Monday, March 09, 2015

Winter Climbs 2015: A New Summit Push is Underway on Nanga Parbat

With the winter climbing season quickly coming to an end, the international team of climbers who have joined forces on Nagna Parbat have launched another summit bid. The four-man team launched what will likely be their final attempt to complete the first winter ascent of the mountain yesterday as the weather forecast calls for improvising conditions in the days ahead.

The team of Spanish climber Alex Txikon, Italian Daniele Nardi, and Pakistanis Muhammad Ali Sadpara and Muhammad Kahn set out from Base Camp yesterday afternoon on skis and snowshoes. A storm had dropped a foot of fresh snow the night before, which made the trail a difficult one. It took the squad approximately 10 hours of nonstop climbing to reach Camp 1 at 5050 meters (16,568 ft), where the exhausted team quickly collapsed in their tents for a nights rest.

Today they hope to press on to Camp 2. This section of the climb is one of the more challenging ones, and with so much snow on the route it promises to test the team once again. But the forecast says that they should see sunshine and clam winds, so hopefully that will help contribute to their success.

If all goes according to schedule, the team hopes to be in position to make a real attempt at the summit by the end of the week. At this point they'll need not only the weather to cooperate, but conditions on the upper sections of the mountain to stabilize as well. With so much fresh snow on the mountain the chances of avalanche increase dramatically, and that could be the biggest obstacle that they'll need to overcome in order to have a real chance at reaching the top.

The official end of winter comes in a little more than a week and a half. If the team is turned back on this summit push it would be unlikely that they would have enough time to regain their strength and make yet another attempt. They've put all of their efforts into this bid, and it is probably the best chance they have had since the season began. Whether or not Nanga Parbat will allow them to top out remains to be seen, but we could be about to witness history in the making.

Stay tuned for updates throughout the week.

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