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Adventure Sports

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.

Also the descend a feat of strength

Ali (l.) and Alex (r.) on the summit

Ali (l.) and Alex (r.) on the summit

The way from Camp 4 at about 7,100 meters to the summit was “very hard and long”, Alex Txikon said, adding that the summit trapeze was “steeper than expected” and the last couloir “really icy”. After another night in the last high camp, the four climbers descended to Base Camp at 4,300 meters in one go – another show of strength.
The team of four, which had been formed only late in season, wrote high mountaineering history. In the past decades, more than 30 expeditions had failed in winter on Nanga Parbat. 13 of the 14 eight-thousanders have now been scaled during the cold season. Only K 2, with 8,611 meters the second highest mountain on earth, remains unclimbed in winter.

First great winter success for Ali and Txikon

The different ascent routes

The different ascent routes

The 40-year-old Muhammad Ali, also known as Ali “Sadpara” (named after his home village), is the first Pakistani who succeeded in climbing an eight-thousander in winter. For the 34-year-old Alex Txikon Nanga Parbat was number eleven in his collection of eight-thousanders and his first great success in winter. In 2011 and 2012, Alex had tried in vain to climb Gasherbrum I in winter. On the second attempt, his team comrades, the Austrian Gerfried Göschl, the Swiss Cedric Hählen and the Pakistani Nisar Hussain had disappeared during a summit attempt. In winter 2015, Txikon had reached an altitude of 7,850 meters on Nanga Parbat, along with Muhammad Ali and the Italian Daniele Nardi. This winter, Nardi had also joined the team, but – as reported – had left in dispute later.

“King of winter climbing”

Ali (l.) and Simone (r.) on top of Nanga Parbat

Ali (l.) and Simone (r.) on top of Nanga Parbat

Simone Moro is the “king of winter climbing” in high altitude. He has now scaled four eight-thousanders for the first time in winter. Before his coup on Nanga Parbat the Italian had managed this feat on Shishapangma (in 2005), Makalu (in 2009) and Gasherbrum II (in 2011). “When you are attempting any Himalayan mountain in winter, you feel not simply like a mountaineer but like an explorer”, Simone told me in an interview more than a year ago. “You are not performing a climb, you enter the unknown. It’s pure ancient alpinism.”

Date

28. February 2016 | 22:14

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