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with Stefan Nestler

Chance of success on Nanga Parbat “15 to 20 percent”

David Goettler

David Goettler

“For me, this is completely new ground.” David Goettler is looking forward to his upcoming winter expedition that, after Christmas, will take him and the Italian climbers Simone Moro and Emilio Previtali to the 8000er Nanga Parbat in Pakistan. “Until now I have gained experience in winter climbing only in the Alps, never in the Himalayas or in Karakoram”, says the 35-year-old climber from Munich when I meet him in my hometown Cologne this week. David has intensified the endurance training since Simone’s invitation at the end of September to accompany him to Nanga Parbat. You cannot train coldness, says David. “It makes no sense sitting in the refrigerator for three days.”

Urubko not willing to go to Pakistan

Moro (r.) and Urubko on Nanga Parbat in 2012

Moro (r.) and Urubko on Nanga Parbat in 2012

Unlike Goettler Simone Moro is an old stager in winter expeditions to 8000ers. The 46-year-old Italian (like the Polish climbers Jerzy Kukuczka, Krzysztof Wielicki and Maciej Berbeka) is holding the record of three first ascents in winter: In 2005 he climbed Shishapangma in Tibet with Piotr Morawski from Poland, in 2009 Makalu in Nepal with Kazakh climber Denis Urubko and in 2011 Gasherbrum II in Pakistan, with Denis again and the Canadian Cory Richards. Moro has already tried to climb Nanga Parbat in winter, but failed in 2012. As he did then he once again wanted to climb with his friend Urubko now. But Denis was not willing to go to Pakistan because he was concerned for his safety after last summer’s killing of eleven climbers in Nanga Parbat basecamp.

You need a bit of luck

“I would lie if I said that this issue doesn’t find its way into my feelings and thoughts”, admits David Goettler. But right now he has a good feeling. “I have always experienced Pakistan as a friendly, open and incredibly beautiful country,” says David . “I’m sure that local people haven’t changed. Maybe they are even much more alert to suspected people. But of course, at the end you need a bit of luck to be not in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

No trench warfare

The three climbers will take the so called “Schell route” on the Rupal side of the mountain – the same option a Polish expedition has chosen: Marek Klonowski and Tomek Mackiewicz try to climb Nanga Parbat for the fourth winter in a row. Last winter Marek reached a height of 7400 meters on the Schell route. The Poles will arrive at the mountain earlier than the Italian-German team. David does not believe that the two teams will tread on each other’s toes: “It would be stupid if we worked against each other. We are in contact. We will support each other and certainly not start trench warfare.”

Satisfied with the second row

Nanga Parbat

Nanga Parbat

There have already been 17 attempts to scale Nanga Parbat in winter, but all failed. The 8125-meter-high mountain and K 2 are the only two of the fourteen 8000ers which have not yet been climbed in winter. “The chance of success is very low”, guesses Goettler. “We are talking about 15 to 20 percent. This is very little but still worth a try.” David has already climbed five 8000ers, last May he summited Makalu. In the past he was frequently travelling with Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner and Ralf Dujmovits. Now he will climb with Simone Moro, another star in high altitude mountaineering. “I find it quite pleasant to be in the second row”, says Goettler. “In our team we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s important that it matches internally. I have no problem with the fact that I don’t have such as big stage as Simone Moro.” But to demonstrate team spirit does not mean to conceal his opinion, finds David: “I’m not going to say yes to every decision.”


7. December 2013 | 22:12