Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Winter Climbs 2016: Summit Push Underway on Nanga Parbat

The weather conditions on Nanga Parbat seem surprisingly good for this time of year. That has given hope to the four remaining teams hoping to complete the first winter ascent of that mountain. While nothing is ever a sure thing when it comes to high altitude mountaineering, there is a weather window that is currently open and is expected to last into the weekend, and with two teams currently high on the Nanga's slopes, we could be about to see history made.

The team that we know the most about includes Tomek Mackiewicz and Elisabeth Revol. They set out a few days back, and while they aren't exactly sharing tons of information, we do know that they reached Camp 2 at 6500 meters (21,325 ft) on Monday, and are now pushing further up the hill. They should have at least reached Camp 3 by now, which could put them within striking distance of the summit over the next few days.

Meanwhile, Italian climbers Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger also set off on an alpine style ascent a few days back, but true to form they're staying mostly off the radar. There have been no updates on their progress since late last week, so they could also be ready to complete a summit push. We'll just have to wait for their next update to know for sure.

It should be noted that while the weather conditions on Nanga Parbat are listed as good, that is a relative term at best. During the winter, "good" still means high winds and extreme cold, which are simply par for the course during this season. At the moment, temperatures at the summit are said to be about -40ÂșC/F, so even if the current weather window holds, it won't be an easy ascent.

Elsewhere, the Polish Justice For All team has now reached 6650 meters (21,817 ft) and have established Camp 3. They're watching the winds very closely as well, and report that at least on their side of the mountain (Rupal Face) things are calm at the moment. They could potentially be getting ready to launch a summit bid of their own, although they haven't fixed ropes above their current position yet.

Finally, there has been no updates on the progress of Alex Txikon, Ali Sadapara, and Daniele Nardi over the past couple of days. We know that Txikon and Sadapara were planning to descend to Base Camp to rest after fixing ropes up to 6500 meters, and that Nardi was recovering from some minor injuries. It is likely that they are all still in place, and waiting to start their next rotation up the mountain as well.

I'll be keeping a close eye on the proceedings over the next couple of days. Lets keep our fingers crossed that one of these squads gets a chance at the summit, and that they all get back down safely.

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