Thursday, January 29, 2015

Winter Climbs 2015: Summit Push Begins on Nanga Parbat

The last time we checked in on the teams on Nanga Parbat they were hunkered down in Base Camp waiting out poor weather. Reportedly high winds, heavy snow, and extremely cold temperatures had fallen on mountain, and there was nothing they could do but wait for a weather window. Apparently conditions have started to change, as the Russian squad on the Rupal Face has now launched a summit bid.

According to Russian climb the team of Nickolay Totmjanin, Valery Shamalo, Serguey Kondrashkin and Victor Koval sent an SMS message sent earlier in the day indicating that they have started to go back up the mountain. The message was short, and to the point, simply saying "We begin to climb up." That text message follows one sent yesterday that indicated that the team had re-opened the route  the route from 3600 meters (11,811 ft) to 4600 meters (15,091 ft). That section of the climb was no doubt choked with snow from the recent storms.

Previously we knew that the Russians had established a series of camps up to 7100 meters (23,293 ft). That would put them within striking distance of the 8126 meter (26,660 ft) summit, although there is still a great deal of altitude to be gained in that push. If they hope to put up the first winter ascent of Nanga, it will still require a herculean effort on their part, no to mention a prolonged break in the weather.

You may recall that earlier in the season Polish climber Tomek Mankiewicz and his climbing partner Elisabeth Revol from France, were able to reach 7800 meters (25,590 ft) but were turned back du to high winds. We'll just have to wait to see if the Russians have more success.

Meanwhile, reports indicate that Spanish climber Alex Txikon has reached Base Camp on the Diamir side of the mountain. He arrived there a few days back, and like everyone else he is waiting for the weather to clear. He has established his campsite and is preparing to head up the mountain – along with climbing partners Muhammad Ali Sadpara and Muhammad Kahn. No word yet on when they'll begin their acclimatization rotations, but I'd expect that to start happening soon.

Finally, there has been no recent updates from Italian climber Daniele Nardi, who is probably in BC at the moment as well. He has completed his acclimatization rotations and should soon be ready for a summit bid of his own. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and he can launch his bold solo attempt.

That's all for now. I'll post more news as warranted.

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