Memory of assassination always present
Should there still be any trace of the assassination, you can not see them. There are no more old tents in the basecamp on the Diamir side of Nanga Parbat, where terrorists had killed eleven climbers last summer. And the site is covered by snow. “Today we had to fight our way through half a meter of fresh snow”, says Ralf Dujmovits via satellite telephone, an hour after he has arrived in the basecamp, together with his companion Darek Zaluski from Poland, their cook Essan, kitchen helper Karim and the first of 30 porters. “Because of the freezing cold the porters only want to take their tip and return as quickly as possible.” A little ceremony for the victims of the murder attack that was originally planned directly after the arrival had to be postponed due to the adverse weather conditions.
During the two-and-a-half-day trek to basecamp the memory of the assassination had been a constant companion. All the time the locals talked to Ralf about it. His winter expedition is the first after the terrible murder attack: “They were simply happy that we are here and showed the greatest respect for us. The people in Diamir valley welcomed us in a very nice way.” After the assassination no more trekking or expedition groups had come to the valley. “The residents have lost very much. They are still shocked.” Three policemen armed with Kalashnikovs are detailed to protect the expedition. They shall remain at the basecamp. “They are very alert”, says Ralf. “Even when I went to toilet during the trekking, one of them stayed outside to keep watch.”
Wedding party and first aid
After the briefing with Pakistani government officials Dujmovits and Zaluski had left Chilas early on Sunday with jeeps. In the village of Diamarai Dujmovits met a kitchen helper of his Nanga Parbat expedition 2001 and was invited on the spot to the wedding of his son. Four and a half hours of trekking followed, through a narrow, exposed gorge up to the 2700-meter-high village of Ser. There Ralf had to give first aid to a six-year-old boy who had suffered minor injuries by a fall into a creek bed.
Long wind vane from the summit
The next day the expedition members went to the summer alp of Curtgali, a collection of simple huts for shepherds on 4000 meters. “Above 3200 meters we had a closed snow cover”, says Ralf. “The weather was very nice, but with minus 15 degrees Celsius quite cold. A wind vane of about a kilometer was blowing from the summit of Nanga Parbat. I guess the wind speed was from 120 to 150 kilometers per hour.” The next few days Ralf and Darek want to install their basecamp and explore the lower, flatter glacier sections up to 5000 meters.
Date24. December 2013 | 11:46