days, which will allow them to push ahead with their acclimatization and scout their intended route up the mountain.

The North Face Team consisting of Simone Moro, David Gottler and Emilio Previtali are also in BC where they are awaiting improved weather as well. They arrived after Christmas but have quickly set up camp but have been stymied by hurricane force winds thus far. With the weather set to take a turn for the better, they'll hopefully be able to start their acclimatization as well.


Ralf Dujmovits hopes to make one of the most epic climbs in mountaineering history by going solo on Nanga above 5500 meters. After acclimatizing on Aconcagua in mid-December, he barely stopped home in Germany before heading to Pakistan. He is now on the mountain and reports that conditions are not great all around. His intended route passes below two precarious ice columns, which appear as if they could collapse at any time. Worse yet, conditions there are making for slow going, and his route would leave him in the shadow of those columns for a good day and a half of climbing, a risk he's not sure he wants to take at this point. The heavy snows have covered the intended route as well, which is making it difficult to spot. All of these challenges are in play, before he has even begun the ascent of Nanga, which is considered one of the most dangerous and difficult mountains in the world.

ExWeb is also reporting that Daniele Nardi will be heading to Nanga at the end of January and will be attempting a winter ascent as well. That is a bit of a late start to a winter climb, but should still provide plenty of time if conditions are right.

Finally, on a different note, Lonnie Dupre had been planning on having another go at a solo-summit of Denali in Winter, but has delayed that attempt until December of 2014. After three consecutive years on the mountain, he'll now take this January off and look ahead to next. As someone who has followed each of those previous expeditions, I'll miss following Lonnie's adventure this year.

More updates soon, as there will likely be more winter expeditions added shortly.

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