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with Stefan Nestler

Days of decision on Nanga Parbat

Tomek Mackiewicz on ascent

Tomek Mackiewicz on ascent

The first winter ascent of Nanga Parbat is in the air – say my gut instincts. Sunny days and clear nights are expected on the eighth highest mountain on earth until the weekend. The wind is to calm down, to a speed of just ten kilometers per hour on Friday. That sounds like ideal conditions for a summit attempt – if we can still speak of it in winter at all. After all, the temperature at the 8,125-meter-high summit is about minus 40 degrees Celsius. Maybe the reason for my optimistic gut feeling is simply that the teams on Nanga Parbat are currently rather stingy with information. Almost as if they are fully focused on climbing and don’t want to be distracted by „public relations“.

Short weather window

Elisabeth Revol in Camp 2

Elisabeth Revol in Camp 2

For days, we have not heard anything from the Italian duo Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger, who are ascending on the Messner route on the Diamir side of the mountain. The Pole Tomek Mackiewicz and the Frenchwoman Elisabeth Revol, climbing on the same route, are more communicative. From Camp 2 at 6,000 meters, Tomek today talked via satellite phone with the Polish Radio journalist Bartosz Styrna. Gusts of wind with a speed of up to 100 km/h had pulled at their tent, Mackiewicz said. They plan to climb further up tomorrow. “We have only a very short time frame of two to three days maximum”, said Tomek. “We have to fight. It will be an uphill struggle.”

Bielecki and Czech left

The Spaniard Alex Txikon, the Italian Daniele Nardi and the Pakistani Ali Sadpara are also expecting this hard fight on the Kinshofer route, the normal route. They have climbed up to an altitude of 6,500 meters and fixed the route where needed. Nardi got off lightly from a fall near Camp 2. The Polish climbers Adam Bielecki and Jacek Czech, who had actually announced to join their forces with the trio, have meanwhile abandoned their expedition and left the Base Camp. Bielecki believed that he had no more chance to reach the summit due to his hand injury after an 80-meter-fall some days ago.
On the Rupal side of Nanga Parbat, the “Nanga Dream” team is working their way up the Southsouthwest ridge. Even from these mountaineers, we hear next to nothing. I am standing firm on this: There is something in the air.

Update 21 January: Tomek and Elisabeth pitched their Camp 4 at 7,200 meters. If things work out, they could reach the summit on Friday or Saturday. The calm winter weather is to continue. So keep your fingers crossed! Meanwhile Simone and Tamara descended to Base Camp.


19. January 2016 | 19:45