Time consuming and scary
Trail-breaking for nothing. “It has been snowing all day”, says Ralf Dujmovits in the basecamp on the Diamir side of Nanga Parbat. “We certainly have between 35 and 40 centimeter of fresh snow.” On his way to the toilet tent he slipped into a snowdrift and had trouble to get out of it. Ralf and his Polish companion Darek Zaluski know that they will have to break trail again when they climb up to the depot at 5500 meters which they had made yesterday. The fresh snow is also increasing the risk of avalanches. “If the wind doesn’t blow the snow out of the slopes, it will be impossible.”
More complicated than expected
“I ‘m still reasonably confident,” says Ralf. “Darek not quite like that.” A large ice avalanche which had gone down during their night in the tent at 4900 meters had shown them drastically the continuing danger. “It made us understand that even in winter with steady temperatures of below minus 20 degrees Celsius we are not sure of ice avalanches – which gives us a lot of thinking.” After all, there is no way of avoiding the icefall with a huge ice barrier hanging about it. “I was hoping to be able to climb this 1000-meter-high section in only one push. But it became so complicated that finding the way through the crevasses and seracs really became a time consuming and scary task.”
Maybe Ralf has to change his originally planned tactics: to climb up solo and extremely fast above 5000 meters. “ I’m losing my acclimatization. Maybe I have to work my way up camp by camp”, says the 52-year-old thoughtfully. “That was not really my plan.” Ralf, Darek, cook Essan, kitchen helper Karim and the three policemen at basecamp finish the year 2013 with a good dinner. “More than a New Year’s Eve menu is not possible in the cold we have here.” Should the snowfall – as predicted – stop on New Year’s day, Ralf and Darek can possibly break up again on Thursday.
Date31. December 2013 | 17:56