Thursday, December 18, 2014

Winter Climbs 2014-2015: K2 Permit Issues Resolved, Three Teams Head to Nanga Parbat

With the winter climbing season now just a few days away from officially beginning, things are really starting to get interesting. It now appears that we will have a team on K2 after all, and no less than three squads are headed to Nanga Parbat. Meanwhile, in Alaska, the weather is still dictating the start of the action.

We'll start with an update on K2 today since things have started to improve there. Yesterday I posted the news that Denis Urubko, Adam Bilecki, and Alex Txikon had been denied their climbing permit by the Chinese, just as they were preparing to depart for the start of the climb. Reading Denis' Facebook page, it was clear that he was dismayed over the news, and looking for ways to continue with an expedition that has been planned for months. Fortunately today there is good news for the trio, as the Chinese officials have reissued the permit, although it does involve a two week delay in the start of the climb. This will allow the climbers to remain home for the holidays, and will only minimally alter their schedule. There is no word yet on when they will now depart for China. 

Meanwhile, there are three teams that will now be headed for Nanga Parbat, including a Russian squad that includes Nickolay Totmjanin, Valery Shamalo, Serguey Kondrashkin and Victor Koval which will depart for Pakistan on December 22, and an Iranian team consisting of Reza Bahadorani, Iraj Maani and Mahmoud Hashemi, who will start their climb in early January. 

Polish climber Tomak Mackiewicz is already in Pakistan, where he as been acclimatizing in the Rupal Valley. Mankiewicz has already knocked off a couple of 5000 meter (16,400 ft) peaks, and will be heading to Base Camp in time for Christmas. He'll be joined in BC by Elisabeth Revol and Daniele Nardi, who will bring a film crew along with them. While the trio will share space, Tomak hopes to climb solo to the summit of Nanga. 

There has been no news yet out of Lonnie Dupre, who is in Talkeetna, Alaska awaiting the start of his January expedition to Denali. Poor weather has delayed his flight out to the mountain, although he remains unconcerned at this point, as he doesn't intend to start the climb until January 1 anyway. For now, he sits and waits for things to improve so he begin his fourth attempt at the highest mountain in North America during the coldest, harshest, darkest season of all. 

Finally, lets not forget about Simone Moro. The Italian is also cooking something up for the winter, but he has yet to reveal his plans. We will probably learn more about what he has in store after the holidays as well. Knowing Simone, it should be something very interesting. 

The pieces are now falling into place for the start of the winter season. Things should really start to pick up beginning next week.  

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