Monday, November 23, 2015

Winter 2016 Climbs: Nanga Parbat Will Be Busy, K2 Will Be Empty

Last week I shared the news that Spanish climber Alex Txikon would lead an expedition to Nanga Parbat this winter in an effort to complete the first ascent of that mountain during the coldest, most difficult season of all. Turns out that group won't be alone, as ExWeb now reports that as many as five teams could be on the mountain, all trying to achieve the same objective.

In addition to Txikon's mix of climbers form all over the world, there will be a Polish-Pakistani team attempting the Rupal Face all on the Schell Route. That squad is already in Pakistan and according to ExWeb is preparing to acclimatize now ahead of the actual official start of winter on December 21.

Meanwhile, the team of Elisabeth Revol and Tomek Mackiewicz will be back on the mountain this year, along with Arslan Ahmed. They will be attempting an alpine style ascent along the Diamir side of the mountain. Reveal and Mackiewicz spent considerable amount of time scouting the route last year, and are hoping to return to complete unfinished business.

ExWeb doesn't have many details yet, but they are also reporting that Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger will be on Nanga Parbat this winter as well. Their route, schedule, and plans have yet to be revealed however. Hopefully we'll get more word on their intentions soon.

And finally, Adam Bielecki and Jacek Czech will acclimatize on Ojos before heading over to Nanga for the season. They'll be the fifth confirmed squad on the hill this winter, although ExWeb doesn't have any information on their intended route yet either.

At 8126 meters (26,660 ft) in height, Nanga Parbat is just one of two 8000-meter peaks that have yet to be climbed in winter. And while there will be quite a few teams attempting to put up the first winter ascent of that mountain, at this time it appears that there are no plans for anyone to attempt the other unclimbed eight-thousander this winter. That peak is K2 of course, which is perhaps the most dangerous and deadly of all of the big mountains. It's summit remains elusive in the best of weather conditions, and in the winter it is nearly unclimbable. I'm sure some day someone will reach the top, but it doesn't look like the winter of 2016 will be that time.

Of course, we'll be following these expeditions closely as the winter season approaches. This just might be the year that someone finally summits Nanga in winter.

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