Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Winter Climbs 2014: Bad Weather Keeps Teams In BC On Nanga Parbat

It is a new week on Nanga Parbat, but the news largely remains the same. Bad weather is keeping the teams in Base Camp while they await the next weather window. In these anxious times, they find ways to stay busy, while keeping fit and well acclimatized to the altitude. It can be very frustrating, but this is what it is like to climb in the Himalaya in the winter, and these veteran mountaineers are accustomed to it.

On the Rupal Face, both the Polish team and the North Face squad have settled back into BC while they wait. The two teams attempted a summit push late last week, but the window was slammed shut when high winds and cold temperatures enveloped the summit. Those conditions have not dissipated yet, as temperatures on top of Nanaga are said to be in the -70ºC/-94ºF range. That is far too cold for anyone to attempt a summit push, hence the reason they are all waiting for the next opportunity. It is tough to say when that opportunity will come however, as the forecast says that it will get worse before it gets better.

While they are in Base Camp, the climbers have been finding ways to occupy their time. The TNF team has been editing photos and videos, and making back-up copies of their work, while also trekking nearby. They have also been reading, sending emails, and resting too. The Poles have brought a drone to Nanga this winter, and it has provided some diversion during the day. The batteries only last about 20 minutes however, and they are slow to recharge using the generator or solar cells. The little aircraft also crashed hard last week, requiring extensive repairs. Fortunately, a little tape and ingenuity had it back in the air in no time.

Jumping over to the Diamir Face, Daniele Nardi has wrapped up his acclimatizatiton process and is waiting for a summit attempt too. He shared some details of his recent summit of Ganalo Peak, which was a good warm-up for the main event – his solo, alpine style attempt on Nanga. Once he is fully rested from that climb, he'll watch the forecasts and prepare for his push as well.

With nasty weather arriving on the mountain over the next few days, it looks like it will be the weekend, at the earliest, before another summit push can get underway. Stay tuned for updates. I'll post them as they come in.

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