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with Stefan Nestler

A piece of high mountaineering history

Successful team: Alex, Tamara, Simone and Ali (from l. to r.)

Successful team: Alex, Tamara, Simone and Ali (from l. to r.)

Nanga Parbat will soon be able again to hibernate undisturbed. After the 8,125-meter-high mountain in Pakistan had increasingly become the object of desire of professional climbers from around the world in recent winters, calm should return to the eight-thousander in the cold season. Another of the “last great problems” of mountaineering is solved after the Italian Simone Moro, the Spaniard Alex Txikon and the Pakistani Muhammad Ali have made the first winter ascent of Nanga Parbat last Friday. Ali climbed through rocky terrain to the highest point, the other two through an icy couloir. The fourth team member, the South Tyrolean Tamara Lunger, turned around about 100 meters below the summit. She also chose a different path in the summit area than Simone and Alex. The 29-year-old was finally completely exhausted after she had vomited in the morning of the summit day.

Date

28. February 2016 | 22:14

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Breaking News: First winter ascent of Nanga Parbat

Summit of Nanga Parbat, seen today in the morning from Base Camp

Summit of Nanga Parbat, seen today in the morning from Base Camp

They did it! The Spaniard Alex Txikon, the Pakistani Ali Sadpara and the Italian Simone Moro have made history making the first winter ascent of Nanga Parbat. “3:37 p.m (in Pakistan). SUMMIT! We just got the confirmation by walkie: Alex Txikon, Ali Sadpara and Simone Moro have reached the top of Nanga Parbat for the first time in Winter. Tamara Lunger stopped some meters below. Will spend night in Camp 4 (7.200m) and tomorrow will be back in Base Camp”, Igune Mariezkurrena writes from Diamir Base Camp on Facebook. Congratulation to all climbers on this amazing performance – and a safe descent!

Ali, Alex, Simone and Tamara (from l. to. r.)

Ali, Alex, Simone and Tamara (from l. to. r.)

For Simone, it was already the fourth time that he first climbed an eighthousander in winter. Before doing it today on Nanga Parbat, he had succeeded on Shishapangma (in 2005), Makalu (in 2009) und Gasherbrum II (in 2011).
Now K 2 remains the only of the 14 eight-thousanders that has never been climbed in winter so far.

Update 16.45 MEZ: Alex, Ali, Simone and Tamara have safely arrived in Camp 4 at about 7,100 meters.

Update 27.2.: All climbers are safe and sound back in Base Camp. This completes the summit success on Nanga Parbat. “Tired but very happy! Ready to go to bed and recover a bit”, is said on Tamara’s Facebook account. Reportedly she had turned around at about 8,000 meters. Nevertheless, well done, Tamara! A part of the summit success is yours.

Date

26. February 2016 | 12:02

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Summit push on Friday

Camp V in the Bazhin basin

Camp 4 in the Bazhin basin

Showdown on Nanga Parbat! The international team on the Diamir side has reached Camp 4, around 7,100 meters high, in the Bazhin Basin. Tomorrow morning the Spaniard Alex Txikon, the Pakistani Ali Sadpara, the Italian Simone Moro and the South Tyrolean Tamara Lunger will set off for their summit push to complete the first winter ascent of the 8,125-meter-high mountain – although the wind will probably slow down only on Friday night. “Optimum wind conditions are expected  for 26th night and will remain throughout 27th, but waiting until then would suppose to spend one ‘extra’ night in Camp 4 at above 7,000 m”, Igone Mariezkurrena reports from Base Camp. “So, although tonight and even tomorrow morning wind will blow at 35km/h and from Northwest – therefore Nanga’s summit trapeze will not protect them –, the four members have debated and decided to set out for the summit at 5:30 to 6:00 (local time), avoiding exposure to extremely low temperatures.” Godspeed and good luck!

Date

25. February 2016 | 17:22

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On Friday towards the summit of Nanga Parbat?

Within reach? More than 1400 m difference in altitude are still missing

Within reach? More than 1400 m difference in altitude are still missing

The Nanga train is rolling again. After they had been stuck in Camp 2 at 6,100 meters for a day due to strong winds, the Spaniard Alex Txikon, the Pakistani Ali Sadpara, the Italian Simone Moro and the South Tyrolean Tamara Lunger today ascended on the Kinshofer route – the normal route on the Diamir side of Nanga Parbat – to Camp 3 at 6,700 meters. “The summit looks really close from here”, Simone radioed to Base Camp. On Thursday, the quartet wants to reach the last scheduled high camp at 7,200 meters. If everything matches, the four climbers plan to set off for their summit attempt on Friday.

Date

24. February 2016 | 13:30

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Next summit attempt on Nanga Parbat

Departure for summit attempt: Ali, Alex, Tamara and Simone (from l. to r.)

Departure for summit attempt: Ali, Alex, Tamara and Simone (from l. to r.)

The weather window on Nanga Parbat opens. “Looks like the window is here, the good one, the definitive one”, Igone Mariezkurrena writes from the Base Camp on the Diamir side of the 8,125-meter-high mountain in Pakistan. “The one that, if everything goes OK and bodies respond, can give Alex Txikon, Ali Sadpara, Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger the chance for pushing for this still unclimbed Nanga Parbat winter summit.” Early this morning the quartet set off from Base Camp and climbed on the Kinshofer route directly to Camp 2 at 6,100 meters.

Date

22. February 2016 | 17:06

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I’ve had it!

