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Winter expeditions: Waiting for end of snowfall

Igloos in K2 Base Camp

Bad weather forces the climbers of the winter expeditions on the eight-thousanders K2 and Nanga Parbat in Pakistan and on Manaslu in Nepal to inactivity. The team from Kazakhstan, Russia and Kyrgyzstan led by Vassiliy Pivtsov returned to K2 Base Camp yesterday after the seven climbers, according to their own words, had fixed ropes on the classical Abruzzi route up to an altitude of 6,300 meters. The Spaniard Alex Txikon’s team has not yet ascended, but built in the base camp three igloos, in which a total of ten to 14 people can sleep. Alex was thrilled after his first igloo night.

Date

22. January 2019 | 15:14

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Nanga Parbat: Nardi and Co. again in Camp 3

Daniele Nardi in Camp 3

While the winter expedition teams at the eight-thousanders K2 and Manaslu have only just moved into their base camps, the Italian Daniele Nardi and his three companions on Nanga Parbat are in a more advanced phase. Today Daniele, the Brit Tom Ballard and the two Pakistani mountaineers Rahmat Ullah Baig and Karim Hayat ascended again to Camp 3 at 5,700 meters, directly below the Mummery Rib. Five days ago, the four climbers had deposited a tent there and then returned to base camp.

Date

15. January 2019 | 21:03

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Winter expeditions are on

Alex Txikon (l.) and Simone Moro in Lhukla

Several winter expeditions in the Himalayas and Karakoram started in the first days of the year. Two of the three climbers who had succeeded the first winter ascent of Nanga Parbat in 2016 met in Lhukla in Nepal, however now with different goals: The Spaniard Alex Txikon wants to tackle K2 in Pakistan, the last remaining eight-thousander to be climbed for the first time in the cold season, the Italian Simone Moro is drawn to Manaslu again. The 51-year-old and the South Tyrolean Tamara Lunger had failed on the 8167-meter-high mountain in western Nepal in 2015 because of the enormous snow masses of that winter. This year, according to the Kathmandu-based newspaper “The Himalayan Times”, Moro plans to climb with the Nepalese Pemba Gyalje Sherpa on the normal route without bottled oxygen. In order to acclimatize, they wanted to climb the 6,476-meter-high Mera Peak in the Khumbu region.

Date

4. January 2019 | 14:06

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Their goal: Nanga Parbat in winter, on a new route

Daniele Nardi (l.) and Tom Ballard in Islamabad

Daniele Nardi can not keep his hands off Nanga Parbat yet. Already for the fifth time the 42-year-old climber from Italy tries his luck in winter on the 8125-meter-high mountain in Pakistan. Nardi and his 30-year-old British climbing partner Tom Ballard arrived in the capital Islamabad, from where they travel on to the north of the country. The team will also include Pakistani mountaineers Rahmat Ullah Baig and Kareem Hayat. Their goal: a new route to the eighth highest mountain on earth via the so-called “Mummery Rib”. In 1895, the British pioneer Albert Frederick Mummery had dared the first serious attempt on an eight-thousander via the rock spur in the Diamir Face. With the Gurkha Ragobir he had reached an altitude of 6,100 meters. Nardi tries this route for the second time: In winter 2013, he had climbed with the Frenchwoman Elisabeth Revol up to about 6,400 meters.

Date

21. December 2018 | 0:44

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Alex Txikon will also head for K2 in winter

Alex Txikon in Bilbao

After all. The Spaniard Alex Txikon will tackle K2 in the upcoming winter. The 35-year-old announced this at a press conference in Bilbao today. He will travel to Pakistan on 2 January with his compatriot Felix Criado, with the goal of scaling the second highest mountain on earth for the first time in the cold season. It had already become known that the Pakistani government had granted Txikon a climbing permit for K2. However, the Basque had left it open to this day whether he would actually use the permit.

Date

29. November 2018 | 23:20

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Hidden heroes of mountaineering in Pakistan

Three times K2 without breathing mask: Fazal Ali

Sorry, Fazal Ali – that your extraordinary performance on K2 just slipped past me last summer! I reported on the first ski descent from the second highest mountain in the world by the Pole Andrzej Bargiel. I also noticed that Muhammad Ali “Sadpara”, the Pakistani winter first ascender of Nanga Parbat, completed his collection of the five eight-thousanders of his home country on K2 – and that it was a record season on “Chogori”, as you locals call the mountain. But I missed the news that you, Fazal, were the first mountaineer in the world to reach the 8,611-meter-high summit of the “King of the Eight-thousanders” for the third time after 2014 and 2017 without bottled oxygen. All the deeper I now take my hat off!

Date

21. November 2018 | 15:54

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Thomas Huber: “Latok I North Face appears invincible”

On the six-thousander Panmah Kangri

“My tactic of arriving later in the season didn’t work this time,” Thomas Huber tells me after his return from the Karakoram, adding that it was a “fully mixed” expedition. “It started incredibly well, but unfortunately it didn’t end the same way.” As reported before – the 51-year-old, the older of the two Huber brothers, had left at the beginning of August with 33-year-old South Tyrolean Simon Gietl, 59-year-old German climber Rainer Treppte and French cameraman Yannick Boissenot towards Latok I in order to tackle the 7,145-meter-high mountain via the north side.

Date

28. September 2018 | 14:43

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Czechs on Nanga Parbat: “Like frozen fish fillets”

In the Rupal Face

“To paraphrase Shakespeare: living on without summit or voting for death.” This is how Marek Holecek described the decision that he and his team mate Tomas Petrecek had to make last Sunday at the exit of the mighty Rupal Face, 300 meters below the summit of Nanga Parbat. Gusts of wind of up to 100 kilometers per hour blew over the 8,125-meter-high mountain in Pakistan, the ninth highest in the world. After six days in the wall, the two Czech climbers decided to turn around.

