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Felix Berg: “Extremely spontaneous expedition”

Summit of Annapurna I

Unpredictability is an essential part of adventure. And the more ambitious a mountain project, the greater is the uncertainty as to whether it really ends with a success. Thus the Italians Tamara Lunger and Simone Moro, who had planned to traverse the four summits of the Kangchenjunga massif without bottled oxygen, had to turn back without having reached a single summit. Two attempts ended at 7,200 meters, because Simone suffered from stomach ache. The German Thomas Laemmle returned empty-handed from Makalu, after four (!) failed summit attempts without supplemental oxygen and Sherpa support, always forced back by bad weather. And on the Northwest Face of Annapurna, the 33-year-old Pole Adam Bielecki, the 63-year-old Briton Rick Allen and the 36-year-old German Felix Berg had to capitulate halfway. “It was completely the right decision to turn around,” Felix tells me. “On the day of our descent, there was heavy snowfall. It would not have been possible with the weather.”

Date

2. June 2017 | 7:56

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Moro and Lunger plan Kangchenjunga traverse

Tamara Lunger (l.) and Simone Moro

“It’s a wonderful project,” says Simone Moro. “It’s the highest traverse possible on the planet.” Via Facebook live from Kathmandu, the 49-year-old Italian and his 30-year-old South Tyrolean climbing partner Tamara Lunger yesterday revealed the secret of their new project. And that’s really a tough job. This spring, Simone and Tamara want to traverse the four summits of the Kangchenjunga massif which are higher than 8,000 meters: from the West Summit (8,505 meters) to the Main Summit (8,586 meters), then across the Central Summit  (8,473 meters) to the South Summit (8,476 meters). The whole thing in Alpine style, means without high camps, without Sherpa support and without bottled oxygen. In 1989 a Russian expedition had succeeded the traverse for the first time, however, using breathing masks.

Date

7. April 2017 | 13:04

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Tamara Lunger: “It was a dream”

Tamara Lunger

Tamara Lunger

It was close in two respects. Tamara Lunger only narrowly missed the first winter ascent of Nanga Parbat, then the 29-year-old South Tyrolean just escaped with her life. Just below the 8,125-meter-high summit, Tamara exhaustedly informed her Italian teammate Simone Moro that she would be able to climb up to the highest point but would not come down without help. Shortly afterwards, she turned around. Simone, the Spaniard Alex Txikon and the Pakistani Muhammad Ali (also known as “Ali Sadpara” – called after his home village) reached the summit without her. On the descent, Lunger lost her balance after jumping across a crevasse near the highest camp. She slid around 200 meters towards the abyss until she came to hold in loose snow with good luck. Meanwhile, the climber is back home in South Tyrol.

Tamara, first of all congratulations on your performance! Have you meanwhile recovered from the strains?

Thanks, Stefan. I must say that I have overcome the strains of the “near-summit” but not yet the consequences of my fall. My ankle is still swollen. I will get it checked up on Monday, but there is certainly something torn. 🙁

Date

7. March 2016 | 14:34

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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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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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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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Speculation on Nanga Parbat

Elisabeth Revol and Tomek Mackiewicz

Elisabeth Revol and Tomek Mackiewicz

Reporting about what happened today on Nanga Parbat was a bitl like fishing in murky waters. I tried to make out from the wildly swirling information on the Internet where the climbers on the mountain currently were. The sun has long since set in Pakistan, so I’m assuming that the mountaineers have sought protection in their tents. It is still unclear how far the Pole Tomek Mackiewicz and the Frenchwoman Elisabeth Revol have climbed up during their first summit attempt. The Pakistani Arslan Ahmed, who had joined the team but had to leave because of health problems, had contact with Tomek for the last time at 10.30 local time.

Date

22. January 2016 | 16:36

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Shock freezing on Nanga Parbat

Jacek Czech climbing on an icy slope

Jacek Czech climbing on an icy slope

There will hardly be record temperatures on Nanga Parbat this winter, and if, then only low ones. “Unfortunately January weather on Nanga is extremely bad in comparison to the previous two years”, writes the Polish climber Adam Bielecki, who, along with his compatriot Jacek Czech, wants to climb on the Diamir side of the mountain via the Kinshofer route to the 8,125-meter-high summit, doing it in Alpine style: without bottled oxygen and without fixed high camps. “So far there wasn’t a single day with weather good enough to attempt a summit attack.” In the last few days, the thermometer dropped below minus 40 degrees Celsius. In addition, strong winds blew and it was snowing. These days, Bielecki and Czech want to climb up to a minimum altitude of 7,000 meters, “in order to regain acclimatization which would allow us to wait for better weather”. That sounds as if the two Poles can imagine not descending to Base Camp once more before their first summit attempt. Before traveling to Pakistan, Adam and Jacek had already acclimatized at the 6,893-meter-high volcano Ojos del Salado in Chile.

Date

7. January 2016 | 17:43

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Climber’s Groundhog Day on Nanga Parbat

Andie MacDowell with a real groundhog

Andie MacDowell with a real groundhog

What are Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell actually doing this winter? Perhaps the two Hollywood stars are traveling to Pakistan to shoot a remake of their blockbuster “Groundhog Day” that is set in the world of high altitude climbers. After all, the same match on Nanga Parbat is repeated year after year: Several expeditions arrive at the different base camps to climb the “Naked Mountain” for the first time in winter. And again and again they return home exhausted and empty-handed two months later. 27 expeditions ended this way. This winter, another five teams will tackle the 8,125-meter-high mountain, which is – apart from K 2 – the only eight-thousander which has never been climbed in the cold season. Two of the current climbing teams have the Murray/MacDowell pattern – even if the name of one of these expeditions sounds more like a Disney movie.

Date

5. December 2015 | 14:00

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Lunger and Moro: Goodbye Manaslu!

Letzter Aufstieg nach Lager 1

Last ascent to Camp 1

South Tyrolean climber Tamara Lunger and her Italian team partner Simone Moro have finished their expedition to the eight highest mountain on earth. They had planned to climb not only the 8167-meter high main summit of Manaslu but also in one push the 7992-meter-high Pinnacle East. “It started off as a winter expedition and is ending as a spring one only by the calendar and not because of the weather conditions. I wrote ‘ending’ because this is the final decision taken by Tamara and myself over the past few hours”, Simone wrote from base camp at 4800 meters. “We have used up all our patience, optimism,  experience and shrewdness, but for this year Manaslu remains for both of us a dream we have decided to postpone.”

Date

8. April 2015 | 16:46

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Return to Manaslu

Tamara (l.) and Simone on Island Peak

Tamara (l.) and Simone on Island Peak

Manaslu, next attempt! The South Tyrolean Tamara Lunger and the Italian Simone Mono flew back by helicopter to the base camp at the foot of the eight highest mountain in the world. In early March, the two climbers had fled Manaslu due to heavy snowfalls and extremely high avalanche danger. It looks as if our camp was quite destroyed”, Tamara wrote in her blog.

Date

4. April 2015 | 12:57

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