Monday, January 19, 2015

Winter Climbs 2014-2015: Alex Txikon Heads to Nanga Parbat Too!

As if there weren't already enough teams attempting Nanga Parbat this winter, you can throw another name into the hat for those who could potentially achieve the first winter ascent of that 8126 meter (26,660 ft) mountain. After being denied a permit to climb K2 from the Chinese side of the mountain a few weeks back, Spanish climber Alex Txikon will now travel to Pakistan to give Nanga Parbat a try as well.

According to reports, Alex set out for Pakistan yesterday, and provided he clears customs without any problems, and gets his logistics sorted out quickly, he should be on his way to Base Camp within a day or two. He will not be joined by his K2 teammates however, as both Denis Urubko and Adam Bielecki have moved on to other projects. Instead, he'll climb with two old friends who are local climbers. Txikon will be joined by Muhammad Ali, who has already climbed Nanga twice in the past, and has topped out on all but one of the 8000-meter peaks. He lacks only K2 to complete that line-up. The other climber is Muhammad Kahn, who has also climbed Nanga Parbat in the past, and has reached the top of Gasherbrum I and II, as well as K2. Their experience on the mountain should prove invaluable in the days ahead.

The team will attempt the Diamir Face, but which route they'll take to the top remains to be seen. Alex says he'll wait until he is in BC where he can scout the route before deciding which way he wants to go up. He expect to be in Base Camp by Friday, and has dedicated two months to this expedition.



Meanwhile, after not hearing anything out of climbing partners Tomek Mackiewicz and Elisabeth Revol for ten days, Daniele Nardi finally reports that they are safe and descending the mountain. The word of their whereabouts came via Elisabeth's husband Jean Christophe, who received a text message from her back home in France. The duo will return to BC for rest while they ponder their next move. The weather is reportedly quite good on the mountain at the moment, but they simply didn't have the energy or oxygen to push towards the summit. Tomek has now gone as high as 7200 meters (23,622 ft), and he and Elisabeth have established all of their camps up to C4. If the weather continues to cooperate, they may be ready to attempt a summit push in the near future.

After discovering his climbing mates were safe, and on their way back down, Daniele has decided to move back up the mountain too. He went up to Camp 2 over the weekend while he continues to acclimatize and prepare for his own summit bid in the days ahead.

There has been no update on the Russian team that is attempt to summit from the Rupal Face. The last reheard, that team was on its way up to continue fixing ropes and carrying equipment to their high camps. They will undoubtedly stay at altitude to acclimatize and get as much work done as they can while the weather remains favorable.

That's all for now. More updates from Nanga Parbat soon.

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