Nanga-Parbat-Dschungelc.enI am sick and tired of it. In recent days, I almost felt like I was reporting on a reality TV soap in a jungle camp instead of what happened in Base Camp on the Diamir side of Nanga Parbat. The dispute between the Spaniard Alex Txikon and the Italian Daniele Nardi is increasingly turning into a soap opera – at the latest, since it is about money. It is undeniable that the story has a certain entertainment value, as always when dirty laundry is washed in public. And as I do have still a few questions in this respect, I could probably add more episodes to this soap opera. But it isn’t my job to play constantly the gossip reporter. Txikon and Nardi are professional climbers and in mountain business for many years. They should actually be able to find a solution to their dispute themselves, without going through the media.

Date

12. February 2016 | 15:30

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Next episode of the soap opera on Nanga Parbat

Avalanche on Nanga Parbat

Avalanche on Nanga Parbat

It’s snowing and snowing and snowing on Nanga Parbat. An ascent to higher altitudes is out of the question. 25 centimeters of snow has fallen within one day, the Spaniard Alex Txikon writes on Facebook. The risk of avalanches is accordingly high. Therefore Alex, the Pakistani Muhammad Ali – called Ali “Sadpara” (he comes from this village) –, the Italian Simone Moro and the South Tyrolean Tamara Lunger are still forced to twiddle their thumbs in Base Camp. Even with an improvement in the weather, the international team would have to acclimatize again due to the long compulsory break before they can seriously think about a summit attempt – not to mention the necessary work to break the trail again. Nevertheless it doesn’t get boring on Nanga Parbat because the dispute between Txikon and Italian Daniele Nardi, who has meanwhile departed, is turning into a kind of “divorce battle”.

Date

11. February 2016 | 18:29

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Blockade in Nepal declared ended

Blockade_Gaskanister

Two reasons to celebrate in Nepal: Just in time for Losar, the Tibetan New Year, an end of the supply crisis in the Himalayan state is on the horizon. After more than four months, leaders of the Madhesi ethnic group declared their blockade of the border with India ended. The Madhesi, who live in southern Nepal, felt disadvantaged by the country’s new constitution. Meanwhile, it has been changed in some respects. The blockade had paralyzed Nepal. The reconstruction work after the earthquake in spring 2015 had come to a virtual standstill. Fuel and building materials as well as food and medicine had run short because the imports from India had been staying away. Since the weekend, tank trucks are rolling towards Kathmandu again.

Date

9. February 2016 | 14:33

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Lunger: “The prince has to fight for a long time”

Tamara Lunger

Tamara Lunger

The adjourned game on Nanga Parbat continues. 15 centimeters of fresh snow cover the Base Camp on the Diamir side. Alex Txikon, Ali Sadpara, Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger may be forced to postpone their acclimatization climb they actually planned for Sunday. A reconciliation between the Spaniard Txikon and the Italians Daniele Nardi seems unlikely. “YES, cooperation is finished”, Alex writes to me from Base Camp. “Although tried to give more than one chance to this cooperation, it was finally impossible.” The dispute also stresses Tamara Lunger. The 29-year-old South Tyrolean has already climbed two eight-thousanders: In 2010, as the youngest woman ever, Lhotse (with supplementary oxygen) and in 2014 K 2 (without breathing mask). On Nanga Parbat, she once again forms a team with the Italian Simone Moro. Last year, both had to abandon their attempt on Manaslu due to heavy snowfall. I have contacted Tamara in Nanga Parbat Base Camp.

Tamara, the bad weather has forced you to stay in Base Camp for days. How do you spend your time and keep yourself fit?

Date

6. February 2016 | 22:32

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Tomek’s comeback?

Tomek Mackiewicz

Tomek Mackiewicz

Will his “Never again Nanga Parbat” turn into a “Now more than ever”? The Pole Tomek Mackiewicz announced that he would return to the Base Camp on the Diamir side. After their summit attempt two weeks ago, that had failed at an altitude of about 7,300 m, Tomek and his French team partner Elisabeth Revol had departed. Mackiewicz had said in an interview that after his seventh faild attempt he would definitely not try again to climb the ninth highest mountain in the world for the first time in winter and that he would perhaps even say finally good-bye to the Himalayas and the Karakoram.

Date

4. February 2016 | 16:55

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Read: “Seven Steps from Snowdon to Everest”

Horrell-coverMaybe I like this book so much because there are many parallels between Mark Horrell’s and my own mountain “career”. We both started as hill walkers, anything but free from fear of great height. Like me, Mark visited Nepal for the first time in 2002 and was as fascinated, not to say infected, by the Himalayas and the people living there as I was then. We both worked up, getting more experienced, reaching higher altitudes, had to cope with setbacks until we finally fulfilled our dreams – both far away from being exceptional climbers. In 2014, I was among the first climbers on 7,129 m high Kokodak Dome in western China, I would never have thought possible twelve years before – just as little as Mark could not imagine in 2002 becoming an Everest summiter within ten years. But he really did it. Unlike me, he after a while completely changed his way of life, taking only temporary jobs to have the opportunity to live his new passion for going on expeditions.

Date

4. February 2016 | 9:26

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Trouble on Nanga Parbat

Nanga-txikon

Upwards with snowshoes

Harmony is different from what’s obviously going on in Diamir Base Camp on Nanga Parbat. “The collaboration between [the Spaniard] Alex Txikon and Italian Daniele Nardi has become impossible due to obvious and ongoing disagreements about how to proceed during the expedition”, it says on Txikon’s website. There were “different working patterns and priorities” as well as “conflicting interpretations of some events, and also differences regarding the behavior in Base Camp”. It remains to be seen whether the two wranglers are able to overcome their differences or it’s too late to mend their ties. It is striking in any case, that Nardi was absent from the latest trip of the team. On Monday, Txikon, Tamara Lunger, Simone Moro and Ali Sadpara had used a wind break to climb with snowshoes up to 5,100 meters.

Date

3. February 2016 | 16:36

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