Monday, February 09, 2015

Winter Climbs 2015: Teams Back in BC, Simone Moro Set to Begin

All of the teams on Nanga Parbat are back in Base Camp today after spending time on the upper flanks of the mountain at the end of last week. The weather remains dicey at the moment, and the climbers are all taking advantage of the poor forecast to rest and recuperate before heading back up once again.

Alex Txikon and company returned to BC on Friday, and have been there all weekend. Before heading back down to rest, the team managed to go as high as Camp 2, where they shuttled gear and supplies, while also fixing ropes up the Diamir Face. Alex reports that as they went higher, the snow began to disappear and was replaced with blue ice instead. That, combined with more difficult terrain and the combined fatigue of climbing for several days, slowed progress. After dropping supplies in C2, they elected to descend to rest and let their bodies acclimatize further.

Alex is joined on his expedition by two local climbers – Muhammad Ali "Sadpara" and Muhammad Kahn. Their group has also joined forces with an Iranian squad consisting of Reza Bahadorani, Iraj Maani and Mahmood Hashemi. The combined team now expects to spend much of this week in Base Camp as they wait for a long enough weather window to climb up to Camp 3 or possibly go for the summit. Currently the forecast doesn't indicate that that will happen anytime soon, so they will try to wait patiently.

Meanwhile, ExWeb is reporting  that Italian climber Daniele Nardi has also retreated to Base Camp after attempting to climb up along the Mummery Rib. He had hoped to make a summit bid this weekend, but his home team reports that he has descended even though Daniele has not posted an update to his website just yet. Reportedly just 15 minutes after he set out from Camp 3 an avalanche struck the campsite, destroying his tent in the process. With no tent to provide shelter on his way up and down, Nardi wisely elected to head back down. Where his expedition stands at the moment remains to be seen.

In other news, Italian Simone Moro is preparing to leave for the Himalaya this week to launch his late winter climbing expedition. This news comes via Stefan Nestler's regular mountaineering and adventure sports news column. At this point, we still don't know what Simone has planned for the weeks ahead, and he says he prefers to keep it quiet for a few more days, at which time he'll finally reveal his project.

The very accomplished mountaineer also told Nestler that he had expected the Russian team of Nickolay Totmjanin, Valery Shamalo, Serguey Kondrashkin and Victor Koval to complete the first winter ascent of Nanga Parbat. Now that they have left the mountain for home, Moro says that he wouldn't rule out making another attempt at putting up that first ascent himself next winter, provided none of the remaining climbers are able to do it this year. Simone has attempted Nanga in the winter on two previous occasions, getting turned back each time. It is possible we could see him back there next winter.

That's all for now. We'll wait to see what Simone has planned in a few days time, and I'll continue to keep an eye on the teams on Nanga Parbat as well. For now though, it looks like they won't be going anywhere for at least a few days.

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