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Really on top of Nanga Parbat?

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa on Nanga Parbat

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa is not sure. He can not say with 100 percent certainty that he and his team really reached the 8,125-meter-high summit of Nanga Parbat on 11 June, the 31-year-old Nepalese today writes on Facebook, thus qualifying previous reports on the first summit success of the summer season on the eight-thousanders in Pakistan. He had relied on the local knowledge of a Pakistani climber who had summited the ninth highest mountain on earth in 2005 and with whom he had been on Gasherbrum I and II in 2016, writes Mingma. But the Pakistani had first led the team into a different gully than originally planned. This made the ascent harder and longer, says the Sherpa. When they finally reached the top of a ridge, the Pakistani told them this was the summit. “But that place didn’t look like the summit which I had figured out to be snow and two snow bar(rier)s,“ Mingma writes.

Frostbite on his toe

Unbidden souvenir

That is why they climbed two more possible summit points, but these also did not convince him completely. A third place, which could be considered as the true summit, was out of reach because his clients’ bottled oxygen ran out. At this time, according to Mingma, the mountaineers had already been en route for 20 hours, and it was getting dark. They descended. 43 hours after their departure, they reached Camp 3 again. Mingma paid the long ascent and descent with frostbite on his toe. “It’s my gift from Nanga Parbat.”

In doubt another attempt

“I am still in a dilemma about our summit,” concedes the head of the expedition operator Dreamers Destination. He wants to climb the 14 eight-thousanders and present summit pictures, which undoubtedly confirm that he has been on top, says Mingma adding that he would rather go back to Nanga Parbat than being part of a controversy about his performance. This attitude honors Mingma – in times when other climbers declare fore-summits for true summits without flinching. Maybe in the end it turns out that the Sherpa really reached the highest point of Nanga Parbat along with his team and has thus climbed his eleventh eight-thousander. The “summit pictures” are now being examined.


18. June 2017 | 20:50