Date

5. September 2018 | 12:26

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Latok I: How high did Gukov and Glazunov climb?

Climbing into the fog

No photo, no video, no GPS data. It’s not possible to prove clearly where exactly on the seven-thousander Latok I in the Karakoram the two Russian climbers Alexander Gukov and Sergey Glazunov finished their ascent on 23 July. The GPS tracker didn’t work properly. The mini-camera they had used to document the ascent was carried by Sergey when he fell to his death on 25 July. The body of the 26-year-old could not be recovered. Two days before, the two Russians had reached their highest point in the fog. “By 7 pm, Sergey climbed up a small col between a rock and a snowy serac. I was standing ten meters below him. The snow was almost vertical,” Alexander recalls on “mountain.ru”, where an English translation of his statements was published today.

Date

28. August 2018 | 15:47

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Thomas Huber before his expedition to 7000er Latok I: “Complex and difficult”

Thomas Huber, Rainer Treppte and Simon Gietl (from l. to r.)

Thomas Huber is sitting on packed expedition barrels. “I’m really looking forward to the expedition,” says the 51-year-old. The older of the two Huber brothers is leaving for Pakistan this Saturday. Thomas wants to tackle the northern side of the 7,145-meter-high Latok I – together with 33-year-old South Tyrolean Simon Gietl and climbing old hand Rainer Treppte, aged 59, who comes from Saxony and has been living in the Allgäu region for a long time. “I have already climbed with them,” says Huber about his two climbing partners. Last spring, the trio succeeded in repeating for the first time the difficult “La Strada” route on the Cima Grande in the Dolomites, which the Poles Piotr Edelman and Jan Fialkowski had mastered for the first time in 1988. “We harmonize very well as a team, and we have every chance to tackle such a goal as Latok I,” says Thomas Huber. I also talked to him about the drama on this seven-thousander in the Karakoram that had kept us in suspense for days.

Thomas, yesterday we got the relieving message that the Russian climber Alexander Gukov was rescued from the North Ridge of Latok I. How did you experience this dramatic story?

Date

1. August 2018 | 19:57

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Still no rescue of Gukov possible

The drama on Latok I continues. Another day has passed on which Alexander Gukov is trapped on the North Ridge of the seven-thousander in the Karakoram without any help. Like throughout the weekend, thick clouds today prevented rescue helicopters from approaching the site at around 6,200 meters, where the 42-year-old Russian climber has been staying since Wednesday last week – without food or equipment. The helicopters took off, but returned without getting close to Gukov. “There will be no further attempts today,” mountain.ru reported. “The weather is getting worse.” It’s like bewitched. “Imagine everything is clear, only the Latok is completely in clouds,” said Viktor Koval from the base camp. “The pilots hardly managed to fly away.”

Date

30. July 2018 | 15:20

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Drama on the 7000er Latok I in Pakistan

Gukov’s position on the North Ridge of Latok I (see arrow)

Fingers crossed for Alexander Gukov! According to Anna Piunova from the website mountain.ru, the 42-year-old Russian climber is trapped at 6,200 meters on the North Ridge of the 7145-meter-high Latok I in the Karakoram. Gukov made an emergency call on Wednesday:  “I need help. I need to be evacuated. I’m hanging in the wall without equipment.” His 26-year-old climbing partner Sergey Glazunov fell to his death while abseiling, said Alexander.

Date

26. July 2018 | 21:49

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Hansjörg Auer after his solo success in Pakistan: “The devil never sleeps”

Hansjörg Auer in the West Face of Lupghar Sar West

“It was very, very cool and intense,” Hansjörg Auer tells me. After his successful solo project in the Hunza region in northern Pakistan, the Austrian top climber is back in his native Ötztal. As reported before, the 34-year-old had first climbed the approximately 1,000-meter-high West Face of the rarely attempted 7157-meter-high Lupghar Sar West – solo. First Hansjörg climbed from the base camp to a bivouac site at the foot of the wall at about 6,200 meters. From there he left on 7 July at 5 am and climbed up to the summit in six and a half hours. At 8 pm, Auer was back at the base camp.

Hansjörg, you said in advance that you wanted to know what it’s like to be alone in the wall of a very high mountain. How did you experience it?

Date

25. July 2018 | 13:42

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Summit success reported from Nanga Parbat

Kim Mi-gon

This summer’s first summit success on an eight-thousander in Pakistan has been reported. The Pakistani expedition operator “Summit Karakoram” informed that South Korean Kim Mi-gon, Taiwanese Lu Chung-han and Sanu Sherpa from Nepal had reached the 8125-meter-high summit of Nanga Parbat on Monday. The 45-year-old Kim thus completed his collection of the 14 eight-thousanders, it said.

Date

10. July 2018 | 22:50

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Climber dies in avalanche in Pakistan

Rescue on 7000er

An Austrian climber was killed in an avalanche accident on the 7,338-meter-high Ultar Sar in the Karakoram. Christian Huber died on Friday when the snow masses hit the tent he and his team-mates Bruce Normand and Timothy Miller had pitched on a ridge at an altitude of 5,800 meters. The two uninjured British and the body of Huber were taken from the mountain this Sunday by a rescue helicopter of the Pakistani army. An army spokesman said it was a “daring mission”. The first emergency call had been received on Saturday morning. Bad weather had prevented the helicopter from taking off earlier.

Date

1. July 2018 | 20:38

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