Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Winter Climbs 2016: Nanga Parbat Climbers Reach Camp 2

It has been a really long and difficult couple of weeks on Nanga Parbat. The teams who are hoping to complete the first winter ascent of that mountain have mostly found themselves confined to Base Camp while waiting out the weather. While things haven't improved completely, conditions have gotten a bit better, with reports indicating that at least one team is on the move again, and taking advantage of the conditions that the mountain is affording them.

The international team of Alex Txikon, Ali Sadpara, Simone Moro, and Tamara Lunger have reportedly managed to climb back up to Camp 2 at 6100 meters (20,013 ft) in an effort to resume their acclimatization efforts. The group had turned back on a couple of previous attempts to climb above Camp 1 due to high winds, but were able to push through yesterday. If the current weather window holds, they hope to move up to C3 tomorrow.

After sitting in BC for a couple of weeks, the current rotation not only helps with their acclimatization, but is also giving the team a chance to review the conditions on the route, which have been covered in snow and ice in recent days. If the four climbers do get a chance to make an eventual summit bid, they now have a better understand of what they'll face on the way up.

Meanwhile, there is news from elsewhere on the mountain. Earlier in the week I posted that Polish climber Tomek Mackiewicz was on his way back to Base Camp to continue his attempt to climb Nanga Parbat. You may recall that Tomek made a summit push with teammate Elisabeth Revol back in January, but after their bid came up short, the two left the mountain. While Revol returned to France as expected, Tomek hung around in Pakistan and was looking for an opportunity to give the mountain another go. It looks like that won't happen now however, with the Pole turning back once again.

According to ExWeb, Tomek was trekking back to BC and may have reached the huts in Kutgali, which are just a two-hour walk from Base Camp. But, it seems that he won't go any further, and has more than likely turned back and will now head home for good. This makes perfect sense considering his climbing permit is set to expire early next week.

Finally, there continues to be no updates from Cleo Weidlich, but ExWeb is also reporting that unofficial sources say that two members of her team have left the mountain as well. Weidlich reportedly acclimatized in Nepal before leaving for Pakistan, and was climbing with a team of five Sherpas. There is no indication of whether or not she has actually been able to move up the mountain, or the status of the team beyond this basic information.

That's it for now. I'll keep you posted as the season continues to unfold.

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