Thursday, January 22, 2015

Winter Climbs 2014-2015: ExWeb Has Details on Nanga Parbat Summit Push

Last week, climbed Tomek Mankiewicz and Elisabeth Revol caused a bit of a stir on Nanga Parbat when they went up the mountain and were out of contact for ten days. There was concern for their safety, since they were only carrying a satellite phone and hadn't bothered to call in to update anyone on their progress. Now, we know that both of them returned safely to Base Camp, although Tomek suffered a fall on the descent that has ended his expedition early. The duo have also shared information about their time up high on the mountain, including some details about their aborted summit attempt that were shared at ExWeb.

Tomek and Elisabeth were able to climb up to 7000 meters (22,965 ft) with little difficulty. It was there that they established Camp 4, and prepared to make a final push towards the top. At the time, they were feeling very strong, and the weather conditions were good. So, they set off with a high degree of optimism thinking that they could be the first team to climb Nanga Parbet in winter. Unfortunately, they underestimated the distance to the summit, and were forced to turn back to C4 to rest, eat, and rehydrate.

Still feeling strong, they elected to have another go at the summit on the following day. They left their tent at 3:00 AM local time and started heading up. By 11:00 AM they had reached 7800 meters (25,590 ft), but the weather conditions had taken a turn for the worse. By that point, high winds were buffeting the summit, making it impossible to go any higher. With the weather deteriorating rapidly, they decided to turn back and head down to Base Camp. It was then that the accent occurred.

As mentioned previously, the climbers had to cross a snow bridge on their descent. Elisabeth, being the lighter of the two, managed to cross without problems, but Tomek's heavier weight caused the bridge to collapse, sending him 40 meters (131 ft) down into a crevasse. His partner was able to help pull him out, but he suffered broken ribs and hurt his leg in the fall, bringing an end to his expedition. The duo were able to slowly ascend back to BC, but it was a painful experience for the Polish climber, who now reports that he also has six frozen toes that he hopes won't need to be amputated.

As of yesterday, Tomek was on his way from Base Camp to the town of Gilgit where he can receive medical attention. According to Daniele Nardi, he is in a lot of pain, but in good spirits. Daniele also reports that Elisabeth has already left BC without saying goodbye, but it is unclear whether or not he means that she is going back up the mountain for another summit attempt, or if she is heading for home. We'll have to watch for further updates to on her status.

Daniele is back in Base Camp at the moment and is resting for his next push up the mountain. With his acclimatization efforts wrapped up, he is now ready for a summit push of his own. He is simply waiting for a good weather window before moving up.

Elsewhere, the Russian squad on the Rupal Face has made progress. The team is currently back in BC resting after establishing their high camp at 7150 meters (23,458 ft). They report that all is well, and they are preparing for a summit push of their own as soon as the weather permits.

Finally, the last two teams for Nanga Parbat should be arriving in BC on the Diamir Face sometime in the next few days. Alex Txikon and his local climbing mates Muhammad Ali Sadpara and Muhammad Kahn are expected there tomorrow or Saturday, while the Iranian team of Reza Bahadorani, Iraj Maani and Mahmood Hashemi should finally get to Islamabad today, and hit the trail for Base Camp. These two teams are apparently sharing a permit and logistical duties while on the mountain.

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